Activity Monitor by SoftActivity offers the core employee monitoring features we looked for in our review, but it excels on the internet management side of the equation. Its internet management tools include website access control and monitoring, real-time alerts, and behavioral rules to prevent prohibited activity before it occurs. While Activity Monitor lacks some of the bells and whistles of other leading employee monitoring software in our review, it does a great job of ensuring your internet management needs are met, earning it our best pick in employee monitoring software for internet management.
See all our reviews and recommendations for employee monitoring software on our best picks page.
SoftActivity charges a one-time licensing fee for a perpetual license that never expires. This is different from its leading competitors' annual or monthly subscription rates. Activity Monitor requires a minimum of three computers (one admin and two employees) and starts at $189.99. You can add another license for $70 each or bundle them to receive a small discount ($300 for five additional licenses or $500 for 10). To find out exactly what your licensure cost would be, use the pricing tool on SoftActivity's website.
When you purchase a license for Activity Monitor, you receive one year of free software updates. After that, you must either subscribe to the Updates and Support plan or use older versions of the software. The Updates and Support plan generally costs 33 percent of your initial licensure cost. SoftActivity offers a seven-day free trial so you can test the software out, but you will need to install an Activity Monitor agent on a device to experience the program's full capabilities.
As the name suggests, activity monitoring is a mainstay of Activity Monitor. Any user devices with Activity Monitor agents installed appear in a sidebar on the left side of the admin dashboard. Screenshot images of their screens as they see them are displayed prominently in the middle. If you'd like to more closely monitor a specific user, you can click on the image to begin real-time monitoring. Once you've selected a specific user, the bottom of the screen will display numerous tabs, which represent the activity monitoring tools at your disposal:
- Screen: Admins can use the screen tool to view each monitored device's display in real time, granting them insight into what a user is up to at that very moment. This tool offers a live look into user activity rather than just screenshots. This isn't a unique feature to Activity Monitor, but it's a useful tool that not all employee monitoring software offers.
- Keystrokes: This tool displays a timestamped copy of a user's keystrokes, as well as the application in which they occurred. For example, if a user is working on their novel in Microsoft Word while they are supposed to be entering data in an Excel spreadsheet – or even if they're doing both simultaneously – every keystroke will be logged and clearly marked with the application where the writing occurred.
- Applications: Admins can use the application tool to keep track of which software a user is running, how long they've run it for, when they close it and how long they were actively engaged with it. You can also remotely terminate a user's session if their use of a program is in violation of company policy or not work-related.
- Internet: The internet tab shows you the user's search history with a hyperlinked URL. New searches and webpages appear in real time.
- Email: Activity Monitor's email tool captures any user conversations that occur in Microsoft Outlook, but not in webmail clients like Gmail. It tracks the content of Outlook conversations along with the participants involved.
- Chat: In the same way Activity Monitor provides a window into a user's email conversations, it displays their chats from various platforms, including social media and instant messengers.
Activity Monitor records video of user activity in addition to the live feeds your admins can view on the dashboard. By signing in to the web console, an admin can view the top websites and applications users have accessed, as well as the total activity time of monitored users. Admins can drill down into specific applications used and view screenshots from those specific uses, so if there is one behavior that requires investigation, you can zero in on that activity and examine user behavior in detail. Essentially, the web console provides a complete record of all the data captured by the activity monitoring tools.
You can expect a decent level of support from SoftActivity when you sign up for Activity Monitor. Customers primarily interact with the support team through a ticket system, email or live chat. For significant technical issues, the support team can remotely access your system to solve your problem. SoftActivity requires an Updates and Support plan to continue accessing tech support after the first year.
Activity Monitor's user interface is somewhat outdated and not as intuitive as some other leading employee monitoring software. The learning curve is still relatively minor; ease of use just isn't one of Activity Monitor's most prominent benefits.
Activity Monitor requires an Updates and Support subscription, which is included free for one year with your initial subscription but must be renewed each subsequent year. The cost of the ongoing Updates and Support plan is typically 33 percent of your initial licensure costs. If you choose not to renew your Updates and Support subscription, you can continue using Activity Monitor under your licenses, but it will no longer be updated and you will not have access to the tech support team should an issue arise.