Everything seems to be online these days. This fact can make running a company a little bit smoother - communication is faster, there are remote work possibilities, file sharing and collaboration are much easier… We could keep on listing good things but we’re not here to rave about the almighty internet, that’s yesterday’s news.
In this article, we’re going to recognize the fact that the internet has also created a couple of problems for companies. Namely, security threats and time-wasters.
In order to combat these two issues you need a way to see what your employees are doing online. Enter: computer monitoring software. It’s a lightweight system that lets you see what your employees are doing on their computers and how much time they spent doing it. But it can also act as a net monitor for employees, which is what we’re going to focus on now.
Why You Should Track Employees’ Online Behavior
We’ve already hinted at the reasons why online employee monitoring might be necessary - security threats and distractions - so let’s discuss those in a bit more detail.
Because communication and sharing of large files are much faster and easier with greater internet speed, the insider threats have never been taken more seriously. Even accidental leaks and breaches are a potential problem due to malware. This is probably the most important reason why employee browser monitoring is a good idea, it lets you discover potential threats early and deal with them on time.
Another problem for employers is the fact that all the distractions you can possibly imagine are online - social media, news websites, videos, games, shopping, and pretty much almost everything else. This is wasting a lot of office time if not properly controlled, and if you monitor employee web browsing, you’ve already made the first step towards curbing the issue because now you know which websites are most problematic and which employees are most prone to using them.
Monitoring internet usage properly can give you one more advantage. Being able to detect the patterns of which online professional platforms your employees are using and which ones they don’t need can make you more informed about your company’s needs and you can cut subscription costs significantly.
Employee Internet Usage Expectations
Before you start with the monitoring, it’s really important to have a clear outline of what exactly you’re going to expect from your employees concerning their online behavior. That’s why it’s always advisable to have a clear internet usage policy when implementing computer monitoring software.
This policy should contain some guidelines on how to use the internet, which activities aren’t allowed, how to treat corporate files and information, as well as how corporate web monitoring software relates to all this and how it’ll be used. A very useful thing about this software is that it lets you categorize every new detected website as ‘productive’ or ‘unproductive’ for each employee, which will make the overview of all internet activities that much easier. That is, of course, if you know how to approach the categorization process with the right mindset.
We’ll say this, though - you should tolerate some degree of personal internet usage. After all, employees should be entitled to breaks and occasional respite from work. As long as it’s not harmful to the company.
Having said that, there are some websites and platforms you should probably forbid altogether or even block. For instance, any websites that could lead to illegal activities, like downloading pirated copies of media or software, will get your business in trouble.
Finally, be extra careful when defining the policy for downloading or uploading data. You don’t want your company’s files ending up on some third-party sharing platform. And site monitoring software can help you detect this suspicious activity and prevent possible damage.
Boundaries in Computer Monitoring
If you decide to use an internet activity tracker, you should be aware of some limitations as to what you should do. The most important of which is not to use browser monitoring software to spy on employees’ private profiles and activities.
Of course, you can (and should) use it to see which websites your employees visit and how much time they spend on them, but closely tracking what exactly they’re doing, who they’re talking to, what they’re buying and so on is usually considered a violation of their privacy.
Now, your web monitoring software might have a screenshot feature which you have to be careful when using. You should use it when employees are on their private Facebook profile or checking their bank account or buying shoes online or even logging into their YouTube account. Same goes for email monitoring software when they’re logged into their private account.
So before you implement this useful solution for protection and performance optimization, you should learn how to monitor employee internet usage without harming their privacy.
Employee internet monitoring software is a great solution to the modern problems of cyber security and online distractions. When you learn how to use it in a fair way, you’ll see that this additional layer of protection and performance analysis will make your business more efficient and safer.