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SoftActivity Review

By
Adam C. Uzialko
,
business.com writer
| Updated
Jun 24, 2019
Home
> Technology
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SoftActivity Monitor offers a suite of internet management tools that includes website access control and monitoring, real-time alerts when company rules or policies are violated, and behavioral rules to prevent prohibited activity before it occurs. As more and more employees rely on internet access to perform their duties, a strong internet management tool like SoftActivity Monitor ensures they don't get sidetracked on unproductive web surfing. In addition to its internet management tools, SoftActivity Monitor offers most of the features we looked for in an employee monitoring software. It lacks some of the more advanced or unique tools available with the most comprehensive software, but it has the core components like screen viewing, application monitoring and chat monitoring.  

SoftActivity

SoftActivity

The Best Employee Monitoring Software for 2019

The Verdict

SoftActivity Monitor is our best pick for employee monitoring software for internet management because of its effective features for tracking and restricting the websites your employees visit, as well as the content they download or upload.

See all of our reviews and recommendations for employee monitoring software on our best picks page.

Pricing

A SoftActivity Monitor license never expires. The one-time perpetual licensure model is less common in the employee monitoring software industry, where the standard model is an annual or monthly per-user rate. SoftActivity Monitor requires a minimum of three computers (an admin plus two employee devices) and starts at $189.99. Additional licenses can be added for roughly $70 each, and bundled licenses do receive a small discount. To find out what your one-time licensure fee would be based on the number of computers you need to monitor, use the pricing tool on SoftActivity's website.

SoftActivity Monitor comes with one year of free software updates and technical support. After the first year, regular updates and tech support are part of an annual subscription to the Updates and Support plan. The plan generally costs 33% of your initial licensure costs. However, you can forego the Updates and Support plan and instead opt to use your non-updated version of the software in perpetuity. 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.

Features

Activity Monitoring

As the name suggests, activity monitoring is a mainstay of SoftActivity Monitor. Any devices with SoftActivity Monitor agents installed appear in a sidebar on the left side of the admin dashboard. Screenshot images of users’ 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 isn’t a unique feature to Activity Monitor, but it’s a useful tool that not every piece of 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 on an Excel spreadsheet – or even if they’re doing both simultaneously – every keystroke will be logged and the application clearly marked.
  • Applications: Admins can use the application tool to keep track of the 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. Admins can also remotely terminate a user’s session if their use of a program is in violation of company policy or is not work-related.
  • Internet: The internet tab shows you the user's search history with hyperlinked URLs. New searches and webpages appear in real time.
  • Email: SoftActivity Monitor’s email tool captures any user conversations that occur in Microsoft Outlook, but not webmail clients like Gmail. The content of Outlook conversations is tracked, along with the participants involved.
  • Chat: In the same way SoftActivity Monitor provides a window into a user's email conversations, it displays their chats from various platforms, including social media and instant messengers.

Video Archives

SoftActivity 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 and view screenshots from those specific sessions, so if something specific 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.

Ease of Use

The user interface appears slightly dated; however, it is a relatively intuitive program that can be learned in the space of a few hours. Before you can begin monitoring your employees, you have to download a SoftActivity agent onto each computer you'd like to monitor. Once that is completed, admins will have a full window into any activity that occurs on those devices.

On the admin's central dashboard, a grid of employees’ screens appear in real time. This at-a-glance function is useful for spotting unproductive or prohibited behavior quickly. Admins can click on a single device to begin monitoring that employee alone. By navigating a series of tabs on the bottom, admins can view employee keystrokes in real time, applications that were accessed recently, internet activity, emails, and chats. Admins can also take remote control of an employee's computer in this way.

The dashboard remains in a tab above each device an admin is monitoring individually, making it simple to navigate back to the main screen. On the right side of the screen are tools for managing SoftActivity agents, including install an agent, uninstall an agent, and agent properties. Admins can also generate reports directly within SoftActivity Monitor based on the data the software has captured. For example, admins can review weekly activity logs of every employee or review a specific incident.

SoftActivity Monitor Customer Support

You can expect a decent level of support from SoftActivity. The primary way customers interact with the support team is through a ticket system, email or live chat. For significant technical issues, the support team can remotely access your system to help solve your problem. SoftActivity requires an Updates and Support plan, which is included for one year free with your initial subscription but must be renewed each subsequent year. The cost of the ongoing Updates and Support plan is typically 33% 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.

Limitations

SoftActivity Monitor's user interface is somewhat outdated, and while it is not difficult to learn, it is not as intuitive as some other leading employee monitoring applications in our review. If you're looking for true ease of use, SoftActivity Monitor might disappoint at first glance. However, the minor learning curve shouldn't create too much of an obstacle to effectively using the software in the long run.

SoftActivity Monitor requires an Updates and Support subscription to be renewed annually at 33% of your original licensure costs. While some other employee monitoring software companies in our review followed the same model, SoftActivity Monitor's cost was among the highest. However, it is worth noting that the company does not charge an annual or monthly subscription rate for its licenses like most of its competitors do, either.

Editor's Note: Looking for an employee monitoring solution that will help you ensure your employees are on task and productive? Fill out the questionnaire below and our vendor partners will contact you with more information.

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SoftActivity

SoftActivity

The Best Employee Monitoring Software for 2019

The Verdict

SoftActivity Monitor is our best pick for employee monitoring software for internet management because of its effective features for tracking and restricting the websites your employees visit, as well as the content they download or upload.

Adam C. Uzialko
Adam C. Uzialko
Adam C. Uzialko, a New Jersey native, graduated from Rutgers University in 2014 with a degree in political science and journalism and media studies. He reviews healthcare information technology, call centers, document management software and employee monitoring software. In addition to his full-time position at Business News Daily and Business.com, Adam freelances for several outlets. An indispensable ally of the feline race, Adam is owned by four lovely cats.