There are many different reasons why a company would want to start using monitoring software to track their employees’ habits and activities. Perhaps you want to improve productivity by limiting distractions, maybe you want to beef up security, or you just want to see where your company’s time and resources are going.
Regardless of your reasons, there are a few things you need to know before you start monitoring your employees in order to make sure you implement it right and get the most out of it.
One of the biggest benefits of employee monitoring is the capability of increasing worker productivity by limiting potential distractions. By using monitoring software, it’s possible to detect when employees are wasting time on activities that aren’t related to work and see how long they spend on these distractions. From there, you can either block access to these distractions or otherwise guide your employees to not partake in these interruptions in their work. It might be surprising to find out just how often employees use their work time to do things like watch funny cat videos or access their personal email.
Since employee monitoring software allows you to keep track of how long employees spend on certain tasks, it’s possible to figure out what they’re having the most issues with and then provide them with some guidance in these areas. Perhaps they need some help figuring out a problem, or maybe they’re just better suited for a different task completely. Employee monitoring helps you find these problem areas and diagnose them in order to help your employees be more productive.
By keeping track of where time and resources are being spent through monitoring software, it’s possible to figure out where resources could be better allocated and what tasks could be lowered in priority. For example, you might find out that your employees have been spending all their efforts on an assignment that isn’t as important as a different task that they could be working on instead.
One of the shining advantages of employee monitoring software is in the realm of cybersecurity. By monitoring user behavior, it’s possible to tell when a user’s account has been compromised by an outside attacker. For example, an employee may start accessing sensitive information from their account in the dead of night when they’d normally be at home sleeping. This might be a sign that their account has been compromised and is worth investigating.
By using monitoring software to track user input on their work devices, it’s also possible to tell if their device has been infected with a Remote Access Trojan (RAT) and is being used remotely by a hacker as you will detect user input even when no one is present at the device.
Another way that employee monitoring can help tighten up security is by keeping an eye on who accesses what. Whether it’s done maliciously or by accident, employee monitoring software is able to help alert you when a user accesses data that they’re not supposed to, so you can investigate it and find out if it was done with malicious intent or not. Through this, you can help safeguard your sensitive data against insider threats such as an employee who has gone rogue.
A really important thing to know before implementing employee monitoring is to explain it to your employees beforehand. Many employees are generally wary of monitoring software and so explaining to them the benefits and what goals you hope to achieve with it will make the process significantly smoother.
If an employee has a better idea of how things like monitoring software can help benefit both themselves and the company as a whole, then they are more likely to warm up to the idea of being monitored while they work.
Obviously, when implementing employee monitoring, it’s important to make sure you don’t break any laws while doing it. Although laws differ depending on country and state, the general rule of thumb is that you should never monitor employees’ personal devices unless they have given you permission in writing. Likewise, it’s often against the law to monitor employees outside of working hours.
While you should always look up the laws in your local jurisdiction, if you want to play it safe then you should not only inform your employees that you will be monitoring them, but you should also get written consent from them to do so. This will generally give you the legal right to monitor them in most cases. But, again, there will be different laws regarding this depending on your locality, so you should always look into these laws before implementing any form of employee monitoring.
Yuri Martsinovsky has been working in the security software industry at SoftActivity – computer and employee monitoring software development company - for over 15 years. He covers insider threats, computer monitoring, and other enterprise security topics. To read more posts by Yuri, follow Monitoring and Security Software Blog or company Twitter @SoftActivity.
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