Employee Monitoring is the process of tracking employee activities such as app use, internet browsing, email communications, file transfers etc. An employee monitoring solution allows a business to keep an eye on its users so that they cannot put the organization in harm’s way intentionally or accidentally by leaking sensitive data, sabotage, fraud, theft or other miscreants. A company might also use an employee monitoring solution to track employee performance and compliance such as active vs idle time, effort spent on productive vs unproductive tasks, workplace harassment, etc.
Once considered a specialized solution, the recent pandemic has boosted the popularity of employee monitoring software among regular businesses. As more and more companies find themselves working across distributed, remote teams, managers are tasked with finding new tools and innovative ways to ensure security, productivity, and compliance outside their company walls. Modern employee monitoring solutions, which were designed for remote teams in mind to begin with, can alleviate many of these problems.
We looked at a dozen popular employee monitoring solutions and picked the top 5 using a 10-point litmus test: features, business case (price vs value), flexibility/scalability, ease of deployment, platform availability, vendor reputation, support/SLA offered, compatibility and integration capability etc. You can find more information about the checklist here: How to Choose the Best Employee Monitoring System?
The review below is written by us using publicly available information on respective vendor sites, demo, trials, documentation, and online reviews. If any product has changed or you notice any inaccuracies, please let us know and we will correct them.
Teramind has been consistently ranked #1 in the employee monitoring software space by popular journals and review sites. Branded, ‘Teramind UAM (User Activity Monitoring)’, its employee monitoring solution goes beyond the basic monitoring and tracking functionality and adds intelligent policy and rules engine to automatically respond to insider threats and data leaks.
Teramind UAM can also measure employee productivity, conduct risk analysis, prevent unauthorized data exfiltration and manage how privileged users access company resources while logged in at corporate workstations and servers. It comes with comprehensive forensic data and session recordings to identify the employees and vendors who have triggered a rule violation along with their activity footprint with pinpoint accuracy. Most recently the company has launched a plethora of features such as time tracking, a mobile app and powerful business intelligence dashboard to make it easy to monitor and manage remote teams effectively.
- Intuitive user interface with widgets and custom dashboard and reporting.
- Powerful policy and rules engine with hundreds of pre-built templates.
- Screen and audio recording, live view and remote-control features.
- Comprehensive solution with time tracking, task management, productivity, risk analysis and integrated business intelligence (BI) features.
- Too many features might be overwhelming for some users.
- No support for Linux and mobile devices.
- The Mac version of the agent has limited functionalities.
- Slightly expensive for smaller organizations.
Starting at $5 endpoint/month (On-premise), $10 user/month (Cloud).
If you are a small-to-medium business (SMB), ActivTrak’s employee monitoring software has all the necessary employee tracking features you might ever need. For example, screen recording, employee time tracking, application, and website usage monitoring and more. It also has some insider threat prevention capabilities, albeit a bit limited. For example, it can block websites and prevent USB drive usage. It comes with some limited privacy features such as the ability to redact screen recording and you have to pay extra $9/month per user for it.
ActivTrak was the only vendor we researched that offers a free version of their product. However, the free version only lets you monitor up to 3 users and store 3GB worth of logs and screenshots. Other features are also very limited on the freemium plan making it almost useless for business purposes.
- Freemium version.
- Screen recording.
- Project-based productivity tracking.
- Risk scoring.
- No OCR or fingerprinting capabilities.
- No dedicated files or keystrokes logging.
- No keystrokes logging.
- Its use of Google Cloud for analytics might raise privacy issues.
Basic plan is free. Standard price starts at $7.20 user/month.
Veriato, formerly known as SpectorSoft, is one of the oldest cybersecurity and internet monitoring software providers operating since 1998. It offers user activity monitoring, user behavior analytics, ransomware detection and log management applications to enterprise, mid-market, and small business. Veriato Vision is its employee monitoring solution.
Vision has a granular set of activity monitoring and recording features such as web, app, file, social media, chats, keylogger, printer, IM, printer etc. It also comes with powerful productivity reports, real-time alerts and insider threat detection capabilities. However, many of the Veriato platform’s unique features such as AI-based behavioral analytics, anomaly alerts, and risk scoring are not available on Vision. You will need to upgrade to its Cerebral solution to get them. That said, Cerebral itself can be enhanced with optional add-ons. For example, Veriato DLP will let you identify and tag sensitive data and protect them from exfiltration attempts. Veriato Endpoint Control adds remote lockdown capability for stolen and compromised computers.
- Can detect virtually all user activity such as app, web, email, IM, files, network etc.
- Powerful policy and compliance management features.
- Productivity reporting.
- Unique ROI analysis tool to measure waste, savings and return %.
- No network activity monitoring or risk scoring.
- No anomaly detection.
- Only Cloud deployment option.
- No monthly pricing plan.
Starting at $12.5 user/month.
The standard version of the InterGuard employee monitoring software offers activity tracking on five categories: device, website, email, app and instant messenger/chat. Customers can also buy add-ons for file & print tracking, data loss prevention, endpoint lockdown and geolocation. It is one of the most platform agnostic solutions we reviewed. InterGuard is available for workstation, PC/server, Mac, Chromebook, Android, iOS, as well as Citrix and other virtual desktop environments.
The dashboard comes with six views: productivity charts, user view, alert logs, data view, report & notifications and search. The anomalous behavior tracking and DLP features can identify unusual behavior patterns such as excessive printing or downloading documents, unusual login activity etc. The policy wizard allows you to create ‘DataLock Policy’ for email, removable media and data at rest (files). The software comes with a simple but effective productivity dashboard that lets you track active time, activity heatmap, identify productive/unproductive time etc. for groups and departments.
- Support for a wide range of platforms.
- Behavioral anomaly detection.
- Detailed productivity analysis.
- Extensive reporting capability.
- Limited activity blocking features.
- No OCR, fingerprinting.
- Need to buy additional modules for full functionality.
- A lot of manual settings required.
Starting at $9.99 user/month.
One of the recent entrants in the block, Workpuls has quickly established itself as a popular employee monitoring software, especially among small-to-medium businesses due to its aggressive pricing and value. The solution is offered in four flavors: Employee Monitoring, Time Tracking, Automatic Time Mapping and Enterprise.
While it is classified as an employee monitoring solution, Workpuls primarily focuses on time tracking and employee engagement versus insider threat prevention and security. As such, its monitoring capabilities are limited to websites and applications only. Workpuls is also very conscious about employee privacy and compliance. Admins can easily select which apps and websites they don’t want to track time, or screenshots on for a team. Additionally, manual and project based tracking scenarios enable employees to start, pause or stop their task timer.
- Modern, slick-looking user interface.
- Versatile time and attendance tracking features.
- Employee clock-in/clock-out kiosk for personal computers and remote teams.
- Automated app and web categorization to identify un/productive tasks.
- No insider threat detection or data loss prevention features.
- Can only track web and app activities.
- Screenshots are not continuous, capped at 30 per hour for non-enterprise versions.
- On-premise license requires at least 100 users.
Starting at $4.80 user/month.