How We Selected Internet Management Software
If you're a business owner or manager looking to monitor the internet activity of your employees or to limit access to certain sites altogether for enhanced productivity – or even to ensure that your company's secrets remain safe – then internet management software is a good match for you. If you are a parent looking for a way to monitor what sites your child can access or limit their overall computer time, then head over to our parental software reviews.
Let's face it; there are times when a little regulation goes a long way in the workforce. When we looked for software for our internet management software buying guide, we had small-business owners in mind who want to monitor activity in the workplace and increase productivity.
In this buying guide, you will find recommendations for the best internet blocking software, the best software for protecting your data and the best reporting tools in internet management software.
Best for Website Blocking & Limiting
Controlling what websites employees or guests using your computers can access is a big part of internet monitoring. By installing an internet usage monitor, you can see how long employees spend on work-related and non-work-related sites. You also have the option to completely block a site.
Work Examiner lets you control what sites your employees can access and how long they can be on them. When you use this software, you can whitelist certain sites so that they are the only sites employees in certain departments can access. You can also set parameters, like an hour of unlimited web access per day and limited access after one total hour. The software lets you block all sites with adult content and even completely block social media sites. This internet usage monitor gives you total control over your office’s browsing and internet capabilities. When you block and limit certain websites, you cut down on distractions and increase overall productivity of your employees.
Recommendation for Website Blocking – Work Examiner
Best for Data Security
Maybe you are less interested in managing how much time your employees spend on the internet and more concerned with protecting important company information. InterGuard offers features to help you keep your company’s intellectual property, one of its biggest assets, safe.
When you use InterGuard for network monitoring software, you have the option to prevent employees from saving information onto a flash drive and from deleting or sharing specific files. This ensures they cannot send it via email or take it out of your office on a personal disk. This software also monitors for suspicious behavior. In case someone does steal your data, InterGuard has screenshots of every networked computer’s activity, so you can quickly find the data thief.
Recommendation for Data Security – InterGuard
Best Reporting Tools
Reports are ultimately the objective of internet monitoring software, letting you track your employees' production and time usage. They sometimes can also be used for legal purposes, which is another reason to take the reporting tools seriously. Veriato 360 provides a visual chart builder and schedule reports that can be sent directly to an administrator. Your employees are one of the top resources in your company, and how they manage their time and use the resources your company provides while on the clock is a big factor in your company's overall productivity.
Veriato 360 offers over 50 prebuilt reports. These reports can show productivity of a single employee or an entire department. Prebuilt reports include insight into file transfers, the most commonly used applications and websites, and even online searches and history. You can set reports to run automatically or run them yourself when you need certain information. You can save the reports as PDFs, add your company’s brandings and share them with other managers.
Recommendation for Reporting Tools – Veriato 360
Ethical & Legal Considerations
You might worry that tracking your employees’ internet usage violates their right to privacy. In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that it is legal to record employee activities while they are on the clock and when they are using company property. However, certain states have laws regulating what you must tell your employees about the information you gather. Make sure to check the laws in your state so you know what you are liable for and what you are required to tell your employees.
There are also ethical considerations when implementing this software. For example, since you will be recording keystrokes, you will potentially be recording employees' passwords. If they are permitted to access private accounts, like email or bank accounts, during work hours, make sure they know the company retains all keystrokes, even the passwords they enter.
Some website monitoring software companies offer both transparent and stealth monitoring options. When you run the program in transparent mode, your employees can clearly see their actions are monitored. Stealth mode runs in the background, giving employees no indication that they are being monitored.
Companies looking to increase productivity, safeguard company information and data, or keep records of electronic communications for legal or other purposes should invest in internet management software. Doing so can protect your business and ensure a healthy workplace free of internet abuse, data theft and inefficiency.
If you are looking for even more protection – like, for example, your company is in the healthcare industry and must meet HIPAA standards – consider email encryption software to protect highly sensitive information. And, while internet management software flags any suspicious emails, it is always a good idea to use antivirus software to protect the health and security of your computers.
When you choose internet management software, you should take some or all of these factors into consideration. Being mindful of these and whatever legal or ethical concerns you are bound by will help you find the best software for your company. Use this buying guide and our articles on internet management software to help you make your decision.