Employee monitoring software in 2019 is a must for any company. 86% of US organizations have an insider threat program or plan to establish one in the nearest future, according to the recent industry findings. If you’re considering hardening your security, maybe it’s time to find the best employee monitoring software.
The most important step in creating an insider threat program is choosing an employee monitoring software. You can use such a solution for various goals: defending your data against an insider attack, tracking employee activity and efficiency, control internet usage, etc.
Some business owners put a priority on whether it’s paid or free. However, this approach may leave you with a solution that doesn’t cover all of your needs. In order to choose the most suitable software for you, consider your purposes for monitoring and functionality you require. We’ve prepared a list of seven tips on choosing an employee monitoring solution for your organization.
1. Define why do you need to monitor employees
As we mentioned before, monitoring employees may have various purposes. Defining why you require monitoring software will answer the question “How to choose the employee monitoring solution”.
We can divide monitoring software into such types:
- Attendance and time-tracking. It’s a part of an HR system that checks if employees really work the amount of time they are paid to.
- Internet activity monitoring. Such solutions track how much time an employee spends surfing the internet, record the visited websites, and tracks time spent on social networks, etc.
- User monitoring. This software includes an extensive set of employee monitoring tools. It can monitor running applications, opened documents and visited URLs, user access to certain data or resources, emails sent, keystrokes, connected USB devices, and even more. User monitoring software is used mostly for insider threat detection and prevention, but you can use it for performance assessment as well.
2. Check the compliance with IT standards and laws
Today, IT systems and data privacy are governed by laws and standards. These regulations define, what you can and can’t do with the collected data, how it should be protected, how you can monitor employees and so on. These regulations may be different for various countries and industries. Before choosing monitoring software, you have to study the requirements applicable to your company.
Apart from that, read the latest news on this topic to prepare yourself for upcoming laws. For example, we’ve all heard about the GDPR that was implemented in May 2018. It applies to all the companies working with the EU residents. But few are aware that California is going promulgate California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). It’s already called “The American GDPR” because of many similarities between these laws. CCPA will be implemented on January 1, 2020.
3. Define who do you need to monitor
Regarding an insider attack or data theft, there are several threat sources:
- in-house employees
- remote employees
- third-party vendors
You can monitor all of them or some party you consider to be the most dangerous.
Monitoring remote employees have become a popular feature recently. A growing number of companies prefer to recruit specialists working outside the office. This approach has its benefits. For example, it allows hiring the best professionals in the industry and even reduces office maintenance cost. But it also holds a threat: while having access to sensitive data, remote employees stay out of the protected perimeter. Remote employees usually work with their own laptops instead of a corporate one. If their devices aren’t protected enough, their credentials may be abused to go unnoticed in your network.
Employee monitoring solutions have three modes of remote monitoring:
- Manual start/stop. In order to start monitoring, such a solution has to be run by an employee, when the working day starts. At the end of the day, a worker has to stop it. It’s useful for time-tracking because the software traces only the working hours. Also, it provides psychological comfort for a remote employee. However, it doesn’t offer complete protection. If a remote employee has malicious intents, they can turn the software off at any moment.
- Running in the background. This type of employee monitoring solutions starts working simultaneously with the OS. It detects any user activity and therefore it’s useful for restricting access and guarding your data. It doesn’t hide its operation, so a user can see it in the task manager, for example. Such a monitoring method isn’t restricted, but you better notify an employee that their laptop is under constant surveillance.
- Concealed running. This type resembles the previous one, but with one exception. The monitoring solution doesn’t leave any traces, so an employee can’t notice if they’re monitored. This way they can’t disable the software in order to conduct something suspicious. But using this type of software may cause a legal issue.
4. Find out about alerting and reporting options
Time to detect and stop a malicious activity plays a major part in the consequences it may have. Despite the type of monitoring solution you choose, you want to be notified if it detects something suspicious.
When choosing the best employee monitoring software for you, research its alert and notification functionality. You need software that alerts a security officer online and gives a tool to stop or suspend malicious activity until the circumstances are clarified.
In order to make the process automated, some pieces of software allow creating rules. These rules describe suspicious user actions that a security officer should know about. This way you can catch violators in the act, whether they spend too much time in a social network or try to copy your clients’ payment details.
5. Discover how to use the collected data
A good employee monitoring solution provides you with a great amount of data on anything happening inside your network. Storing it on the server instead of using to build up your defenses would be a waste.
Monitoring software offers two options on how to employ this information. Some of them offer a User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) module. It analyses a user behavior that is defined as normal. Using it as a baseline, UEBA can detect any suspicious actions as anomalies. For example, if a regular user downloads around 800 MB of data per day, downloading a 10GB piece of data seems like something you’ll want to investigate. Such a system offers solid protection against insider threats.
The data collected with employee monitoring software may also be useful during an investigation and forensic analysis. It’s only a matter of time when someone tries to violate your security. When it happens, you want to get all the information on what happened, who broke the rules, what information was compromised. It helps to determine the scale of the problem and defend yourself in court if you have to.
6. Check the customer support quality
There is no perfect never-crushing software. Sooner or later you’re going to have to contact support in order to fix an issue or propose an improvement. And you know how it usually goes: you need something to be fixed urgently, the technical documentation and FAQ don’t provide any answers, yet the support specialist takes too much time to respond or doesn’t want to get to the bottom of your problem.
So it’s better to check support quality before you face a real issue. Let’s consider “the must” of good support service:
- it works 24/7 and has a live chat available
- technical support is available, meaning that its specialist not only works according to a certain script but really understand the product
- the response time is short. If your issue can’t be solved fast, the support should keep you updated on its status
- the technical documentation and FAQ are comprehensive and easy to understand
7. Choose the best pricing model
Pricing can be widely ranged between software vendors. Thorough research helps to choose the best monitoring software with the functionality you need and at a reasonable price.
Some licensing models can be complex and pretty intricate, especially if you’re considering an enterprise platform, depending on deployed solution infrastructure parts, add-ons, monitored devices, users, and sessions.
Top employee monitoring software provides transparent licensing, usually based on the number of monitored endpoints or users. Some solutions even support floating licensing, allowing you to easily transfer licenses between devices.
Most of the vendors offer a few editions of their product. After you choose to go with certain software, study all the editions carefully. They may differ in offered functionalities, so choosing the right edition allows saving your budget.
Choosing the top employee monitoring software isn’t as hard as it sounds if you take a responsible and formalized an approach to that task. Deploying an employee monitoring software helps you comply with the IT requirements and protect your sensitive data.
When choosing the best employee monitoring solution in 2019, define why do you need, who do you want to monitor, and set up corresponding goals. Check the product’s alerting, reporting, behavioral analytic functionalities, find out about customer support and pricing options. Hopefully, these tips will help you choose an effective monitoring solution that covers all your needs.