The best small business employee monitoring software helps you manage and enforce your acceptable use policy without requiring a lot of your time to install and maintain it. You need a solution that alerts you when employees attempt to leak vital business information, access inappropriate content, or simply waste time goofing off while on the clock.
Here are the main aspects to pay attention to in your search.
Monitoring and Blocking Features
Always consider the different types of monitoring features an application offers. For example, how much do you want to control your employees' internet time? Will you allow them to surf the internet during breaks and lunches, or not at all? Are there websites your employees need to access to do their jobs?
With some software applications, you can select times when the internet or sites are blocked and times they're not blocked. Most applications also allow you to create user groups, each with their own rules and permissions. Blocking disruptive sites and creating customized permissions for specific groups is one way that business internet software can help increase employee efficiency and productivity.
Also consider the specific areas of computer activity you want to track. The most comprehensive programs keep detailed logs of the websites your employees visit and the applications they use, along with emails, online chats, keystrokes, created and downloaded files, print jobs, inserted devices, and even their physical locations when they're on company devices. Consider, too, choosing internet filter software that will record your employees' online searches and take screenshots of their monitors. These can come in handy if you ever find yourself in litigation with a disgruntled employee and need to back up your claims.
You may not want to keep such detailed tabs on your employees, but make sure the software covers everything you need to monitor. If you opt for software with a full suite of features, they are usually customizable, so you can choose what to record (and in how much detail) as well as when exceptions are in order.
Reports and Notifications
Pay attention to how the software's reports and notifications work. It should provide regular reports (at the intervals you choose) with easy-to-read statistics and visual breakdowns of employee habits. For more detailed information, though, you'll need extensive notification options, and the best software has both real-time monitoring and real-time alerts. For instance, you may choose to be alerted if an employee downloads a document online or tries to access a forbidden website. Since notifications alert you to specific occurrences and reports give you a staffwide overview, you'll get the most out of your software when you use both options together.
Make sure your office web monitoring software includes automatic archiving. You never know when you may need to review an employee's internet history.
In addition to dashboards you can access from any browser, the best employee monitoring software often includes mobile apps that managers can use when they're away from the office. Although some have both Android and iPhone apps, some are platform-specific, so if this is a feature that's important to you, verify that the app is compatible with the phone or tablet of your choice.
Ease of Use and Support
Good internet filter software should be intuitive to use with visually appealing interfaces that clearly display all your options without feeling cluttered or overwhelming. Administrative users should feel confident using the software; one should have a good grasp of the application's monitoring options after just a few minutes of clicking around.
If you run into issues, though, you want to go with a company that is easy to reach. It's ideal to be able to reach tech support via phone, email, live chat or online ticketing, though even some of the best companies only offer one or two of these support avenues. Live chat is typically the fastest way to connect with a representative. Most companies also have extensive self-help resources on their websites that you can always refer to such as how-to guides, video tutorials and FAQs pages.
Some companies charge extra for ongoing upgrades and support after the first year. You can forgo this option, but you run the risk of operating outdated and possibly insecure software without help from the manufacturer.