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How to monitor your employees' PCs

The best software and strategies to use

Monitoring employee computer use may not help your popularity, but it's an important part of protecting your business.

Best practices

It should go without saying that employee monitoring ought to be just one small component in a comprehensive strategy to protect your business and maintain productivity. Once you've made the choice to monitor, you should follow these general guidelines to ensure your success.

Be honest
Nobody likes being spied on unwittingly. Unless you think someone on your team poses a serious threat that requires covert monitoring, it's best to be up front with staffers about what you track and why. Many companies accomplish this with a simple statement in the employee handbook telling workers plainly that everything they do on company computers, including individual keystrokes, can and will be tracked. Letting employees know that their behaviour is being monitored can serve as a powerful deterrent against unwanted online activity.

Filter proactively
Most good endpoint-security tools include web and email content filters that can block inappropriate sites and prevent users from sending or receiving files that can jeopardise your business. Use them. By limiting the ways your staffers can get into trouble, you can prevent problems up front.

Check reports regularly
There's little point in generating usage reports if you're not going to look at them. Take the time to at least spot-check the reports that your monitoring software generates so that you can identify potential problems early and take remedial action. Whatever you discover - whether it's a time-wasting website that everyone is watching this week or a single person who is addicted to solitaire - you can often fix problems with a simple email that tells your team you know what's up: ‘Just a reminder, people: Chatroulette is not an appropriate use of company time’.

See also: How Facebook mucks up office life

  1. An important part of protecting your business
  2. Monitoring software
  3. Best practices
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