General discussion

  • Creator
  • #2181224

    Unobtrusive employee monitoring


    by wflanagan ·

    I am looking for a tool that I can put on the monitor port, or somewhere on my server switch segment, that can “unobtrusively” monitor the behavior of the employees. I don’t want to see individual emails. I am looking for general trends type information (employee X uses web X% of the time, email x% of the time, etc.). Ideally, it will give me some sort of clue when they come into the office in the morning (cause everyone works on computers all day) and when they leave in the evening.

    I have a problem with most of the tools out there. I don’t want to see the detail of their conversations, etc. I just want raw, high level numbers. In addition, I don’t want to install anything on their computers. If the employees found it (technology company) there would be a riot.

    Any suggestions that you have would be appreciated.


All Comments

  • Author
    • #3187375

      When did you get your management training?

      by dc guy ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      You don’t manage people by observing the amount of time they spend at their desks or the amount of time they spend on breaks using the web. You manage people by observing what they produce. Timeliness, quality, cost, etc. That is a no-brainer.

      The style of management you’re describing is from the pre-industrial era, when all most people could put into their jobs was physical strength and endurance. Even in the Industrial Era, especially after the introduction of the assembly line, coordination and concentration became important; that’s the reason the 40-hour week was established.

      In the post-industrial era, creativity and autonomy have become key traits. You don’t get those with MBSP (Management By Spying on People).

      The prevalence of MBSP, decades after it became downright counterproductive, is the reason most Americans still have to “go to work” every day even though they all have computers, webcams, and telephones right in their own homes. Their bosses simply don’t have the training, attitude, and in many cases the sheer people skills, to be able to manage people they can’t physically look at. Even though today most of their work is not visible.

      The time that the average American spends driving, parking, taking care of their car, schlepping their children to day care, coordinating schedules with their spouse, and just “getting ready for the office” adds up to at least two hours a day of lost time. Add to that the drain on energy and morale plus the health impact of divorces, children raised with little parental contact, and a steady diet of convenience food, and you’ve got a much bigger “productivity” problem than how much time an employee spends reading the news or buying his own dog vaccines online because he hasn’t got time to go to the vet.

      I suggest you concentrate your own creative energy on something more appropriate than reinventing the timeclock. Facilitate telecommuting in your own firm, take whatever training you seem to require to be able to manage employees you can’t physically see, and watch productivity and quality soar.

      • #3187035

        Thanks for your feedback….

        by wflanagan ·

        In reply to When did you get your management training?

        …but see, this is the problem that I have. I work in that type of an environment. And, in that environment, as people come in at 11am and leave at 2pm, you begin to lose whether they are working 40 hours a week. In addition, because they are all “consultants” and build the schedule, i’m not sure if they’re sandbagging their time so that they don’t have to work so much. And, my manager doesn’t think that people are working 40 hours a week.

        So, I need to justify that they are. The current solutions pry into their privacy. I don’t want or need that. I just need to justify that they are substantially working 40 hours a week at least on average.

        So, besides any criticisms of my “pre industrial era ways”, do you have any meaningful suggestions?


        I know, it’s a matter of trust. But, I have directly been asked to getting 40 hours out of them, and because these folks set their own schedules, I need some sort of checksum to make sure the number of hours they are budgeting is adding up to at least 40 hours of working, on the clock time, on average.

        • #3187022


          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Thanks for your feedback….

          Instead of spying, just put a memo out saying internet access is being monitored.
          There are loads of server side tools to monitor what urls are going through a proxy and or a firewall.
          In terms of actually turning up just audit log on events.

        • #3184470

          I call them Time Sheets and trust

          by itengineerguy ·

          In reply to Judo

          I have used timesheets. Consultants use them to track their time they spend on a project. This includes research and installation time. Also it included training. This was effective tracking tool. You could use a spreadsheet. Plus the other part of the equation is trust. Trust what them that they are tracking time properly. Simple!!

        • #3184374

          all very well but

          by slurpee ·

          In reply to I call them Time Sheets and trust

          I suspect that that is similar to what has been done but wflanagan says it is his boss who wants this proven – I would say that wflanagan’s boss needs to set parameters on the work – goals, progress reports, deadlines – rather than spying on the employees to see if they are working. After all, I usually come into my office and open e-mail and leave it open all day. When am I using it? Just when I send an e-mail or when I happen to check if there are any in or…?
          Good luck wflanagan

        • #3184360

          Employee Monitoring

          by tmcal ·

          In reply to Judo

          I continue to be amazed at the IT mindset and outlook as it relates to the role in a company. IT provides and performs a service to the company and its end product and bottom line just as other employees do. Comnpanies do not exist because of IT, any more than any other individual group. Companys are in business to make money and they do that through its people. The IT person here spends a significant amount time on the internet also, much of it is researching for personal issues like writing his own books, etc.
          So should IT activities also be monitored?

        • #3184341


          by doc squidly ·

          In reply to Employee Monitoring

          It sounds like you have issues with the “IT Person” at your work. If this is the case you should speak to your manager. I know I get fustrated when I see other employees not doing their jobs.

          And… Some companies do exist because of IT. Such as companies that create software or provide IT services to other companies.

        • #3182609

          This is not an IT specific issue

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Employee Monitoring

          There are a whole mess of people who ‘toss it off’ unproductively from the toilet cleaner to the MD. The thing about general monitoring systems is as soon as you implement one, you are saying you don’t trust any of your employees because either you have evidence that some can’t be trusted, or management itself feels that were they in a similar position they would abuse any trust they were given.
          The latter is the case far more often in my experience.
          Set reasonable deadlines, monitor whether you are on schedule. elapsed hours vs available hours vs hours booked will soon tell you where you are at and identify problem areas. Investigate them and don’t assume it’s becuase they are on TR all day or they aren’t here all day.

        • #2871295

          Employee Web Monitoring

          by mon_selis ·

          In reply to Employee Monitoring

          I understand your sentiments, but it’s just a matter of who you hire in these positions. But monitoring employees should also be applied by the employers themselves. The system is there for a reason, to monitor employees internet use and it’s useless if no one is there to fully monitor it’s effectiveness.

        • #3187707

          Reply To: Unobtrusive employee monitoring

          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to Thanks for your feedback….

          If they’re using VPN, logs should be available. I recently used it to get some OT validated. Just basics. Time logged in, time logged out, data transferred.

        • #3182821

          Co-operative Management

          by mbatty ·

          In reply to Thanks for your feedback….

          As they are “consultants” they should be aware that their time = money. In all professions the concept of bookable hours is well understood and timesheets a way of tracking hours spent is a natual result. This is a much more transparent method of time tracking than looking for electronic activity.

          Alongside timesheets it is important to have project tracking with key deliverables. Using these two tools you can manage the teams output and understand how long this output takes.

          This gives a couple of benefits:
          1. You have documentary evidence of actviity
          2. you have management informantion that can form the basis for informed discussions with team members.

          I would say this would form a better overall soltuion for measuring productivity and demonstrating the value of the team. Using these tools and keeping it open with your consultants will improve the level of trust between management and employee.

          Good luck.

        • #3183266

          Project Deliverables

          by proud member of vast right wing majority ·

          In reply to Co-operative Management

          MBatty has it right – a combination of time sheets (if they are really needed), and a measure of Project Deliverables. In our profession, either you are on-track, and delivering what you were assigned to do, or you are not.

          If the project is being completed, on time and within the specified budget, other factors would seem not to be an issue.

        • #3182721

          Project Mangement Software

          by bjordan ·

          In reply to Project Deliverables

          We use an internal software program called TaskIt that tracks the hours spent on projects and specific deliverables (We also market it to the public is a great way to track how problems are resolved and how much time it took to resolve them. It allows multiple people to access a particular project and update and add their pieces to the project. It has great reporting features. It allows you to pull the time an employee spent on a project or how much time they spent on all projects for a week, a month etc… I run a department of IT staff that are required to keep the total time logged in to TaskIt as close to 40 hours as possible. It also is valuable to show the boss who is putting in extra hours and what not. I know this all sounds like a sales pitch but I’m not in sales, I’m just a satisfied user of TaskIt.

        • #3182649

          Also Consultants sign timesheets…

          by jennyn ·

          In reply to Co-operative Management

          This gives you much stronger legal auditing. The timesheet is a signed doc. If it turns out they don’t spend their time on what they signed off on, they have committed a fraud. If someones productivity doesn’t match their timesheet claims, THEN monitor online activity.

          Not so clear cut to say “fraud” if they were found to be online.

          Monitoring is a bit like making people clock in/out. When I was made to clock in I just rebeled – couldn’t help myself! – like clock in and then spend first 1/2hr on a personal call (yup – internet is not the only way to waste time!). But treat me like an adult and you’ll get 110%. I bet I’m not the only one with this psychology … admit it y’all!

        • #3189845

          I agree!

          by vltiii ·

          In reply to Also Consultants sign timesheets…

          You’re probably not the only one with that mindset, but is tit for tat really the answer. In a PROFESSIONAL work environment there will probably always be things that we don’t agree with and rebelling, I don’t think is the answer. Act like an adult and maybe you’ll be treated like one! I think all too often employees don’t understand the rationale behind business decisions that are made. For example, in the case of hourly wage earners, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to have documented the number of hours each employee puts in. On the other hand, I’m a salaried employee, but I work on a defense contract. I have to document my hours worked even though my pay check is not impacted, because that determines how much my company can bill the government. Do I like documenting my hours… NO, especially with the system we use it seems to take way to long, but I do understand the need to document my hours. I realize these are simplistic examples, but they were for illustrative purposes only even though factually correct.

        • #3182811

          Dark ages!

          by myron_s ·

          In reply to Thanks for your feedback….

          I suppose it depends on the job being done, but in some cases I think you’re out of touch mate.

          I’m a system and I.I. administrator where I work and the last thing I want to do is watch the clock. I don’t care if I work 5 hours a week, 50 hours a week, on demand or anything else.

          Wjat maters to me is that the tasks I need to do get done, quality is applied to my work and everyone I serve at the company I work for are happy.

          Just now the boss called me with a small problem which I solved with a remote session. Still it did interrupt me crunching into a slice of tasty slive of toast and supping a good cup of coffee.

          Sometimes I even decided to have a siesta. I don’t have to go to the office unless I need to do something physical, with woyk being 20 minutes deive from my house. By choice I do `usually` go to the office on Monday, Wednesday and Friday to break up the week.

          What the main point is I allocate as much time as I need to get the job done and actually, on the odd occasion, burn some post-midnight oil yet I get the job done and I’m still happy. I’m also happy in how much I’ve saved on the cost of diesel for the car over the months!

          You need to encourage the people working for you to get the job done on time and on spec and not to concentrate to put in 40 hours every week. As it is possible to be at the office 40 hours every week, but only put in 5 hours work.

          Time to leave the 20th century and recognise the 21st century or simply be left behind.

        • #3184487

          RE: Dark Ages!

          by homer4598 ·

          In reply to Dark ages!

          That’s absolutely true, BUT then don’t bill for 40 hours. I don’t think the point was that these guys are getting the job done and only billing 10 hours a week. The point is that they are billing 40+ hours a week and appear to only be putting in 10 hours per week.

          Sure, appearances are deceiving, but often not so much.

        • #3184396

          Trust is Key

          by hangin_online ·

          In reply to RE: Dark Ages!

          If you don’t trust the people working for you/with you/under you, why are they still employed/managed by you? Have you approached the consultants with your/management’s doubts? Spying is a gutless way of avoiding confruntation and possably exposing your own inabilities to manage, direct and empower those around you to work hard and honestly.

        • #3184182

          Perhaps it’s time to leave hourly billing behind.

          by sjohnson175 ·

          In reply to RE: Dark Ages!

          Come up with some other method to value IT product produced.

          I don’t have an answer, just throwing out food for thought.

        • #3184145

          Set goal points.

          by melar ·

          In reply to Perhaps it’s time to leave hourly billing behind.

          I think the general consensus (even if a few don’t exactly realise it) is that you should be measuring people on what they have achieved, not how long it has taken to achieve it. On that note, why not set up your costing that way. Sit down with the consultants and define specific goal points and then agree on the charges for each goal point. That way everyone knows exactly where they stand.

        • #3183407

          Thanks Melar

          by sheeva ·

          In reply to Set goal points.

          Your submission is exactly how I handle any staff who are on an “off-site” basis. Traditional 40 hour weeks are not nor have ever been the staple of an IT pro’s life. We’ve always put in 50 to 60 plus hours and if we’re lucky, work for organizations that recognize this as over time or banked time or lieu time, etc.

          As a manager, you should know how long an objective will take, you negotiate it with your “off-site” staffer and then you review and measure the quality/substance of the stated objective’s outcome. Many off-site staff will work evenings or weekends or what have you and not the traditional daily 9 to 5.

          So for my staff we’ve found a better way to “negotiate” their production rather than watch the clock. This process takes more management but is far more rewarding that giving them a pink slip for being 15 minutes late 3 mornings in a row.

        • #3184466

          Tracking People

          by rnackerman ·

          In reply to Thanks for your feedback….

          If you just need to track when people are there and are not, we use a sign in method. Either the arriving or departing person physically goes by a receptionist that is tracking in and out times or a phone contact is made. Management says the purpose of this is to determine if someone is available for telephone calls or not, but it does boil down to plain old time card tracking. It is easy to implement once people get use to it.

          Our hourly employees do use a time clock by requiring our salaried employees to follow this procedure does help track things. There are occasions where someone will be out of the office for business reason and a simple report when they leave of “I have a meeting at Mr. ‘X’ this afternoon” usually is all that is needed. Management can verify information on Mr X later if needed.

        • #3184440

          …Trust & one question – are they productive?

          by blayer ·

          In reply to Thanks for your feedback….

          If you can’t trust the consultants you have then you have the wrong consultants. Secondly, if they are producing the results you want, then there should be no issue with time. One simple way to see what they are doing is ask for a weekly report. However, the bottom line is that if they are producing the results that you (and your manager) expect or want, there should be no issue with time.

        • #3184402

          Time Sheets

          by tfazio ·

          In reply to Thanks for your feedback….

          I was under the impression these people were salary employees.

          If they are contractors then they should be submitting full reports when/prior to sending an invoice with the exact time they are spending on a particular project.

          I maintain my own spreadsheet on outside consultants and always confront them with any time that I have jotted down notes of outside phone calls they take or internet research not pertaining to what they are working on.

          I guess I consider myself lucky because I can be here listening and scrutinizing their behavior and I don’t have to resort to spying.

        • #3184376

          Surf Control and time sheets….

          by technicallyright ·

          In reply to Thanks for your feedback….

          I would try using a help desk type software program or just plain old time sheets or work logs. It doesn’t have to be to the minute but it would give you a good idea of what’s happening.

          I have used and would definitely recommend Surf Control to monitor what is going in and out of your network.

          People who are sandbagging their hours now will just find another way to do it with what ever you put in place

        • #3184286

          Are you hiring?

          by mtg42 ·

          In reply to Thanks for your feedback….

          I like the idea of showing up at 11:00, and working til 2:00 & I could avoid the internet for most of that time. But I would require an hour for lunch!

        • #3183273

          I should believe this?

          by jpaullanier ·

          In reply to Thanks for your feedback….

          No one is going to believe you have to monitor consultants’ computer activity just to find out when they arrive and leave work. That is like saying I have to go inside your house to verify your address. I wouldn’t work for any company that does what you propose. If you want to retain good employees, don’t treat them with suspicion. If you and your manager are incapable of implementing any standard time clock system, you shouldn’t be in management.

        • #3183243

          Consultants or employees?

          by craig herberg ·

          In reply to Thanks for your feedback….

          If they really are consultants and not employees, you may be on very thin ice. Your manager should check with a business attorney in your city/county to determine the difference between employees and consultants. If he accidentally converts consultants to employees, that would be very costly. At a minimum, your company would have to pay payroll taxes, worker’s comp and unemployment insurance.

          Craig Herberg

        • #3182742

          Monitoring Consultants

          by bfilmfan ·

          In reply to Consultants or employees?

          Not to mention that the consultants might not agree to said monitoring, which means it is wiretapping, which moves right to The Martha Stewart experience…

          If the client is requirning consutlants to be on site and settign work hours, he has already converted them to employees under current IRS rules. And the IRS will check this out if it is reported and start the fines on the company.

        • #3059598

          All Good Managers use checks and balances

          by luckyleatherneck ·

          In reply to Thanks for your feedback….

          Your concern, and directive from higher-up, is valid. Your vision of using a covert tool is sound. While employed as a first level manager of programmers and systems analysts, I used many techniques to make sure they were not only on track with their assigned tasks but working on the right tasks. Many of those techniques were not secret but they weren’t visible either. A very important part of delegating work to others is to check up on them with Hows-it-going check points.

          While a consultant for a couple decades, I was very aware that misreporing billable time was (and is now) a crime, whether overbilling or underbilling.

          Logon-logoff records can help but someone can always do that for others even though they’re not supposed to know each others passwords. Some applications have intrinsic recording of employee time on the job like help desk applications that show date-time-stamps on notes, contact initiation, time-sent for technicians, and time-resolved. Well integrated project management tools can provide a level of proving hours worked without getting into in-punch and out-punch scenarios. If you don’t have the project management tools to correlate project hours to billable hours maybe your boss will see the need and you can more easily manage the work and the people. Of course, if you assign 12 hours to modify a program module and the person logs 18 hours of actual time to finish it you can always ask why. That’s also a function of management. But at least you have some basis for justifying those hours to upper management.


      • #3172641


        by aardvarky ·

        In reply to When did you get your management training?

        I agree. It all seems rather Dickensian, doesn’t it?

        There ARE better ways to manage work forces, that’s for sure. Just because technology makes it possible to monitor people’s activity, doesn’t mean you have to. Output (quantity and quality) is always going to be the better measure of staff productivity.

        The only scenarios I can think of where this kind of monitoring might have some value are:

        1) Carrot-impaired

        Carrots are better than sticks, but in some parts of the world (mine, for example, is a 3rd world country) sticks are often the ONLY way of getting ANY output from workers.

        The majority of workers come to “do a job” because they need the money (yes, I know, that applies to most of us, but read on …), and see having a job as a right not a privilege. They are not in the least bit interested about the value they add to the organisation (in the 1st world, there is generally an acceptance that this is to some degree important).

        In a 1st world technology environment, such as this poster appears to come from, surely the big stick should not be required?!

        2) Data analysis

        Usage patterns can be useful for performance monitoring, growth planning, etc.

        Fraud can also be detected by ‘odd’ activities at the network level.

        Regardless … your workers WILL find out you are doing this, no matter how sneakily you go about it. If you do not feel it is defensible if they became aware, do not do it! If you feel you have to do it, then be up front about it, and be able to justify to your workers why it is necessary!

        • #3184181


          by capt.brad ·

          In reply to Dickensian

          Seems Orwellian to me. Reminds me of my days supporting publishing applications where owners and bean counters thought keystokes meant productivity. Error rates, formatting mistakes and carpal tunnel syndrome be damned . . . .

        • #3182774

          You know I call my wife sugarlips????

          by shorne ·

          In reply to Orwellian?

          Up here in Alberta, Canada a story just hit the media of a librarian who decided one of her employees was slacking off on his computer. So she had a keystroke logger installed, which he discovered and promptly reported to his union. Today the library has a new policy that kinda frowns on that sort of spying. I’m with a bunch of other people in this thread. Measure results, not how people get there.

      • #3172562

        WELL SAID!

        by tfazio ·

        In reply to When did you get your management training?

        I completely agree with this person. It is management ideology such as this that forces independent people to come to work to punch a clock in the year 2005. Take the money they spend on office space and put it into some real healthcare benefits!

        • #3186578

          I don’t completely agree

          by fluidtech ·

          In reply to WELL SAID!

          I’m pretty good at my job & I know I can work less hours than some of my co-workers & still get the workload handled (I was recently ill and missed quite a bit of time but no deadlines). Does this mean it’s OK for me to sandbag my time slips?

          I don’t think so.

          I agree with most of your points though, I just don’t think it’s quite so black & white.

        • #3184414


          by tfazio ·

          In reply to I don’t completely agree

          It depends. I am paid salary so I don’t have to enter time. I was completely honest when I worked in consulting and only put in time that it took me to complete a project. It was what seperated me from a tech that took too long.

          So no of course I don’t agree that you should overcharge people but if you can get your work duties done in 4 hours vs 8 hours for slower people why should you be penalized for that?

          The way I look at it is if you can get your job done in 1/2 the time they will ask you to do more work which gives you ammo when you ask for your next raise 😉

        • #3184411


          by mobrien ·

          In reply to I don’t completely agree

          That is why somepeople get paid more than others. I agree with you totally. Just because Employee A is better than Employee B doesn’t give him a buy from coming into work. That talent just gives you negotiation power at raise time.
          The thing that bothers me about this thread is nobody really seems to be answering the question. The poster is being attacked for asking the question and the thread has been hijacked to “what is the proper way to manage people” It appears that his needs are out of his control and he really cannot “trust” the contractors to report their own time accurately. I was a contractor as well, so I have an interest in this topic.

        • #3176081


          by vltiii ·

          In reply to Righto

          I think most of the posts in reference to “what is the proper way to manage people” are right on the mark. The implication is that he has some level of control/authority over those that he is being asked to document. If his seniors are requesting this information and he is the intermediary, then by definition his seniors are questioning his ability to manage. Whether it was their intent or not, that is what they’ve done. Ideally, he wouldn’t need to find a way to document their hours, he would have been able to justify to his seniors off the cuff.

      • #3179963


        by firstpeter ·

        In reply to When did you get your management training?

        While, in concept, that’s a good policy, it REQUIRES a foundation of trust to be there before it will work. If there is no trust in the relationship (perhaps the employees are new; perhaps there is a perception of “slacking”; whatever the reason the trust isn’t there) the “you just get the job done” principle doesn’t work.

        Trust is a 2-sided relationship, so in no way can you put it all on management. To do so assumes that the employees are all doing what they’re supposed to be doing when they’re supposed to be doing it; something you don’t know (because the original poster didn’t say they were). In fact, based on the original post I’d say there is some breakdown on that side of the trust coin (the employees), as well.

        Incidentally, to your point that there are other productivity concerns to worry about (divorce, fast food, etc.) – right on, but completely irrelevant to the poster’s question. They have control over activities in the workplace; they do not have control (to a material degree) over what goes on at home. You can only manage what you can control.

        NOW. All that being said, I think you’re right on for the most part if there’s an established basis for trust in the workplace. Micro-managing people is not the way to go, and there’s a reason there would be a riot (as the poster noted) if they discovered they were being managed.

        But in this situation it appears that management has a reason to suspect that things are not being done as they should, and as a result something needs to be done.

        • #3183436


          by mswanberg ·

          In reply to Off-Base

          Hasn’t it been well-established that an organization that owns the equipment (i.e. the PCs) has the right to monitor how they are used? And if they tell the employees that they are being monitored (which I understand a lot of companies SAY they are monitoring but then don’t actually do it… scare tactics) then the employees have 2 choices: deal with it or go work elsewhere.

          As for the control of the home issues, I agree with the earlier post about how it would be better to lose a few minutes productivity ordering stuff online than it would be to have to miss work to take care of things.

          I worked for a company that was firmly of the mindset that it didn’t matter what you do, it only matters how you look doing it. I think it’s obvious why I chose to leave.

          There is nothing like the feeling of freedom a self-motivated person like myself gets from being task-oriented. Somedays I don’t feel as productive, and it’s nice to know that my boss isn’t going to crucify me because my 8 hours today wasn’t as productive as my 8 hours yesterday. It’s nice to know that I can make up for the lost productivity on another day when I’m feeling better.

          On the other hand, an organization cannot be 100% task-oriented. Imagine if I got paid for each project I completed. Heck, I would skip every meeting because they would just get in the way of me finishing the next project. Meetings are important (most of the time) but get in the way of measurable progress.

          Just my $0.02

        • #3183362


          by firstpeter ·

          In reply to Riot?

          I think you’re right on with your post (for the most part, anyway). The organization that owns the equipment has a right to determine its use, and if the employees don’t like it…tough. It’s the company’s asset, not yours.

          My point with the “riot” comment was more along the lines of being micro-managed at that level. I think there are other potential ways to handle it, but there’s nothing wrong with monitoring the employees. The riot wouldn’t necessarily be a justified riot, but given the environment that the poster outlined I can see why it would happen.

          In terms of the control of the home issues I can’t disagree there, either. And as an employer I would rather give folks the leeway to handle issues here at work when they have a chance instead of not being here at all. However that would presumably be included in what the poster was after. Since they were looking for a guide as to how much times was spent on what I got the impression it was to gauge if that time spent on work activities was “realistic”, not “100%”.

          And tell me where you work – my corporate experience has not lent itself well to the impression that “meetings are important” – I can safely say that the majority of the meetings I ended up attending in a corporate environment were absolute wastes of my time and could have been handled (from my perspective, anyway) with an e-mail explaining the situation instead.

        • #3196094


          by vltiii ·

          In reply to Riots

          My experience with meetings are very similar to yours. They are unproductive and negative. Even when the foundation of a meeting is productive, they tend to erode into something unproductive. It’s really quite horrible.

      • #3182798

        GREAT IDEA

        by chaos-x ·

        In reply to When did you get your management training?

        I think the monitoring usage is a great idea for several reasons. But there has to be some guidelines for it so it’s used in a productive way and not just as a way for a manager to get rid of the birght, hard-working guy who spens 5 minutes a day checking sports scores. And you need to show the big picture.

        So have all usage and all salaries posted along with billable hours. This way the guy who is busting his ass can go in to his manager and show just cause for a raise. And the flip side? It lets the stockholders see how much the CEO is really doing to help the company. The stockholders are the owners aren’t they? I’m sure upper manangement would never agree to such terms which should tip you off that they really aren’t doing this to help the business across the board.

        • #3196036


          by vltiii ·

          In reply to GREAT IDEA

          Salaries are priviledged information that only the employee, HR, and the employees manager are privey to. I would be careful with posting this information, but then since it is priviledged, where would he get the info anyway. If these guys are consultants, I would guess they’re under contract and the customer certainly woudn’t have access to their salary info.

      • #3184484

        RE: Management Training

        by homer4598 ·

        In reply to When did you get your management training?

        You know, I tend to agree with you, however, there are many many people who take advantage of trust. I could point out hundreds of examples in the government sector (being in the DC area myself) alone.

        I recall in the past year instances were companies installed GPS tracking in their vehicles and found the crews out screwing around and not working.

        I’m not a big fan of monitoring people — I hate it in fact; however, sometimes there is a necessity.

        • #3183420

          IMO the key to problems like the GPS uncovered

          by sjohnson175 ·

          In reply to RE: Management Training

          is getting the employees to “buy in” to the concept everyone is on the same team. What’s good for the company is good for them and vice versa.

          So long as manager and employee is an adversarial relationship overall productivity will suffer.

          Why did the Japanese beat the US in manufacturing so badly in the 80’s? Because the employees believed in the company as if their personal investment capital were on the line.

          Apologies to the original poster for continuing this thread hijack.

      • #3184453

        Hear hear!

        by mswanberg ·

        In reply to When did you get your management training?

        EXCELLENT post… the workforce needs more people like you!

      • #3184430

        More Utopian Claptrap

        by mr l ·

        In reply to When did you get your management training?

        Very nice utopia you live in, DC Guy…but you certainly don’t manage large groups in a large company. Trust is wonderful…absolutely, no question. But if you are being paid to do job, and hired/retained with an expectation of NN hours/week-day, then your employer most certainly can and will track, at some level, whether or not you are holding up your end of the bargain. The OPs request for high level monitoring is simply an adjunct to the existing monitoring. That being the monitoring done by team leads/managers/supervisors…and peers. Yes, peers! “Hey Boss, whyinhell can DCGuy come in at 10 and leave at 2 every day, do no more work than anyone else here, and get away with it??” “I didn’t know he was doing that” “Bloody hell, you call yourself a manager and don’t when your people are coming and going?”

        Face it, nirvana is a nice dream…the OP is asking for practical assistance for the real world.

        And, to the OP, assuming you are in a windows world, logging domain logons/logoffs should be a very simple solution for you at a high level.

        • #3184363

          Karl Marx

          by mobrien ·

          In reply to More Utopian Claptrap

          Yeah, I feel like I am reading the collective works of Socialism by Karl Marx. Reality unlike Utopia often calls for Managers to deal with real problems like apithetic employees.

        • #3184195

          I’m about as far from a socialist as one can get

          by sjohnson175 ·

          In reply to Karl Marx

          but agree with DC Guy.

          IT workers in particular are for the most part craftsmen who love their work and such micromangement will only kill morale and stifle creativity.

      • #3184371

        Right on!

        by gigs ·

        In reply to When did you get your management training?

        Having read your comments, at first, I thought you were coming across as rude. But upon taking in the whole gist of your comments, I think they are great. You should seriouly consider running for president upon this platform. You would win in a landslide.

      • #3184347

        Soap box or answer

        by fryque ·

        In reply to When did you get your management training?

        Why can’t a tech ask a question without getting a sermon? There are many reasons to monitor bandwidth usage. Get off your soapbox and answer the question!

        • #3183432

          couldn’t agree more

          by oside-mike ·

          In reply to Soap box or answer

          Seems to me that the people that cry the loudest are generally the ones that have the most to lose.

          Not only is monitoring prudent but in some cases really required. Baseline traffic monitoring to establish trends and patterns is a good start so when I start getting complaints about Internet speed being slow I can look to see the 30 plus GB FTP traffic from one machine downloading porn now. It didn’t effect his performance but it sure hit the rest of us. Or a little finer detail may be required such as to catch an employee running an outside business from inside our network.

          Both have occurred in our office. We have a very open attitude and policy towards internet usage but always within the framework that company computers and networks are not private and all data on the network is company property (from a liability stand point any court in the US would go with that position).

          So get off the high horses and answer the question!

          I’d start at firewall logs for a good overview of where and when your traffic is. Emails are another story, if it’s on an internal server firewall logs won’t show who but Exchange SMTP logs will get a little closer. Your spam & virus firewall may let you define a little more granular logging of outbound mail without logging actual emails.

          Hope this is more helpful than some of the other blather spewed here.

        • #3183171


          by m_sauga100 ·

          In reply to Soap box or answer

          The original quesion was a technical question. It deserves a technical answer. Who is anyone here to judge the reason or merit of the gentlemans’s reason. I personally have monitored employee’s surfing habits – and have used the internet logs as one of the reasons why I dismissed them.

          In one case I had a salaried employee surf the net the ENTIRE DAY. There is a word for this I call it THEFT! I dont want to employee thieves and the employee was fired.

          I am gratefull that my infratstucture had a logging feature.

          I simply used the outbound log in my linksys router and parsed it using an access database. I regularly warn employees that misuse the internet.

      • #3184339

        Management Styles?

        by dphopkins ·

        In reply to When did you get your management training?

        The question was not “How do I manage the people in my office?” The question was what tools were available to see how much time employees were spending on computer resources.

        Citing outside problems such as commuting time (move closer to work), day care, and scheduling as a work problem is outrageous. No one is hired with the expectation that they will get their work done as long as their spouse doesn’t have anything going on that week.

        Health impacts? Divorce is not a problem at/for work, that was a personal decision that was made. Raising children with little parental contact: that is a HUGE problem these days but that is a problem of the parent and decisions he/she makes rather than a supervisor (boss makes you stay late every night – switch jobs and get one closer to home!). Bad diet: learn to cook quick, healthy meals. Don’t have time? This goes back to MOVE CLOSER TO WORK or switch jobs – while inconvenient at first it is a completely viable option. Won’t make as much money? Well – as you have just proven: money isn’t everything. Happiness should come first.

        You shouldn’t criticize his question based upon your beliefs of what he is looking for and all the underlying meaning you are reading into it. You should concentrate on Manage by Helping Others: get your hands dirty and offer some assistance to person, don’t try to point out your perceived inequities in him/her just to give yourself a feeling of better self-worth.

      • #3184247

        Good suggestions

        by komputec ·

        In reply to When did you get your management training?

        Well Said.


      • #3184193

        RE: When did you get your management training?

        by symon.michael ·

        In reply to When did you get your management training?

        So the truth is, you can’t really answer the original question. With all your experience, you cannot suggest any software that might be helpful.



      • #3184160

        That is a little strong…..

        by hebbeson ·

        In reply to When did you get your management training?

        It sounds like the original poster in this subject was looking for some kind of monitoring tool to generally gauge online time versus productivity time. Since the machines the employees are using are probably considered company property, technically, anything they do can be scrutinized by management at will.
        There are many login scripts that one can get that will allow automatic time synching and logging from the workstation to the server and track by user profile.
        If the employee has a problem with being monitored, then that employer might want to re-examine their ‘Acceptable Use Policy’ portion of the manual and make sure the employees sign it and knows what they are signing. Management has the authority to check any computer at any time, since they are the owners of the property anyway.
        It is not a ‘big brother’ type thing at all, and frankly, those that have a problem with it are possibly suggesting that they have something to hide….
        If there is cause to examine a user’s work habits, this should certainly be a tool for doing so.

        • #3183254

          Take out the Humans…

          by steve_it ·

          In reply to That is a little strong…..

          Another approach is to advertise that you will be monitoring the system for audit/bandwidth reason. People will know that they are identifiable, but you have not said you are monitoring them, just the systems they are using.

      • #3183316

        Reply To: Unobtrusive employee monitoring

        by jmschattke9 ·

        In reply to When did you get your management training?

        Um, hello!!!???

        What side of the world are you living in, because it sure as heck isn’t reality.

        A single lawsuit for sexual harrassment can break a small company, or seriously mess the bottom line of a mid-sized. Tracking internet usage is the only way a company can say “not our responnsibility” and make it stick.

        As for the raw volume, its not about the internet usage, its about having the figures to back you up for a little chat with the employee who has suddenly had his productivity tank.

      • #3182706

        get a grip DC…

        by jvstog ·

        In reply to When did you get your management training?

        DC guy evidently lives in Washingtom DC where there is no sense of reality.

        He envisions a utopic society in which everyone does just as they should. I am sorry to inform him that most people barely perform to the level of expectation presented by their management team.

        Managers achieve those expectations by consistent inspection and reinforcment of good performance no matter where the employee physically is located! You seldom get what you expect, you can only hope to get what you inspect. (see the Navy for that quote).

        Don’t get bogged down with that post industrial line. That is psycho babble from an isolated political hack with no real world experience in getting a job done right and on time the FIRST time.

        People DO need guidelines; people DO need to be monitored and they DO need to know that there is a RIGHT and a WRONG way to provide service and work in this ‘post industrial’ age. They also need to know that there are consequences for WRONG behaviors.

        So Flannigan, I don’t know what type of monitoring software is out there, but keep looking because you do NEED the security it brings and the deterence factor it offers.

        Do not be deterred by overeducated, underemployed and incoherent people like DCguy. He lives in a world all his own while you and I must live and work in the one everyone else lives in.

        Large words and fancy sentence structures are no match for good employees with good managers.

      • #3182596

        Use the monitoring Tool as a “Tool”

        by majorhelpdesk ·

        In reply to When did you get your management training?

        Most modern businesses, IT business included, use some form of monitoring system for tracking time and attendance. Time clocks, badge card readers, or using PC login data to track when employees come and go. The use of an internet and/or application monitor should be considered another tool to manage employees. If you see an indication that an employee is late for work or leaves early and you need supporting data to deal with them, such monitoring tools can give you a good indication of their productivity in general. What do they use their PC for while at work? How many hours per week are they surfing, where are they surfing? This information can be a usefull tool in dealing with employees who are abusing the system, or lack of controls, which ever the case may be. Don’t think of it as spying because it should only be used to confirm what you probably should know about your good and bad employees and also give you the data to support managements decisions…Oh, and don’t forget to let everyone know you have such a system and how it is used within the business.

      • #3189857


        by vltiii ·

        In reply to When did you get your management training?

        Very succincty put… this philosophy should be required study material in all management courses.

      • #3049543

        Not so brilliant DC Guy

        by papawhiskey ·

        In reply to When did you get your management training?

        Okay DC Guy, here’s a no-brainer. If an employee is a hacker (or more appropriately, a cracker), it doesn’t take much time to do some damage in the technology age. If sensitive information exists somewhere on the network, no matter how secure, it is still vulnerable. Sure, we have intrusion detection tools, but there is no such thing as a secure network. To make a network more secure, costs more money, and some company’s don’t want to, or can’t invest in that sort of infrastructure. Productivity rather than security appears to be the compelling reason to monitor in this particular case, but security is always a concern in any company, when you have personal information stored somewhere. Consequently, your no-brainer management style is not perfect, and should be used in conjunction with monitoring tools.

        Remember what President Reagen told Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987?

        doveryay, no proveryay……trust but verify

    • #3187846

      High Level Tool

      by robaaa24 ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Take a look at Allot communications traffic tools. They may have the tyep reports you’re interested in.

      • #3183253


        by steve_it ·

        In reply to High Level Tool

        Am I the only one who got a giggle out of the title of this post?

    • #3172644

      Software Asset Management

      by russell.sivyer ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      It may be a bit more functionality than you require, but certain software asset mgmt tools should give you the results you’re looking for – like the one I work for!!!

    • #3172640

      Have them inform you.

      by stdreamer ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      In most of the companies I have worked (developer) there is a CRM package which is used by the personel to login how they spend their work day. Each task completed must be logged in along with the time it took, a description of the problem, the solution presented, the customer, the product and a number of other informations which are specific to every company.

      This has been presented to us as a knowledge base which we coold use to ask questions for common problems and situations.

      It is used primarly for time schedule control by the company but we do get some value out of it as well so we can’t complain really we just don’t like the extra work required by us to keep this base up to day.

    • #3172639

      Be aware of the legalities

      by gadgetgirl ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      It’s a minefield out there. I don’t know where you’re from, but here in the UK, we have strict laws on the type, amount and justification for monitoring.

      We have to get by such laws as the RIPA Act, Human Rights, EU Privacy & Monitoring Directives, and a whole raft of employment laws.

      Because of this, most UK firms have a statement build in to the Terms and Conditions of Employment to state that we WILL retain and preserve the right to monitor all internet usage, howsoever used, by all members of staff.

      Doing monitoring without their knowledge (or implied knowledge) is classed here as a covert operation, which brings yet more laws into the fray. Not the least of which is the above EU one, which states that unless justification is sufficiently proven, we can not, under any circumstances, look in a folder which the member of staff has denoted as “Private” or “Personal” in his/her documents.

      As I said, it’s a minefield. Having worked on this type of thing (specifically) for around 7 years, I do know a few legal work arounds, but evidence collection per se must be kept to the letter of the law.

      I agree with the others who have posted – tell them what you’re doing, but not why. That at least gives them a chance to clean up their acts before you start the real work.

      oh – and just be careful if you’re dealing with consultants. Their terms and conditions can vary widely when it comes to the law.

      Hope this helps


    • #3172638

      Stellar Internet Monitoring

      by compliance dude ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      This solution helped our company a ton, has very unobtrusive reporting and alerting. Monitors url’s and IM and gives very robust reporting. From what I understand they are coming out with e-mail as well. Our representitive was Matt Carey. I suggest you give them a call.

      • #3184320

        whining NON answers

        by Anonymous ·

        In reply to Stellar Internet Monitoring

        Amazingly most replies were to chastise for a perceived poor management outlook, ignoring threats to network security and resorces needed to repair machines due to improper internet usage. Having just rebuilt 3 pcs due to spyware I can understand the need when we live in a non-utopian world where it only takes ONE poor emplyee to wreak havoc on your network. Sorry that I have no REAL answer to your question but I have found good resources from the FEW that actually answered the question asked!

    • #3172613

      40 hours ;-}

      by mwrmwr ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      my 3 cents:
      For assessing resource requirements, peaks and blatent abuse of resources – this is a worthwhile exercise IMHO, so go ahead and then proceed cautiously [legal and resource-wise as indicated in other postings] on follow-up actions when info gathered.

      on the otherhand…
      Seems like you are being dumped in the firing zone by your boss; adopt appropriate sloping shoulder techniques when informing [you MUST inform end users] that metrics are being gathered.

      Expect the automation of <> to be a high priority development – hey, why not register a cost-code for the activity ;-} to please the damn fool accountant brain that spaked this off. When I started work [’72] I was not impressed by the “jacket on the back of the chair” and “walk round carrying a piece of paper” techniques of the entrenched staff, and I wouldn’t be impressed by the CPU or network access patterns of anyone. Still, if “hours on-site” and “looking busy” satisfies your masters, more fool them.

    • #3172590

      Monitoring Application Usage

      by dman02151 ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      I work at a large insureance company and we use a tool that monitors all computer usage. The purpose of using this tool is to understand application utilization to help us in making decisions about purchasing new licenses, software upgrades and maintenance. We have saved millions of dollars by using the information to help in negoitations for maintenance and upgrades. It also allows us to move software licenses around to those poeple who need them and lets us avoid purchasing new licenses. You may want to use this reasoning as a way to get your employee’s to “buy in” to the monitoring. Our IT policy states that we do monitor all activity on the network. We do not use the tool to look at content of emails. If you only want to monitor email and Inet usage that should be fairly easy from a server. However to get the whole picture and the detailed information you are asking for you may need a client piece installed. As long as the employees are informed and understand you are trying to save money with the tool they may go along with the idea.

    • #3172573

      You are out of line

      by michael professional ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      The very fact that the employees would riot if they knew what you were doing indicates to me (a manager) that you or someone “over you” is out of line. Management is paid to know what its employees do and that they are working gainfully to meet the objectives set forth my them. You sound like a snoopy techie who didn’t get the job in law enforcement or investigation/intelligence that you wanted.

      I would not want to work with a person like you who feels the need to snoop on other employees when it may be You who is spending way too much time on Ebay or wherever you go on the Web.

      • #3172544

        It would be unwise not to.

        by djameson ·

        In reply to You are out of line

        I recommend implementing a solution without alerting your offices general population. Keep the solution to as few people as you possibly can, to establish a baseline. IT WILL SHOCK AND AMAZE YOU! how much time is being wasted surfing the internet during company time. We implemented a WEBSENSE solution covertly. Then after establishing a baseline told the employees that we were implementing it. They were resentful at first, but when we did the math we were losing ~2 hrs/day/employee times 140 employees at an average of ~$18/hr thats $5000/day in lost time, that doesn’t even count lost productivity. Download the trial version of websense and turn it loose, It will tell you whether you need a permanent installation


        • #3186844

          People perform on what you track.

          by derksens ·

          In reply to It would be unwise not to.

          I have mixed feelings on this topic to be sure. I agree with some of the early posts that tracking “hours” seems very draconian and in fact speaks to a larger problem with staff motivation. If management feels that the consultants are padding the hours, fire a couple and watch the others step up. If you track hours, most anyone can find a way to login to the system in order to provide what you are tracking. You will need more detail to prove or disprove the management theory that there is a problem – so if you do it, you had best do it all the way.

          My strongest suggestion is to figure out why management has cunsultants that are not accountable for a result instead of defending hours. If there is a problem with the results (which there seems to be) get rid of the least productive ones and see what happens. Most people in this era want more from a career than to punch a clock – and our companies often let the good employees down by setting a precedent by allowing the underperformers to thrive, usually demotivating the ones that would really engage if it was really expected.

          Your management team needs to get out of their comfort zones and deal with a little bit of short-term conflict in order to make this better.


        • #3186838

          Yes, people perform on what you track

          by yeoman ·

          In reply to People perform on what you track.

          I have read all the discussion with some amazement and agree with derksens. I found it offensive that one contributor indicated that in a ?3rd world? country this covert monitoring would be necessary. I have worked in three ?3rd world? countries as well as in Australia and NZ and worked with people from Britain and the USA and other (1st world) countries. In my kind of work (IT) I have found that the 3rd world staff worked the hardest, both in terms of hours and application. The worst was in Australia where one worker insisted on taking his monthly ?sickie? (sick day off) regardless of his health. And treated me with derision because I would not emulate him. And he used to log on when he came to work and disappear for hours, so the ?logged on? time was meaningless. The other problem was with consultants who spent the whole day on the telephone making personal calls (I was also a consultant sitting next to them).
          I cannot see how you can get away with covert monitoring, as it is now illegal in many countries and I cannot see what the monitoring will achieve (do you have people who do not log off at night?) Where I worked we had open monitoring. Across the board monitoring of emails and internet access. In one department we wrote our own application monitoring to assess the usage of different business applications.
          As a project manager I would recommend clear definition and estimation of tasks for all, including consultants. Everyone would have a list of what they need to achieve and the estimated time effort. The consultants will submit their estimates and you or your manager assess and agree to or vary the estimates. Put this into some tool like MS Project using a 40-hour week and that tells you what each person is expected to achieve and when. Get each one to complete timesheets as well as submit reports on what they have achieved. Your management should be monitoring the outputs and yes, get rid of those who are not getting the results!

        • #3182787

          I’m happy not working for you

          by kraken_ ·

          In reply to People perform on what you track.

          I’m REALLY happy NOT to work for you. Your type of management seems to be right out of the 19th century. It may apply to some degree to 1st/2nd sector employees (raw materials and manufacturing) but it definitely doesn’t apply to 3rd sector (services). It is a “baseball bat” approach to management and always shows well on paper, but the true cost is often underestimated.

          Low employee’s morale, high absenteism, need for medication or therapy, commitment to the company and finally a qualified employee quitting the job for (possibly) better heavens add an incredible cost to the operations. you have to keep that in mind.

          I’ve worked under the “stick-type” management and under “carrot-type” management, and frankly, both types lack a certain amount of:
          1 – humanity (establishing a BILATERAL TRUST)
          2 – idea of the real costs involved

          I’ve also worked with a formidable person, who really cared for her employer’s benefits (sometimes more than her employer’s himself), and who really cared about her staff. Result: before she got the job, people were rushing out of the company. The company lost a huge lot of very qualified employees. As soon as she got the job, she reestablished trust, checked every employee’s felings (what they did, versus what they wanted to do) did some reafectations and morale grew immediately up, productivity soared, people began coming back instead of leaving, and incredible projects were put on the table sand realized in an incredible short amount of time, with happy, overproductive employees.

          This is just the contrary of your fire-a-few approach. This type of management doesn’t fit in any “durable development” view. Americans (and I mean inhabitants of the American continent) usually focus too much on the short-term, whereas europeans focus more on mid-term, and Japan (well in some parts of Asia) focus on long term.

          Being long-term focused is a good approach, but as I said earlier, it’s still better to keep a global view; short-term, mid-term and long term. This way you’re flexible (short-term) but well organized and have a clear goal (long term), and you take a step-by-step approach to get there (mid-term).

          My 2 cents

        • #3179922

          One of the problems is using time as a measure

          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to It would be unwise not to.

          of employee performance.

          Some people work faster than others. Are you paying the faster employee more per hour than the slower one? Assuming you’re not, if one employee gets done a half-hour before the others, why does it matter if they spend a half-hour surfing the web, or talking on the phone, or whatever?

        • #3184481

          Fully agree.

          by kraken_ ·

          In reply to One of the problems is using time as a measure

          I fully agree with you. Time is relevant only if there’s a constant between employees. A blowtorch cuts 1-inch steel at a determined speed, so an employee can’t rush the job. We are working in a domain where every person has different interests, different forces and different capabilities.

          So, I may be faster at programming a bash-script than someone else, or I may be slower at administering an Exchange server than others. Interests and personnal knowledge has to be taken into account when evaluating an employee’s “productivity”. Sometimes it’s the manager’s “productivity” (or lack of) that could be in the way of a particular employee.

      • #3184482

        Responsible Usage and SurfControl

        by cq_west ·

        In reply to You are out of line

        Most companies require their employees to sign an acceptable use document of some kind before allowing them access to a workstation. Many times, the document points out that it is the right of the company to evaluate and plan for better usage of any of their assets, including internet browsing. As a manager, you should know that personal browsing on company time costs the company money, not the employee.

        Several organizations I work for use SurfControl Web and Email filtering software to simply evaluate how much time is being spent on the internet. There are some employees who’s job requires them to use the internet almost exclusively, and you can filter out their “job related” internet activity from their “personal related” internet activity. The other nice thing is that the software monitors all internet traffic transparently without any software installed on the client workstations. The firm I work for has been using this software for several years now and we have found it to be some of the best for both general monitoring/blocking and for detailed reporting (when needed).

      • #3184475

        What you hiding?

        by paul ·

        In reply to You are out of line

        If you have nothing to hide and do your work as per pay, why get all excited about monitoring. You are monitored anyway. In many places you don’t even suspect. It all comes down to common decency and work ethics. Besides the guy didn?t ask for your comment, he asked for help. If you can?t help keep silent.

        • #3184173

          keep silient?

          by capt.brad ·

          In reply to What you hiding?

          I believe the sheer number of posts to this thread is a help. It should provide wflanagan some feedback to show his boss that this idea is a non-starter. Hiding is not the issue, measuring meaningful contribution is!

      • #3184462

        out of line….dont think so

        by glenp5 ·

        In reply to You are out of line

        There are times you have to resort to “spying on your employees” . If they are using company equipment for personal use and not being productive and the only way you can prove that it is through the use of some type of monitoring software so be it . I am responsible for 15 people and as long as we achieve our goals and meet all of our deadlines then we can “play”.

    • #3186825


      by djameson ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring


      • #3184432

        I agree with WebSense

        by keith.desilva ·

        In reply to WEBSENSE

        We use Websense and not only can you report on usage but block unappropriate sites from the general user. This will remove the temptation from people, if you can’t see how your team did last night you won’t try and continue working.
        I am not 100% in agreement with Timesheets, the issue with timesheets is that anyone can put anything down and present it to you. I worked 4 hours on a project but little results. It is hard to track people’s time unless you are watching them the whole time, as commented before you should not have to watch people if the work that they produce is on time and of quality. If these slip then by all means you should watch them more closely.

        • #3182504

          Websense can be bad as well

          by carnahan ·

          In reply to I agree with WebSense

          I an the Network Administrator in one of the most conservative businesses in the country, banking. I am responsible for maintaining Websense. Upper Management has instructed me to lock down the internet entirely and only open up sites that the employees need to get their job done. This translates into about 1-8 hours each week of my time to maintain the program that I could be spending on more important things. This doesn’t even take into account reviewing the logs every day. That is done by both the IT Manager and myself so there goes 2-3 hours a week for each of us.

          Don’t get me wrong, the program is wonderful if you use it as intended. Block sites based on the content. This will not block all sites in the catagory because you are relying on the “black list” that Websense creates/updates.

      • #3184233

        Expensive but it works….

        by heinrichmarco ·

        In reply to WEBSENSE

        We have implement Websence for policy assurance not for monitoring people in cunjuction with a cache engine and works really good even at branch locations.

        Obviously only HR and IS manager can see the logs.

      • #3183357

        Websense is great

        by rbarnhardt ·

        In reply to WEBSENSE

        We started using Websense in December of last year and love it. It is easy to set up, and can just block unwanted subject matter. We decided not to go to the trouble of logging since we could just block the sites. You can do both though.

    • #3186564

      Monitoring Software

      by jasmith ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Buy yourself a laptop and get the software called Little Brother. Set a switch port to monitor your telco port that your t1 is plugged into. You will capture everything coming across. You can set filters to ignore your inhouse trusted site. This really works. Have documented acces to porn sites and the staff just resigned. It captures on IP adress so if you are DHCP, you need to have other monitoring or recording methods to not falsely track an ip to a user. Need to record MAC info as well. It is not cheap but does the job. Also, put the responsibility for this in you security officer ot chief lan administrator. Cuts down the flack in a grievance.

      • #3183466

        I have used this…

        by ungle ·

        In reply to Monitoring Software

        …and while not liking the name (should be big brother 😀 ) can agree with jasmith. I found it to be very effective.

        Ignore the people berating you. The bandwidth AND the time is owned by the employer, and, just like employers will tell you email is owned by the company, so is internet usage.

        Trust aside, some employees simply need monitoring.

      • #3184831

        Cheap Solution if you have ISA

        by richard.dougherty ·

        In reply to Monitoring Software

        I don’t know how much you want to spend and I didn’t read every post here, but I use GFI webmonitor. It’s free and works pretty good. It tracks user online activity and has a real time monitor for downloads. The best thing is…it’s free.

    • #3186554

      Times of Orwell are here …!

      by adnikauto ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      And what else….Would you like to know what I had for breakfast, what I sheet out and how many times I had sex??? If I know you had install anything like that on my network I would kick your ass… and fire you, not from job but fire you to the MOON!It’s a right place for guys like you!!!
      Adam N. network administrator

      • #3182974


        by firstpeter ·

        In reply to Times of Orwell are here …!

        Before one spouts off about Orwellian Time one should probably make sure one has read Orwell’s writings and understands them.

        There is absolutely nothing Orwellian about the issue on this one. We’re not talking about an invasion of privacy unless you’re going to argue that you have a right to privacy while on the job and at the workplace. If you’re going to walk down that slippery slope that’s probably a different thread (and a short one – you don’t have privacy at work, plain and simple).

        What this poster is looking for is a way to monitor the employees activities. The issue isn’t even the content (although that’s certainly a legit concern, as well) but instead amount of time spent on a particular activity. I struggle to see how this is an out-of-line request. I won’t argue that monitoring is the best approach, but there’s nothing illegal, immoral, or unethical about it at all.

        Orwell, on the other hand, spoke of the government playing “big brother” to the extreme – a complete lack of privacy.

        There is, and should be, a big difference between COMPANIES and THE GOVERNMENT, just as there is a big difference between Orwell’s writings and the poster’s solution.

      • #3182861

        The people who have something to hide…

        by johanv ·

        In reply to Times of Orwell are here …!

        ….tend to complain about being monitored. My suggestion is to implement a solid Internet/E-mail policy and then implement monitoring software that goes right down to who visited which web-site. This would cover any legalities around monitoring (please search the Internet for articles of where companies where held responsible for the actions of staff because no policy existed).
        Further more, if I had to employ staff, I’d expect the maximum productivity out of them and award them accordingly. I work exceptionally long hours, but at the end of the day I also reap the benefits which I plow back into my home life.
        To everyone who exibited the kneejerk reaction and took apart the OP, please realise that business & management is a cut-throat arena and management of IT is a mutli-discipline (legislation, accounts, H.R., business processes, etc.).
        To the OP, depending on what network environment you use, try SurfControl (you can configure it for broad range of reporting or specific areas).

        • #3182789

          So that makes it OK?

          by chaos-x ·

          In reply to The people who have something to hide…

          Because it’s a cut throat arena we should all just sit back and accept it? On the contrary, we should expect business to act as morally as they expect us to be, maybe more so. We all know the bad that can come out of this type of activity and we all know how it’s application is selectively used. Your line of thinking justifies spyware, hey, it’s a cut-throat world out there.

        • #3184405

          Missing the point

          by johanv ·

          In reply to So that makes it OK?

          You are obviously missing the point regarding “Business is cut-throat”. Let’s see how long you stay in business if your staff is unproductive and your business is losing money to a competitor who is actively managing their staff.
          I would like to clarify one very important point, if a business purchases a desktop computer for you to use, does that make the said computer your property? No, indeed it does not. I agree with running a business morally, but in my opinion and experience, you have to be firm at the same time and lay down the groundrules of employment (which may change in time due to changes in markets/processes/technologies).
          And as it seems you need furhter explaining….I do not agree with monitoring without staff not knowing that it takes place, hence my reference to having a policy in place. And hence my opening line, if you feel threatned that your e-mails (property of the business) & internet usage (property of the business) is getting monitored, then my advice would be for you to set up your own business to the idilic standards you seem to think exist.
          Let’s assume the average salary of member of the salesteam is $40 per hour and this person is spending 8 hours each week on the Internet on non-work related browsing. That is $320 a week loss on productivity, whereas a sale of $1000 could potentially be made for each hour spent on the Internet. With performance bonuses & KPI being the norm, staff are a lot more positive if they know they will get a sizeable bonus for actual work instead of not getting any due to loss in company profits, potential layoffs, fines for harassment suites borne out of visiting unacceptable web content.

        • #3184365

          Re: Missing the point

          by chaos-x ·

          In reply to Missing the point

          If your staff is being unproductive there are deeper issues than monitoring their computer usage and until you address those issues the slacking off will only manifest itself in other ways. And one does not need to run a business to be informed. That’s like saying you wouldn’t know if you liked something until you tried. I’ve never cut my hand off with a chain saw, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t enjoy it. Believeing that any policy put in place will only be used for the best intentions and apply equally to all is very idilic. We all know there’s one set of rules for the upper management and another set for the people on the floor. And as for maximizing profits, how much money is going to be spent purchasing software for monitoring usage and how much time will be spent doing it?

          I’ll agree that giving people a reward for good work is a great idea. But trying to squeeze every minute of everyday out of your employees is a bad idea. Treat the problem, not the symptoms.

        • #3184332

          you are the problem

          by unhappyuser ·

          In reply to Re: Missing the point

          It’s employees like you that are the problem. Productivity is at it’s lowest ever yet employee benefits and rewards have been at their highest. Companies are fighting to survive because of the lazy attitude of your generation. Yes there are issues at the top of the business ladder but corrupt unions and lazy employees are at the other end and they are causing just as much fiscal loss and ill will.

        • #3184327

          This is why outsourcing works so well

          by breadtrk ·

          In reply to you are the problem

          Those folks actually work.

        • #3184321

          Thank You

          by johanv ·

          In reply to you are the problem

          You obviously have a global view and do not only concentrate on just one part of the big picture but instead put all the pieces together to see how they all influence the big picture.

        • #3169536

          Lazy, conversations about

          by pav1 ·

          In reply to you are the problem

          I have two neighbors; one just retired from one of our local
          hospitals as a dietician, the other managed workers for a local
          landscaping company. Here is part of the dialogues:

          Hospital: The new grads don’t want to work. They want to arrive,
          get their check and not do anything in between.

          Landscape team manager: I gave up hiring caucasions because
          they don’t want to work…first time it is too hot, they can’t
          believe that they actually have to work outside. They didn’t care
          about working their way up. Finally due to the time and expense
          of training, I just gave up and didn’t consider caucasions for the

          Seems to be a thread going on here. Have we lost our “hungry”

        • #3184328


          by johanv ·

          In reply to Re: Missing the point

          From your response & further comments it would appear to me that you are somebody who sees a barrier between management levels (of which there are incidently three levels in the classical tier business structure) and you are obviously not in a management position and therefore feel threatned by management practises which are being used more and more across the globe. I am truly sorry that you see management in this way and can only summise that you have been a victim of bad management and now view all managerial positions with mistrust.
          As for cost of monitoring software, any project these days should show a ROI (Return on Investment), and monitoring software certainly pays for itself in less than a year depending on the size of the roll-out.
          While you paint a colorful image using the chainsaw analogy, please note that unless you have been in a mid/senior management position, you lack the experience & knowledge to critise managers for implementing business practices that you don’t like. I can’t help but wonder what you would do if one of your co-workers (who spend 2 hours a day on the Internet not working) gets a payrise because management believes he/she is a hard worker and you get no payrise. You will obviously blame management again for not “knowing” what happens in the business, but when measures such as monitoring (which can actively help management see trends) are discussed you also object to those.
          In my opinion (note I said my opinion), I would never employ somebody who rebels against every decision a manager makes. Rebels are what poison the workforce and contributes more to low morale than properly implemented monitoring could ever do.

        • #3184323

          Well SAID!

          by unhappyuser ·

          In reply to Regret

          I have been a manager, been managed (poorly & positively) and know exactly where you are coming from.

        • #3184166

          Don’t make assupmtions

          by chaos-x ·

          In reply to Regret

          You are wrong. I am in a management position and have both the practical and educational experience to know that monitoring is not going to solve productivity problems or help worker morale. I expect more from people in IT than to just jump on a band wagon. You miss the obvious, if you feel the need to use monitoring how is it going to help? You already have a problem with employee morale and this is just going to make it worse.
          Futuremore, you don’t make an argument by attacking the person stating it, that does nothing to prove your point. To that end I won’t spend time defending myself, don’t work for, don’t want to and have no plans to. And why call someone who questions things a rebel? By questioning things you find new and potential better ways of doing things or realize that the best practices are in place. Just as you seem to think that you need to be “in business” to understand the market place. Got news, every person who goes to work, either for themselves or for someone else is in business. You are seeking, or should be seeking, the best compensation that fits your needs.

        • #3184268

          This is not an IT problem

          by timbstoke ·

          In reply to Missing the point

          “There is seldom a good technological solution to a behavioural problem”

          I have no idea where I first heard that, but it’s very true in this kind of situation. Your problem seems to be that the environment of your company/department is such that people feel able to slack of (assuming of course, that this is what happens). I’ve been there – my last job was exactly that kind of environment. There was monitoring in place, but it didn’t make a bit of difference, because the work wasn’t there for people to do anyway, so they just found other things to amuse them.

          My current job is entirely different. There is no monitoring, but a much higher workload. Every person in my department is required to send a handover to the rest of the department at the end of each shift, detailing what they’ve done throughout the day, the progress of all tasks, and any work remaining to be completed on each task. This serves two purposes – those who don’t pull their weight can be picked up very easily, and because we’re a 24/7 shop, colleagues can pick up on unfinished tasks knowing exactly what position they’re in. If there isn’t a lot of work to do, we’ve been told the management has no issues whatsoever with us using the internet or doing personal projects. However, the working environment is such that this doesn’t happen. People have enough work to do, and they get on with it.

          My point is, what you want would be pointless. If your employees are meeting their targets and still have time to relax, find more work or let it slide.

          Besides which, how do you propose to differentiate between 5 hours researching a problem, 5 hours personal browsing, and 5 hours leaving an auto-refresh window in the background while doing other work, if all you’re doing is very high level monitoring?

        • #3183378

          The problem isn’t; documenting it is. . .

          by bkinsey1 ·

          In reply to This is not an IT problem

          You’re right that it’s not IT’s place to motivate, build trust, create a challenging, productive environment, etc. That’s on management. But management needs to know if a problem exists, and gathering the data to determine that may very well be IT’s job.

          Also right about the difficulty of determining that with only high-level monitoring, though. . . .

        • #3183334


          by firstpeter ·

          In reply to This is not an IT problem

          “If your employees are meeting their targets and still have time to relax, find more work or let it slide.”

          Well said – but there’s a problem with the sentence right before it (“My point is, what you want would be pointless.”).

          You can’t effectively manage what you can’t effectively measure. Right now the poster has a problem – management is perceiving (as you pointed out it’s just an assumption at this point) that something is wrong. For them to effectively manage it they need to know if there is a problem at all.

          If they don’t find a way to measure it then they make an assumption, and I think it’s safe to say they would opt to “find more work”. If the folks really aren’t sandbagging and are working their tails off this “find more work” won’t be well received – a lose-lose for the employee-company.

          Alternatively If the decision is made to “let it slide” and in fact they are slacking off then it’s a win-lose for the employee-company (I called it a “win” for the employee since there really isn’t much downside to that. Those that want to take on more and learn will do so of their own accord).

          Perhaps they get lucky and implement the right solution for the problem…that they only guessed actually existed. Management that way still ends up as a loss for the company (guessing is a really bad way to run a business).

          Either way the company comes out on the losing end if they don’t have some measurement that gives them guidance on whether or not a real problem exists. What the poster wants is NOT pointless – it’s a tool to measure time spent.

          To your point about the difference it may be difficult to split out research from other stuff, but it might not be. I don’t believe the poster indicated what the job responsibilities entailed which would ultimately decide whether it made any sense to use the data gleaned. If it doesn’t then you’re right on because you’re back to the “you can’t effectively manage what you can’t EFFECTIVELY measure”, and “effectively measure” includes measuring the right thing accurately.

      • #3182660

        Quite a workplace…

        by bfelts ·

        In reply to Times of Orwell are here …!

        Wow, you have breakfast AND sex at work??! You are in the minority then. Don’t confuse the workplace with your PRIVATE life. You are entitled to draw a sharp distinction between the two. Your work life is fraught with issues like having to provide a return for your compensation. And other issues like a company in the U.S. can get it’s butt kicked in court for NOT having controls and policies in place regarding sexual harassment, threats of physical violence, and the like. Kind of like your “…I would kick your ass… and fire you…” comment. Your lack of professionalism is startling. Does your entire management team work on the premise of physical violence to accomplish corporate goals, or just your IT department?

        Must be quite fun to work there…

    • #3180099

      Unobtrusive Monitoring

      by leonmcnamara ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      We have developed Desktop Auditor as an IT asset management tool. One of our features is software metering where we measure the time an annplcation was open as well as the time that the application was actually in use. eg. start playing sol.exe at 7:30, minimise at 8:00, continue playing at some point for another 30 minutes and close the game at 5:00 – we record that the game was running for 9.5 hrs and was active for 1hr. Our website is

      • #3183068

        USE AD

        by djameson ·

        In reply to Unobtrusive Monitoring

        you can use the software policy in AD and just prevent it. There is no place for games at the office. and it works a little better then most software auditing tools because I can just rename the executable winword.exe and then run it and the software wouldn’t know that I wasn’t running microsoft word, if there is no MD5 hash of the .exe header.

    • #3180068

      Here is a link……..

      by russell.sivyer ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Here is a link to a whitepaper from Monactive about their software asset management tool that does pretty much what’s being asked for, not just web monitoring but all applications, and more…..\’monactive\’

      or click on other articles under the asset management heading.

    • #3180063

      Arkoon Firewall

      by salvatore.perricone ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Arkoon Network Security ( is a French Company with a security solution that have a very friendly Reporting tool of activity.

    • #3180055


      by paul.beaudoin ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Secret monitoring is immoral if not illegal. If what you want is legitimate, be open, explain the purpose (and what it won’t be used for). If you can’t do this openly, perhaps you should consider if you should be doing it at all. Business has a legitimate concern on what the people they are paying for are actually doing however, doing this surreptitiously sows mistrust and rebellion.

      • #3182997

        You’ve got to be kidding!

        by darinhamer ·

        In reply to Spying?

        I agree that this isn’t the best way to lead people, but you can’t be serious. These people are paid for their time and are using company equipment. It isn’t secretly spying. It is monitoring. Anyone who has a job should understand that an employer has a right to monitor employees’ activity and use of equipment. They aren’t living in reality if they see it as spying.

        • #3189192

          Monitoring or Spying

          by kshaurette ·

          In reply to You’ve got to be kidding!

          If employees are using company equipment legal precedent supports that this is not spying nor invasion of privacy, however I would be sure you have a policy that outlines monitoring is approved and that employees have not come because of other corporeate culture, statements by executive, hr etc.. to expect privacy in their use of company equipment.

          I also don’t believe you can get much accurate information without something installed at the workstation level unless you are only looking for some very specific statistics such as use of the Web, the something like a Websense or other similar tool with that kind of reporting capability will work.

          If you truly need to monitor to compliance there are very very few robust and adequate solutions to do that.

          There is a product that is the best solution that I’ve seen in my 20 years in secuirty that meets this on a commercial basis without all the mystery and sneeking around. Doing monitoring should be done up front and not in some black magic/hidene way.

          The ELEVATOR SPEECH that I would make is as follows:

          Proof of control over your network sometimes means an organization must track employee?s personal computer usage. An unpleasant, undesirable and time consuming task with potentially negative repercussions for the company.. The proper solution can automate the process, helps protect employee?s privacy and their dignity while protecting the company assets. It can help meet compliance requirements for monitoring and auditing activity against Corporate data without the heavy administrative burden or any application modifications.

          Contact me for more information on the solution if you are interested in knowing more:

      • #3182812

        Why do it in secret?

        by bob_steel ·

        In reply to Spying?

        In my company usage of the internet (including
        email) for private use is forbidden. Everything
        is logged and monitored (as the law requires).

        We provide an unmonitored ‘cybercafe’ facility
        that can be used during breaks and before and
        after work by any employee.

        I can’t say I’ve ever had a single complaint or
        comment about our policy in over 5 years.


        • #3190919

          No Secrets!

          by vltiii ·

          In reply to Why do it in secret?

          Im my place of employment it is written into our user agreement that everyone must sign-that is it ok to do personal business using company resources as long as it doesn’t impact network performance (This is a very broad statement), is not illegal, work performance is not impacted, and the user is not running their own business using the companies resources. There is monitoring here and everything gets logged. Anyone that runs afoul of the policy does so at their own peril. I consider this to be a very liberal policy so a user would have to be extremely foolish to go outside of the boundaries.

    • #3179977


      by avid ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      sounds like a witch hunt to me. if you are trying to be sneeky about what you are doing, then you will make your workers think that there is a witch hunt going on and that you are immune from the hunt. this will create problems. they will begin to see you as the enemy. if you simply tell them a new policy has been implemented they will be more likely to understand. sure, they may not like it, but if you are upfront with them it will be easier on you than if you get caught sneeking around on the network sniffing their usage stats.

      • #3190915


        by vltiii ·

        In reply to WITCH HUNT

        And it must makes sense to have a general policy that applies to all users as well as have them sign a user agreement acknowledging that they are aware of the monitoring policy. I think this covers the company from a legal perspective and at the same time gives them carte blanche when they do need to follow up on suspicous activity when needed.

    • #3179939

      Maybe you already have it?

      by jason_mcc ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      If you are merely trying to establish your employees’ start and end times, you should already have the data you need for that – your domain controllers’ security logs. They will contain each users’ login and logout times. Any number of server log analysis tools out there can extract that for you.

      Alternately, install card access in your facility. Easily justified on a physical-access control level, and gives you actual on-site time for each person.

      Of course, neither of these methods tells you how much of that on-site or logged-in time each person wastes..

    • #3182816

      Network monitoring

      by graemedixon ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      We can do this for you, no matter where you are on the planet; we do it every day.
      It’s good responsible management practice for many reasons – if you don’t manage your network, if you don’t know what’s going on, before you know it the network will start managing you!
      Check out
      Contact me at

      Cheers – Graeme

    • #3182815

      The right to monitor

      by tpernas ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Given that we as Americans have the right to expect a reasonable amount of privacy (thanks to the 4th amendment), you don’t have the right to monitor user’s activity. The exception to this is, if you have a banner that states that users agree to monitoring by signing on to the network. There should also be a written policy supporting your that as “normal course of business”. With this in place your users would have no cause to riot.

      • #3184471


        by dimbulb ·

        In reply to The right to monitor

        I am one of the most liberal people around but you are Wrong. Whoever owns the network, provides you the access to that network, has every right to know what goes on in that network. If you invited me into your home, would you mind if I re-arranged your furniture, knocked down a wall or two???

        • #3184242

          Not Wrong

          by tpernas ·

          In reply to Rights?

          I am absolutely correct and you are incorrect. I work within the legal arena when it comes to network monitoring. Have been doing this for quite some time. Have worked with DOJ and have gotten most of my experience with them. Check out Pen Trap and Trace, Wiretap, and Electronic Data Storage Act. See some of the legal precedences set and then respond to me

        • #3183383

          Not entirely. . .

          by bkinsey1 ·

          In reply to Not Wrong

          Employees have the right to a reasonable expectation of privacy when it comes to using company resources. (i.e. no reading of someone’s personal e-mail) Not a complete right of privacy, notification or not. (As in privacy to visit child porn sites, participate in terrorist chats, whatever.)

          What the original poster actually said, though, was that he wanted to monitor time spent, not content (which I assume means not specific sites visited, either). Being able to tell the employee A was on the web for 4 hours is not even monitoring in the same sense.

          Having said that, it is still pretty much mandatory to have a written policy regarding not only acceptable use, but procedures used to verify that use, triggers for more specific monitoring,actions taken in the event of breach, etc.

        • #3189963


          by kraken_ ·

          In reply to Not entirely. . .

          The fact is, monitoring “time spent on the net” is irrelevant in many jobs today; an accountant might spend a lot of time doing research on federal/state/provincial websites. A consultant spends most of it’s time searching for answers in tech sites (either Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, HP to name a few) or on tech forums. A translator might need to use a terminologic dictionnary ( as a work tool.

          To be of any use, you have to do content monitoring/content filtering, which leads to the uncertain and often misunderstood grounds of the legal terms regarding privacy.

        • #3190904

          Re: Not Wrong

          by vltiii ·

          In reply to Not Wrong

          Working in the legal arena in no way makes you an expert. What exactly does that mean anyway? A janitor at a law firm can claim to work in the legal arena. I still contend that you are wrong about privacy expectations!

      • #3190907

        4th Amendment

        by vltiii ·

        In reply to The right to monitor

        You couldn’t be more wrong. Privacy is not guaranteed absolutely! You are only guaranteed privacy in situations where a reasonable person would expect privacy. Your place of work is not one of those places. In your place of employment you have no right to privacy (with exceptions such as using the restroom) since your employer owns and operates the premises and all of the tools you use to do your job. Your employer has a right to ensure their property is not being misused, especially when it can become a legal liability to the company. This has been upheld by the courts time and time again, and the Sarbanes Oxley Act requires monitoring. It amazes me everytime I hear of someone trying to sue their employer because they got caught doing something they weren’t supposed to be doing and claiming their privacy was violated.

    • #3182809

      web & email monitoring

      by bradley.king ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      You could get an overall view of the web/mail traffic with the added benefits of reducing their exposure to spam, unproductive sites,indecent material & sites,by using Surfcontrol email & web filter products.

    • #3182806

      ISA server

      by torstein ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Microsoft’s ISA Server allows you to monitor web usage by creating reports. With these reports you can see what kind of program that is used to access the Internet and by what computer (name and/or IP adress). This happens on the server, and so the user will not that the Internet behaviour is being logged. However, you should definately inform your employees that there is such a tool running on the server!

    • #3182802


      by mw_azhar ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      You can always use sniffers (SPAN) or protocal analyzers ( cost $$ ). There are many tools available is your friend.

    • #3182800


      by steveadams ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      HI William

      Try NETMASTER from Commsoft ( it worked for our Company!



    • #3182788

      Surf Control

      by vterm-bbd ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      We have used Surf Control for several years and it can give you the high level info you want, it also works as a spam filter.

      • #3184490

        Reply To: Unobtrusive employee monitoring

        by mikestilesky ·

        In reply to Surf Control

        We have been using surf control for 4 years and are very happy with it.

    • #3182786


      by mudgie ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      I believe a good manager owes it to his or her employer to make sure employees are not pi$$ing away valuable company time surfing porno and ebay. Calling this spying is off-base.

      That being said, you do owe it to the employees to inform that internet usage can (and will) be monitored. It should be in the form of an addendum to the employee manual, and should include the same message about email.

      I have been using Surf-Control with my clients. The first weekend of use resulted in a firing – a security guard had a particularly raunchy pornography habit. He was adept in covering his tracks, but SurfControl kept a running log of his surfing. It was all he did, actually. 8 hours of porno every weekend.

      Anyone want to defend him?

    • #3184488

      Auditing is here to stay…

      by praetorpal ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Contrary to the view that one does not have right to monitor employees work due to privacy concerns, Sarbanes-Oxley and other privacy/governance legislation requires monitoring of business processes to ensure accuracy of financial statements. If an access control/auditing product meets thoses needs and can also provide extra performance for forensic use, policy enforcement or whatever, than so be it.

      Trustifier can be set up transparently on any Linux server to provide what you want, or as a black box appliance in any non-linux shop.

    • #3184486

      If you are worried

      by jck ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      about time arrived at work…

      If you’re in a Windows environment, focus on using logs from the client or server aspect. They are a built-in feature of OS.

      If you are going to consider using traffic logging behind their backs, I’d make one suggestion:


      The minute you start logging productive employees (which are probably your majority) and they find out, their morale and productivity will suffer. Even worse…if you start to do it behind their back, they will start to abhor you. They will think you a sneak.

      I can vouch for this. I was a contractor at a multi-state power company writing software for them, and our manager was always writing little emails about “internet use”, “office chit-chat”, etc. to us (staff and contractors), even though we were meeting or beating our deadlines.

      If you have contractors billing for time not in the office, that is one that. That is fraud.

      If they are in the office though and meeting schedules set by management, don’t give them grief or track their “high-traffic” usage. Only track things like adult websites, gambling sites, etc., or anything prohibited by company policy.

    • #3184478

      Websense or Viewpoint

      by david_scott ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Hey William,

      If you happen to have sonicwalls—Viewpoint is an inexpensive solution which will provide reports on mail,internet,vpn,bandwith,etc use.

      If you don’t have Sonicwalls, then I would highly recommend Websense. I evaluated it and its much better than Viewpoint but more expensive. If you have remote sites you have to put a “box” (not a pc or server, its sold through websense) at those sites.

      With either solution there is nothing to install on user’s machines and they won’t know they are being monitored unless you tell them (which you should).

      I’m surprised that people jumped all over you about internet monitoring with all the security concerns these days. I normally use Experts Exchange if you want to try it the 9.95 membership is well worth it


    • #3184474

      At home I use PC_TATTLETALE

      by cfrankel ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      At home I use a product called PC_Tattle tale, it lets you tailor and block content, record keystrokes, instant messageses, take timed screen shots, an record program usage.

      Its perfect, if you want to treat your employees as children use software designed to monitor and protect children.

      Or you can trust your hiring process, include employee profit sharing and give “trusted” associates a stake in the operation.

      • #3184469

        I’m sure as heck glad

        by breadtrk ·

        In reply to At home I use PC_TATTLETALE

        I’m not working with any of you slackers who want to hide behind some false sense of privacy on my company network.

        It is my network, my hardware and I sign the paychecks. You signed an agreement when you were hired that everything you do on my network would be monitored.

        Put a policy in place and enforce it. WEBSENSE

        • #3184311

          10 out of 10

          by johanv ·

          In reply to I’m sure as heck glad

          Brilliant and to the point response!

        • #3189744


          by vltiii ·

          In reply to I’m sure as heck glad

          Unfortunately, too many in this day and age think that it’s ok to do whatever whenever and that there should be no repercussions. Employees are paid in exchange for a service they perform. The employer provides the tools to accomplish assigned task. The employer has more than a right to know whether they’re getting what they pay for or not.

    • #3184464

      Monitoring Works

      by indianacadadmin ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      As with everyone else, this is IMHO…

      We use a corporate version of MSN messenger here. They recently wanted to see how the tool was being used. They had our IT guys pull the logs that are kept and had every line of messages that had been sent since it was implemented. It was pretty embarrassing. My boss had to read through a month’s worth of IM’s before he was sick to his stomach at the tone of most of the conversations. They also track/record our emails, our internet usage and our phone call logs. Knowing this keeps you pretty honest about what you choose to do, if you care about your job or your reputation at all.

      We had abused it pretty badly for a while until they pulled up some specific data to demonstrate to us that it worked and that they knew what was going on. It was given with a silent warning that it would not be tolerated. It had the desired effect. We work now knowing that nothing we do is unobservable.

      Some still choose to continue doing what they were and will have no one else to blame when the axe finally falls.

      I personally have no issue with being monitored. With all of the legalities companies face for allowing porn to circulate within their email circles and such, it only makes sense these days.

      I get paid to work. If I can get the same amount of work done in half the time, then I should do twice the work and expect management to see that and reward it accordingly. If I choose to do half the work just because I can do it quicker than most and still meet the expectations, then I’m a slug and not worthy of drawing a paycheck. That’s as offensible as just walking out of the store without paying for something, if not worse. Stealing is stealing.

      Here, if we try to visit sites that our internet filter has been programmed to reject, it tells us that the site is blocked because it belongs to such and such a category such as mp3/entertainment/online shopping/etc. If we feel we’re being blocked from a site that should be accessible, all we have to do is send our loveable net nazi’s an email and they’ll investigate it. I’ve never yet seen fit to do so. :>)

      In summary, as a worker who is under such an environment, I think knowing that we are being monitored doesn’t foster resentment (except by the ones who would rather get paid for screwing off) and that it is just good business to ensure the tools provided are getting used effectively. I agree with the posts on putting a log in banner up that states clearly that all activity on company resources will be monitored and that violation of corporate policies will be handled in accordance with corporate disciplinary guidelines. That leaves everyone on the same page.

      My supervisor likes to state it this way: “I expect everyone to come to do a decent day’s work. This isn’t meant to be a sweat shop, nor is it a country club. An honest day’s work for an honest wage.” I respect that.

      Again, all IMHO.

    • #3184463

      Positive Suggestions

      by wdoliver ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Many of your respondents have good points in being extremely careful when using the term monitoring. Keep in mind system usage is not a good gage. For example I log on and off my computer throughout the day especially when attending meeting. Computer usage is a poor way of verifying time spent on the job.

      If I hire someone to specifically produce x,y and z then time is not a concern as long as I am not paying for each hour worked. Example: a fix price contract to produce a tool in x months. I do not care how many hours spent since I will only pay x dollars.

      Normally I hire consultants to provide support services and what they produce depends on their labor category and the current organizational priorities. These consultants are hired to provide a maximum of xxx hours and the prime consultant’s company is paid for hours worked. If maximum is reached then additional monies and time has to be renegotiated. In this situation I am concerned if they are actually working the hours they report.

      Now some suggestions. Keep in mind if you put them in effect it needs to be accross the board not just for a certain segament of the organization eg consultants only, department only,… To further protect yourself you should be open about what you are doing.

      [1] First if you do not trust your consultants or staff to accurately report their time I think it is time to think about replacing them.

      [2] Second, hold your managers accountable. Your project, section, …, group managers and leads are suppose to be ‘leading’. They should know who is working when and what they are producing. They should also be signing off on timesheets. The first people I would focus upon is not the consultants or staff but the leaders and managers. After all you are paying them more for these responsiblities. Regardless it is obvilous you have some leadership problems.

      [3] Not good for morale or personnel retention in the IT field, but another try and true method is using time clocks or automatic logs. IRT logs the policy is employees sign in and out, record off site meetings etc… The automatic log should apply a read only date/ time for the entry. These programs usually work off a repository so various reports can be generated.

      [4] Activity Based Costing (ABC). ABC programs have been around for a while so they are mature. Essentially the organizations list activities normally performed for a labor category and organizational element. One of the activities are “other”. Personnel logs onto the ABC program each day and identify the amount of time spent on various activities. To be successful the individuals need to be trained in what each activity entails. Do not forget to add internal meetings, external meetings and my favorite adhoc tasking. Yes, they can fudge this as well as the timesheet; however, they will realize that a comparison can be made. The main benefit is when you do summary reports. If you see that your DBAs are spending 80% of their time installing equipment or programming then it is obvilous you need less DBAs and more system support and programming personnel. You may also find that individuals in your department are spending a lot of time doing another department work. It is a great tool for tracking how much time is spent for different activities.

    • #3184460

      Monitor only the trouble makers

      by opuskrocus ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      In most organizations management knows who is working at substandard levels. Instead of monitoring everyones activities, monitor only the slackers. You can monitor the smtp logs for amount and types of email they send and receive. you can check their temp internet folder for types of sited they access. And as already stated, you can monitor firewall/VPN logs if they access remotely. These things can take little of your time. The allstars don’t need your time. Generally, I use that sort of data only when we are looking for supporting data to terminate a serious offender. Their performance usually speaks for itself.

      • #3184305


        by johanv ·

        In reply to Monitor only the trouble makers

        Should you be taken to an employment tribunal you are likely to lose no matter how poor the ex-staff performed as it may be possible to cry victimisation. I assume you have a policy in place stating that monitoring takes place.

      • #3189730


        by vltiii ·

        In reply to Monitor only the trouble makers

        By monitoring only a select group, you’re setting yoruself up for a harassment suit, and since you’ll have the logs to show that a select few were singled out, it’ll be hard to beat. If you must monitor (and I think all organiztions should), it should be an organization wide policy!

    • #3184459

      We use websense

      by sgregory217 ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      In addition to blocking inappropriate content, this product can provide high level as well as detailed reporting relative to internet activity.

    • #3184449

      Proxy Server & Firewall software

      by mintyboy – it manager ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      In the company I am IT Manager for we use firewall and Email server software and keep logs of who is doing what, this recently proved usefull for a person who was complaining of being over worked and stressed, but was on MSN Messenger most of the day.
      All employees including myself signed our contract of employment in full knowledge that for our industry we have to log all of the emails both in and out and web activity is logged and stored.
      Just my 2p worth.
      A lurker, listener and learner.

      • #3183207


        by meneer r ·

        In reply to Proxy Server & Firewall software

        You are 100% correct, I work as a consultant in the IT portion of a retail company, and on starting here, I had to sign the company’s code of conduct for e-mail and Internet use. Basically, if you want to use the service, you are made aware that it is monitored, and if you refuse to sign it, then you just don’t have the facilities. When I was running the IT department for a marketing company, we had ISA server 2000 in place, which can record a log of what sites were visited at what time by each employee in the office, as well as the total bandwidth requested by a particular employee’s connection. Easy to monitor the employees working vs surfing habits with this method.

    • #3184448

      Internet policy

      by jerman ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      You need to first set a policy outlining clearly what is acceptable and what is not acceptable online behavior. Then, instead of skulking in the background, announce that you will be implementing an internet filter such as Websense or Surf Control or somesuch. Them block sites your management team finds not-work related, such as porn or gambling. It’s much better to be up-front in your methods rather than putting people on double-secret probation, and settin them up to inadvertantly break rules.

      • #3184437

        superstars have cloaks anyway

        by randrews@tropicnetworks ·

        In reply to Internet policy

        A tech company I was once involved with decided to secretly monitor network activity. The superstars just set up ssh tunnels to their own external servers and kept a constant amount of data going across the tunnels – hence no statistically significant data.
        Management did not get the point – (its just plain wrong to covertly monitor people) the superstars went else where and the company folded.

    • #3184435

      Start with a proxy server

      by deway2 ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Well actually you want to have a signed Internet/Network use agreement. Keep it general to cover just about anything. With a proxy server in place there are many options available. I am currently using Spectorsoft CNE, it does not require a proxy server but does install on the clients machine. Unless the individuals were monitoring ports they would not see it, but with personal firewalls, etc… who knows. We use the software to track web usage in an event of a performance problem and also to archive email. We are not required by Sarbanes-Oaxley yet, but better to be proactive than reactive. This software will record laptop user on or off the network, it will also take screen snapshots, record keystrokes, file copys to disk, etc… This is probaly not the solution your looking for but may be a solution if you do not wish to use a proxy server.

    • #3184434


      by lee.sleeper ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      We implemented an Internet filtering/traffic management device by Lightspeed. One of the upsides to it is the ability to look at all traffic by IP, port, user, etc. It is transparent to the user, server-based, and gives me the data I need to see what is happening on my network.

    • #3184431

      Vericept Solution-Info Leaks, Preventive Security

      by macint2002 ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      This solution can provide url filtering and additionally traps and graphs emails, chat, ftp, telnet (both sides) by defined/self-defined categories. As with any log/report system has to be reviewed meaning time will be spent to hone and properly use the system for targeted areas of concern. A reseller should be able to give you a free trial. This is not a time clock device, but monitors compliance with corporate directives which should be the main focus. Some web blockers allow time of use (ie., lunchtime) for employees classified as no-need during business hours. Note: I did have a chuckle when the help desk recieved a call as someones on-line banking would not work to pay their bills when first implemented. As with any solution you are researching find at least three products meeting your needs (within present and future budgets) and evaluate them. Do recommend you give this one at least a look.

    • #3184429

      Punch a time clock

      by cadman53114 ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      I work for an automation machine manufacturer. We are a small company. All the employees here, hourly and salary physically punch a time card when they enter the building and leave the building. At first, being on salary I was offended by this. But I came to realize that I benefit from this as does the company. First, they know when I arrive and when I leave. Which means when I bill hours to a project I am working on and I put down 2 hours for purchasing, 3 hours for design work, 5 hours for detailing, they cannot come back and say did you really do that? They have the time clock as proof that I was physically here for at least eight hours, usually it is more like 9-10 with 8 hours of actual work. But the time card reflects when I am physically in the building. It sounds like you have contract employees who are billing for hours worked when they are not actually there. If they are telecommunting, they must have to log into your server to access data on the network. There must be some log which shows when they logged in, and logged out.

      I know the time card thing is kind of primative and yes, some will be offended at first. But if you tell them in as a group, that management is questioning the time billed versus the time worked, the time card shows management when they are there, and when they are not. With the time card they will not have to worry about management saying “we are not paying for 1/2 of the time you bill because we feel you are not really working.” Maybe find some electronic time card where they just punch in an employee code when they enter and when they leave. Then you can use that software. Perhaps you put a keypad on the only door they can leave or enter from which will not open without their pass code. There are time recording tools in simple programs like QuickBooks, which has a simple timer file, you enter your name, a billing code for the project, a project number, click start and it keeps track of the time right on their computer. Granted, they can start the time and walk away for two hours, or surf the net for an hour. But at least there is a record of time, not just their word.

      It also comes down to how much does management trust the contract workers. I have worked doing contract environments. I have seen first hand how people bill for time when I KNOW they were not even in the building for three of the five days they are billing for.

      Good luck.

    • #3184426

      A different approach

      by rknrlkid ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      I work at a school with many individuals who have schedules like you are talking about. The solution the school has come up with has nothing to do with computers, but with tracking. They developed a “Time and Effort” form that enables the management to visually see what the employee is up to. The employee fills it out and submits it at the end of the month. If you would like a copy to look at, send me an email.

    • #3184425

      Enterprise Threat Shield

      by michael.techrepublic ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      If you are looking at monitoring active browsing sessions then this product (From SurfControl) has a BrowseWatch feature (among others) that would do the trick. NO client to install and totally transparant to the end user.

    • #3184423

      Internet Policy and monitoring

      by lcoone ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      If your general Information Security policies include a statement that the organization reserves the right to monitor all systems access, including Internet usage, then you provide a means to gather and analyze the traffic. If you choose to use this information to drive behavior, that’s your decision. If you use some sort of proxy or firewall, look at Cyfin Reporter from WaveCrest Computing. You may find the level of information you seek in one of the reports.

    • #3184421

      You can’t make them

      by shraven ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      We’ve all had these concerns with employees. Let’s face it, you can’t make them work unless you’re willing to provide one on one monitoring. You could have every control and monitoring system in the world, but what are you going to do if an employee spends all day just staring into space?
      Try a simple forced log off: 30 mins of inactivity logs them off. Then monitor login attempts.
      You should be focusing on whether they are getting their job done. Hours spent don’t matter if the work isn’t being done. If the employees aren’t meeting deadlines either they aren’t working and montoring is the least of your problems… or the management expectations are unrealistic and you’ve got an even bigger problem.

      We’ve done various monitoring schemes and we’ve tracked phone usage mins, entry card scans etc. In the end even though we had evidence, it didn’t help productivity. Any good manager knows without these tools whether their employees are working or not and evidence from these tools doesn’t help justify your complaint even in court ((at lease in Michigan, USA.)
      What will result is a great deal of stress for you as you attempt to monitor activity and bring the hammer down on slackers. Trust me, I’ve been there and the only fix was to let the employee go and hire a replacement. (Who turned out to be excellent and all my “issues” vanished!)

    • #3184393


      by kawa.baha ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Hi William,

      I have read what you are really looking for and the tool that i am using for getting an everyday report of our internet users is an excellent. If you are in a Domain Environement you better use WebMarshal and MailMarshal in your Proxy Server and you can visit this website if you want to install a trial version of any these softwares.
      If i can be of any help dont hasitate to contact me at any possible time.


      Kawa Baha

    • #3184390

      Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      by spiket ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Our IT department has just implemented Surf Control Web filter ( it is a very powerful product that provides monitoring and blocking capability. The reports are extremely flexible. I would recomend Surf Control without hesistation!

    • #3184389


      by unhappyuser ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Websense does seem to be the package that sticks out. There is probably no one package that will fit perfectly but I believe it will do the trick.

      This part is my standing on the podium. I usually don’t do this but am tired of hearing the whiners.

      I can just about tell a respondent?s age by their “political” response to you question. Not only did they not give you an answer but they also spewed out political rhetoric that shows their true mentality (spelling was a big indication too). The offspring of the Baby Boomer Generation have been brainwashed into thinking that they get to make all the rules and dang the rest of us. Considering their intelligence quotient in comparison to other generations they are, by far, the least intelligent generation so far. I see it in their work ethic whether it is government or business (big or small). With this generation, the “few bad apples” have become almost the whole basket. Businesses are responding the way they are because employee theft is at an all time high along with staff receiving training and immediately leaving for another job. If an employee’s pc gets infected with malware and it causes the company money, who’s responsible? The employee would say the company is because they didn’t have the appropriate software installed. The software asked about in this discussion falls under that category.

      Instead of always being mistrustful and making do by putting in the minimal amount perhaps this next generation can be more like their grandparents (America?s Greatest Generation)? They grew up with nothing and still put their kids through college so they could have a better life. What did that generation do? The ?ME? Generation (Baby Boomers) became the most decadent and self-serving group of Americans ever and has taught their kids even less (good).

      I could go on but I won?t. Look inside yourselves young Jedi?s and see what?s really important in life and follow the path that will truly make a difference. MAKE something of yourself, DON?T EXPECT IT!

    • #3184373

      Use event viewer

      by albin.moroz ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Use event viewer for remote computer. Set up profile using Mircrosoft Management console. It can then be viewed using control O.

    • #3184366

      monitor network NOT employees

      by plumley9 ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Two part solution – ethereal, LanHound, Sniffer to monitor network traffic. Do not need packet level analysis. You need network statistics on what traffic, what ports, what addresses. Then you can tune your fetwork filter/firewall to block traffic the management deems inappropriate. Then if the users complain they can talk to management about why they need grokster, bit torrent, the latest news from ‘DanniLive’. You have not infringed on the individual users. You have proactively protected the workspace. P.S. if you have never done this before, you will be shocked by the systems currently compromised and acting as spambot.

    • #3184362

      GlobeServer/FW is the tool for you.

      by hubbard ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      William, I sell a product called GlobeServer/FW that is an Internet access and email management control system with a builtin firewall. You can get daily, weekly, and monthly usage report totals for everyone and for each user. Reports include number of connects, time connected, and Mb’s of transfer. It also includes number of emails, the bytes used, inbox size and when email was last checked. If you want more detail on Internet usage you can setup transaction tracking that gives full details of surfing habits of users. This products also has a front end firewall, easy setup of users and email addresses, works with almost any email program and has webmail, can be used to setup secure VPN connections with remote offices, and even has maillist capabilities. There is an option for site blocking and for email virus checking. It is quite a powerful software tool at a reasonable price. You can get information on our web site, or call me at 865-483-4373.

    • #3184358

      Sonicwall Viewpoint

      by kenep ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      We use sonicwall here as our firewall, and there is a software called viewpoint that you can use that monitors the top sites that are visited per user, web usage, etc. The new version even has a ROI (return on investment) category. It is very unobtrusive.
      We got this software because we were going over our usage limit with our ISP. We needed to know why.

    • #3184336

      be open about this

      by tomaaa19 ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      You should be able to monitor log on and log off times via the servers. Do a general monitoring of total web, email and other activity and publish the gross numbers for all to see, for instance xx hours on ebay, yy hours on email zz hours on XXX sites

      This should be preceded by notification of what you are doing. Most people will be careful automatically upon being notified of this tracking
      the truly egregious abusers may staighten up those that don’t can be isolated and dealt with

    • #3184283

      Montor Traffic flows on router

      by davecut ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Linux make a product called flow tools (netflow) it can be configured to take net flows from cisco devices and you can then monitor ports and ip addresses
      it will require work to learn it and get it configured it is not an appliance. but it will make a nice security tool

    • #3184254

      Be up front first!

      by willmage ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      We implemented a proxy server (Microsoft ISA) in our shop a couple of months back and cut our internet usage by over half. Before setting up the proxy server though, we issued a memo to all staff members reminding them that internet and e-mail usage is subject to monitoring. After setting up the proxy server and printing a few days worth of reports, the 2 or 3 worse abusers were brought in and shown the logs of their internet usage and asked to explain that usage. A simple ‘slap on the wrist’ was then given to each, along with a another reminder of acceptable usage. It took no time at all for this to get around to everyone in the company and now we don’t even look at the logs except in cases were someone’s productivity seems to drop.
      The most important thing to remember though, is that you have to be proactive. Make sure you have a company policy about acceptable usage and that ALL network users are monitored. Even my (the network administrator/systems administrator) usage and all of management’s usage is logged and that log is available to management/HR for viewing. Make sure everyone is aware that this monitoring can occur BEFORE you start monitoring. This will avoid the riots that you stated would occur and keep the resentment to a minimum. As others have said, if you present this as a company policy BEFORE you do it, you are no longer spying on any employee/contractor but are maintaining a healthy company network/system.

    • #3184234


      by crake ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Work ethics and management styles notwithstanding, you have several options to accomplish your goal of monitoring Internet/user traffic.

      There are appliances from Cymphonix ( that you can scale to meet your needs.

      In fact, most options will require you to scale back the detail you require.

      There is also software from SurfControl ( We use this software at my workplace. It is highly effective and easy to manage, although it does need to reside on a server for best performance.

      There is also Astaro’s Content Filter (
      I built and tested this Linux firewall at home (trial version) and I must say I am impressed with it… but that’s just my opinion.

      You could even build a *nix firewall on a PC, drop a monitor/filter in it (Nagios, Squidguard, Dan’s Guardian, Webalizer) and add bridge it to your primary gateway. If bridging is not an option, you can drop it in as a border management device.

      Those are just a few options. There are over a hundred different ways to get this done.

      Just my two cents about the ethics and management style – yes, from a company perspective, time spent not producing is time wasted. Unfortunately, tools like these have become necessary because, as a manager, you need to have some sort of documentation to prove your point should a disgruntled ex-employee decide they were unfairly “let go” or discriminated against.

      I’ve been through it, and having documentation in my hands to prove my point basically saved my ass.

    • #3184219

      No such thing as Unobtrusive Monitoring

      by andeanderson ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Especially when you are talking about technologically savvy people.

      Unless the company has a policy stating that computer usage will be monitored and that all “employees” must be “on-site” and productive for a minimum of 40 hours per week, then you are treading some very dangerous territory.

      Also, are these people actual company “employees” or “consultants”? There is a world of difference in how you can treat the two different categories. If they are “consultants” and the company starts to place such requirements on them, then they are no longer “consultants” and are then considered to be “employees”. Then your company is required to provide them with all of the benefits and protections required by law for compensation, such as overtime and medical benefits.

      If they are actually “consultants” your company can request they provide them with a record of the time they have spent on their specific projects and their progress at a time interval you specify. You will also need some sort of written agreement or contract spelling out what their required actions are to be and what is considered as acceptable by your company.

      At any rate; to just start recording computer usage without notification of such a policy opens the door for personal, against you because you are the one doing it, and coporate liability lawsuits.

      Been there and done that both as a “consultant” and “employee”.


    • #3184175

      A riot? Who’s running the company?

      by ramills1 ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Who provides and pays for the internet connection the employees use for work? The employees or the company? Do you have an acceptable use policy?
      If not, you need one.
      If you’ve got employees that would “riot” if they thought someone was actaully checking for unacceptable web usage, I think you’ve got a bigger problem than you think.
      If it’s your company, you can put any kind of monitoring tools you want on it. If they don’t like it, they can choose to be employed elsewhere.

      • #3184156

        Arrogant Tech…

        by ·

        In reply to A riot? Who’s running the company?

        This guy is just like I desribed. He is a tech in IT arrogant and believes he has a right to spy on employees. This is the kind of guy that should not be working in IT, or any other service job. Employees INCLUDING IT employees use company resources to benefit the company, not the egotistical needs of an IT tech. Any acceptable use of company resources must include not spying on others. Shouldnt that be common sense? not in this techies world.

        Any monitoring MUST be connected to an event or a need, and MUST be made known to those being monitored. In other words, a posted sign – Warning Speed Enformced By Radar…

    • #3184168

      Illegal v Unethical

      by ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Though what you want to do is not illegal, it is unethical. Why? Because you did not say you were going to tell them you are monitoring. IT is already feared and loathed by clients who believe those working in IT are arrogant, and possibly even malicous. Sadly, some IT techs are just that, barely above or even at the leve of hacker mentalities. Every profession has its lame-asses, but IT needs to have a higher degree of integrity than what your propose here. You may rationalize that employees are “to be watched”, but it is not up to IT to initiate that. IT has a trust. It is trusted to protect, not to destroy. If you monitor people without their knowledge, youa re destroying trust, and destroying confidence. Suggest get a little religion and rethink …. even talk to a more senior manager before you presume.

    • #3184162

      Reverse Position

      by ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      IT has been suspected of goofing off. We in Facilities have decided to monitor computer usage of the IT staff. If we find anyone in IT crusing the web not looking at tools, or taking long lunch breaks, or working on pet projects not related to work, we will be taking note, and possibly action.

    • #3184149


      by jonf ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      We use surfcontrol and it works very well at monitoring and blocking certain types of sites. There are appliance options and server based options.

      I don’t agree with the first post by DC Guy. With the increase in internet use and the increase in liability caused by the internet, it is imperative to monitor usage and be able to react and control it when necessary.

    • #3183456


      by mhollick ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Might i suggest running a tool such as ntop. being free,
      mature and easy for manager types to ‘understand’ ntop
      is a quick way to start monitoring internet useage. it will
      certainly give you a clearer idea of what you really
      need from a network monitoring tool. as it has a web
      front end you can give selected (or even all) users read
      only access to selected reports. doing so helps takes
      the big brother aspect away. personaly i would rather
      not give users open access to the internet. proxy
      servers provide additional layers of security,
      management and monitoring. using caching can (will)
      cut down internet bandwidth useage. smoothwall
      corporate guardian is a rather nice proxy that can also
      tie into your active directory.


      • #3182691

        NTOP Works !!!!

        by ben.hunter ·

        In reply to ntop

        I would give a strong vote for NTOP. I’ve used it used it regularly to monitor our traffic. I just mirror our outgoing port and let it watch. It?s free reliable non-intrusive.

        I don?t consider it spying, most of the problems I have found the user was completely unaware of. It?s called network management. I?m not going to let one user or a small group bog down the network for everyone else, especially when they are completely unaware that they are doing it.

    • #3183365

      “Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”

      by ickesk ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      “But who will guard the guardians themselves?”
      So – who watchers the watchers? It’s a concept as old as the hills and as controversial as we’d like it to be. As we increase our ability to watch and monitor, we are faced with options and burdens that new technologies bring. Of course, it also means all manner of ethical disruptions and challenges we may not be prepared to face or cope with. Like it or not, though, there will be times when monitoring is wanted/needed. For instance, there may be a legal issue brewing or harrassment occuring in which case a company may have to defend itself and need to do so via monitoring. Who among us would want to know that a failure to monitor resulted in a stalking tragedy or situation that went unwatched, or ignored because of a resistance to monitoring? The question is: The tools are available – do we use them? More importantly though, in this forum, the questioner has taken it further and is not looking for a sanctioning of the activity, but rather suggestions on how to do it. There are many good tools that can do the job. Hardware and software for monitoring, spending time reviewing logs and providing data and exist and can be used. My preference is not to advise on one tool versus another since many of you have already. What I would advise, however, is that if your company reserves the right to monitor, that you do it with checks and balances so that there is some ownership of not just the technology and the tools, but also of the actions. Policies that allows a company to reserve the right to monitor are a good place to start. Giving employees the ability to know and understand that monitoring might need to happen are informed. Then, when the decision is made to monitor, it should be done with two approvals and not one – so for instance, HR and a Department head might approve IT employing a monitoring tool. That takes the ethical and legal issues and places decision making on management and HR. That way, if there is a real reason to oppose the decision, higher level people can raise the challenges and set the guidelins and everyone involved can take ownership for the legal and moral liability.

    • #3183363

      This works well

      by marvngardn ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Spectorsoft CNE worked well for my company. Client/server application that monitors any number of activities of your choosing. Low overhead, stable, and cheap.

    • #3183350

      Company resources

      by mustang221 ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      First, if the computer is company owned, then the company has the right to install any software on the computer. The employee only has the right to do so if the company allows such activity. The computer is a resource, just like the desk, telephone, copier etc. If an employee is able to turn out good productivity, then spend time surfing web sites, they could be using the time surfing the web for doing more work. It’s not so much spying on employees than making sure everyone has adequate resources for work, and not waiting to work while they stare at the dreaded hourglass.

      • #3183332

        To Extend

        by firstpeter ·

        In reply to Company resources

        And keep in mind the poster wasn’t necessarily looking for something to completely cut out all “personal use” of the COMPANY ASSET, but rather to see if it was being used excessively for non-business stuff.

        The company certainly has the RIGHT to require 100% use of the asset for company business, but that’s not always the best management approach.

    • #3183317

      Reply To: Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      by jmschattke9 ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Did the programming for this task for UAL in ’99. It also did a keyword search fr naughty words on URLs & blocked site requests, for internal investigations of harrassment. Web front end, tied into LDAP to see who managed whom. Raw data was from the procy server logs.

      All told, only took a couple weeks, so ROI was really sweet if it saved even one lawsuit.

    • #3183315


      by catadmin ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Implement biometric security on your network.

      There are a couple of pros for this approach. 1) the user has to be presnt to log in and you can audit both log in and log outs. 2) increases general network security so it is harder for outside hackers to get inside.

      The con is, you really can’t track *what* they are doing with their time. Just that they came in, logged into the network and then logged out at the end of the day. Plus *MAJOR* upfront expense.

      But it’s a start.

    • #3183310

      A matter of method

      by aa8vs ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      I spent some time as a consultant and here are some criteria we used:
      Estimated time to do a job tracked by project ID
      Logging actual hours charged to job by employe to project ID
      Was work being done in a timely manner?
      Were there milestones and were they being met?
      The person managing having some idea [high level] of work being done.

      In the VAX environment you could randomly see what processes were being ran (circa 70s)

      Did the processes being ran make sense with the work to be done.

      If there were unusual circumstances take employee aside and find out if he is having a problem with finding references, resources, etc.

      I guess in a way it could be contrived as spying but your trying to get work done [don’t assume the worst] and the manager should assist and remove road blocks.


    • #3183290

      your history lesson

      by go43 ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Hope you have been able to find an answer to your question amongst the dozens of meaningful replies. From time to time we are all exposed to the meaningless ranting of the “DC Guys” of this world.

    • #3183280


      by dfarrich9 ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Don’t even go there. Someone will find out and then it’ll be “Let’s get the party started.” I believe that it’s aninvasion of privacy and if you want your employees to act covertly this is the way to do it. They’ll figuratively cut your corporate throat and you’ll see morale take a nose-dive. If they’re getting their work accomplished and have nothing to hide then don’t spy on them. Don’t be a snoop.

    • #3183274

      Consider this…

      by amused… ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      1. What prompted your boss to feel this monitoring was needed?
      2. We all have to work and sometimes that means we work for jerks. That is how we know when we find a decent employer or give up and employ ourselves.
      3. Hire an outside firm to perform a Client Satisfaction Survey on your clients. Easier to implement and far more telling.
      a. Let the clients (internal or external) know the Survey is completely confidential. I.E. The outside firm will know how they are but will only forward comments and suggestions to you along with the Consultant concerned or, if they cannot remember, then the client info and dates of service.
      b. Ask how long the Consultant works with them and are they satisfied with the work performed.
      c. Will they continue, refer and or look forward to your future business.
      d. Are we meeting your goals?
      e. What would you change?
      f. When have you been dissatisfied and what was the cause and resolution?

      These are just a few suggestions. No ‘Riots’ needed. You and even the Surveyor may have great additional questions specific to your market segment.

      The point is, this doesn’t spy. It tells you very quickly what the clients think of each consultant and allows you to correct the issue before it spirals.

      This can be presented as a positive to the customers and the staff for the firm. Calling a client site to see if a Consultant was there when they said they were would only raise serious questions to a client and damage the Consultants credibility. Hard to recover from that for all involved.

      Treat you people like adults, set expectations and follow through. Don’t be mean, remember, unless you are a church or health care provider “it ain’t personal if you have to whack a disruptive employee, its business” Do it cleanly and with respect and don’t spy, that is a dirty business and you find out things you aren’t prepared to know.

      My final comment: If everything is going well and the firm is happy and the clients are happy, commit the boss and force him to take a MMPI exam, he may be a sociopath.

    • #3183267

      Now I amused myself

      by amused… ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      whyn not sent them a link to this entire post. They will get the message and I wouldn’t have to type so much.

    • #3183260

      This depends on the resources you have available

      by mmelvis ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      When I say resources available I am speaking of, budget, hardware, staff to implement the solution.
      What operating system is being used on the workstations and servers? What information is management looking for? Much of the information you are seeking can be gathered from built in tools of the operating system.

      On windows platforms you can gather information from history files in Internet explorer, you can setup the system the person can not clear the history from the computers you can also gather information from the cache files used in Internet Explorer. Using folder redirection place the files in shared location on a server. Using this method you can gather data from time stamps on files and get a general idea of how much time is spent on the Internet. You can also use login and logout information to see when people log in and logout of the system or domain.

      On Unix systems you can use the accounting system built in to most systems. There are also log files that can be check to see when people log in and log out the system

      Monitoring can be done without being big brother. Have the users in question submit weekly reports giving high level status of what they are working on and the progress that has been made. Speak with the users to get a feel for how they are progressing. This discussion only needs to be a couple of minutes if even that, Drop by the users work area and asking how things are going.

      These are just a few options, hope some of this information helps/

      • #3183241

        True Measurements

        by proud member of vast right wing majority ·

        In reply to This depends on the resources you have available

        A combination of time sheets (if they are really needed), and a measure of Project Deliverables. In our profession, either you are on-track, and delivering what you were assigned to do, or you are not.

        If the project is being completed, on time and within the specified budget, other factors would seem not to be an issue

      • #3183239

        True Productivity

        by proud member of vast right wing majority ·

        In reply to This depends on the resources you have available

        A combination of time sheets (if they are really needed), and a measure of Project Deliverables will really give you a measure of productivity.

        In our profession, either you are on-track, and delivering what you were assigned to do, or you are not.

        If the project is being completed on-time and within the specified budget, other factors would seem not to be an issue

    • #3183222


      by stan20 ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      “If the employees found it (technology company) there would be a riot.” That tells you all you need to know.

      Why do you feel the need to monitor employees? If they aren’t doing the job, fire the ones that aren’t. If they are, why do you need to monitor them?

      If you just want to know when they come in and when they leave, have them sign in and out.

    • #3183220

      Use Cyberoam

      by ak1967p ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      In addition to blocking inappropriate contents, it also provides detailed reporting relative to the internet activity in tabular format as well as easy-to-understand graphs. It also works as a spam/email filter and firewall. It is best for general monitoring and blocking and for detailed reporting.

    • #3183210


      by manishachhaya ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Cyberoam provides comprehensive web and email security with content filtering and firewall as well as anti-virus and anti-spam integration. It is the complete Internet Management Solution that lets enterprises solve their Internet-related problems.

      It also manages bandwidth, ensures multiple link load balancing and gateway failover, mail and printer management in addition to providing extensive graphical reports.

      and download the evaluation copy from

    • #3183182

      Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      by mfisher ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Download a trial version of SurfControl, the software installs server side. You can then enforce the AUP (Acceptable User policy) should you have one. The software will give you the ability to monitor what sites the user, users are accessing, reports can be detailed or summarised.

      Rules can be created to enforce the user policy, should the user attempt to visit blocked sites within a certain catergory then the user will be presented with a SurfControl HTTP deny page, should you not want to make use of the HTTP deny page then you can put a redirector withn the default http deny page that will take the user to a customised hhtp page that has been designed by you reminding the user of the company policies.

      The software is also useful when running a cost analsys for bandwith usage.


    • #3182718

      Enlist their aid / teamwork towards mutual goal

      by paymeister ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Level with the employees, and by so doing, empower instead of emasculate.

      Tell them that the Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires improved auditing, and the company has hitherto been unable to determine if the hours paid are supported by the hours being worked (don’t lie, of course… but I’ll bet if you asked you would find that this really is the reason for the auditing – we’re doing much of the same type of thing here). The task at hand, then, is to demonstrate to the auditors that employees are indeed earning their pay. Ask for suggestions on the best way to do that, and tell them that one of the solutions under consideration is to examine login/out times, net useage, and the like. Assure them that you’re NOT interested in what the wife wants them to buy at WalMart on the way home, but that the law now requires better accountability for company money. Cast your memo it in the tone that you assume that they’re big boys and girls and are indeed giving the company plenty of value, but that we have a group of bean counters that, together, we must reassure.

      If you’re fortunate, they’ll give you an easier solution. If a good employee is “getting away with something” now, he or she will get the idea that the easy ride is over, and will probably change. The REAL offenders will keep on being jerks and you’ll catch them easily enough later.

      Or make them all Salaried, and if the job gets done, who cares if they’re out golfing? A salaried employee promises to get the job done for X amount of money, and the time it takes is irrelevant.

      Another presentation of the same point: When several families moved here, the local sheriff paid a call (we live in Mayberry, more or less). After a half-hour of pleasant conversation, he said, “I notice some folks who move here haven’t gotten their state tags… you might mention to them that they only have 30 days to do that.” I replied, “Why, yes, sir! In fact, I know of one fellow in particular who could use to hear that!” I got my state tags the next day. No Federal case, no newspaper photo with me hiding behind my hat, just good ol’ fashioned police work. Maybe something like that would work for you.

    • #3182716

      Project management Software

      by bjordan ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      We use an internal software program called TaskIt that tracks the hours spent on projects and specific deliverables (We also market it to the public is a great way to track how problems are resolved and how much time it took to resolve them. It allows multiple people to access a particular project and update and add their pieces to the project. It has great reporting features. It allows you to pull the time an employee spent on a project or how much time they spent on all projects for a week, a month etc… I run a department of IT staff that are required to keep the total time logged in to TaskIt as close to 40 hours as possible. It also is valuable to show the boss who is putting in extra hours and what not. I know this all sounds like a sales pitch but I’m not in sales, I’m just a satisfied user of TaskIt.

    • #3182667

      Ever hear of a firewall??

      by bfelts ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      If you need a high-level overview of internet access, consider a reasonable firewall solution. I am familliar with Watchguard, and it’s logging is perfect for this. Several times I have been able to identify downloads that defy company policy regarding employees installing unauthorized software. This doesn’t allow me to see specific details of e-mail as an example, but it does provide usable info on what I CHOOSE to log.


    • #3182635

      Surf Control, Surf Control, Surf Control

      by jakcap ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      In case IT hasnt been suggested in any previous post, Surf Control(or Equal) is exactly what you’ll need! It’ll tell you if the boys are lookin at porno or the gals are shopping. Complete with reporting tools with neat graphics listing the biggest abusers on down. If you dont use it to block any particular sites the users will not even know you’re watching!!! PRINT OUT THE GRAPHICS…GET OUT THE PINK SLIPS…. AND CUT OFF SOME HEADS!!!!!!

    • #3182624

      SurfControl Web & IM Filters

      by ntewfik ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      We have SurfControl (, the program is installed on a server or a computer close to the internet gateway and nothing is installed at the user?s computer,
      You can control who is allowed to go where or not to go where, it has a wide range of rules you can create. Also they have IM filter. You can also see live demo on the web.


    • #3182579

      try Aristotle

      by rmariott ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      William, at the school district where I worked in the past we use Aristotle, not sure if you’re familiar with it. It’s a very good tool for monitoring what your users are doing on the network. I understand you didn’t want details but you can get some pretty deep ones if you want to (it drills down to the keystrokes), and also the interface is very easy to use and straigh forward. It runs on a Unix box and it’s very stable, however it does a little piece of software that goes on the client machine but you don’t have to touch each individual host, you can install if from one host by netbios or ip address (specify a range). The client is invisible to the user, you can see it only if you look at the processes running on the client computer (through task manager).

    • #3169569

      I understand

      by plaintom ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      I’m the Director of IT at a rural hospital and I understand your position. I’m not a fan of “snooping” on employees and being a one person department doesn’t really give me the time to monitor logs BUT…

      Here is what we do: We use Secure Computing Sentian software (N2H2) which integrates with your firewall – we use a Cisco PIX. Read about it here:

      This software tracks all activity – and allows you to block sites, etc. just like Websense and others but I like what I read about this better. I performed 30 day trials on a couple of these packages and felt this worked best in our environment.

      Anyway, let me continue…We chose to monitor employees for a different reason than ‘false time reporting’ or ‘inappropriate billing.’ We chose to monitor because about 9 months ago ‘someone’ downloaded ‘something’ which caused our network to come to a stand still – even with the latest version of Corporate SAV…
      We found the ?culprit? and action was taken: We talked to this person, explained the situation and requested they common sense and caution next time. The result: no more incidents (the person is still employed and the incident is history).

      While nobody in Administration has any desire to limit what an employee may do or where they may go on the internet (that isn’t what this is about for us), we decided it important to be able to track where a potential ‘virus’ or ‘worm’ may have come from (who’s PC). For this reason we chose to put unobtrusive monitoring in place (the users do not realize they are monitored because the authentication is transparent to them – they know we monitor because we informed them, they just don’t see it).

      If someone complains about their PC performance or popups, etc. I clean the PC and IF what is found warrants further investigation I consult N2H2 logs on a specific user to see their online habits. If their habits warrant disciplinary actions appropriate ones are taken (based on our employee policies/handbook). Since implementing this software I?ve been investigated (1) person and no action was taken. Monitoring can work both ways ? it can ?exonerate? as well as ?condemn? an employee.

      I have no desire to be big brother and neither do our Administrators but I must protect the network and Patient data ? this is most critical because Patient data cannot be compromised.

      I don?t really care if employees do online shopping, bill paying or whatever (heck, we all do it) as long as work gets done and nothing is ?unleashed? on the network.

      The two most regulated industries, banking and healthcare, have an obligation to their customers to insure confidentiality and I plan to do whatever is necessary to make sure this happens in my facility. To wflanagan and his ?boss?, I say: Don?t abuse the software by ?spying? on employees, use it only when necessary for backup documentation when you already know someone needs disciplinary action.

      Anyway, this is just my 2 cents and you can take it or leave as you see fit.

    • #3169376


      by cdstewart ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      I also worked for a company which wanted this type of information. There is a combination you can use. One is a product like Websense or Web Inspector. It will monitor web activity and lenght of time using the web. As for overall traffic on your bandwidth, try a product called Packeteer. It is a condenser of data traffic, but it also is great for reporting and shaping your network traffic. You might be able to get your local vendor to hook it up for you to get reporting. Hope it helps.

    • #3183595


      by dschuster ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      We have an application that was developed for the intelligence community that we are now taking to the commercial market. It is 100% undetectable (former NSA developers reviewed), and it monitors all aspects including internet, email (corporate and web), IM, files, etc. and is developed to monitor thousands in an enterprise structure with little manpower required ie. one person manages thousands of users. It is also supports multiple languages. Contact me at 402-502-3220 if interested.

      • #3183904

        is it open source?

        by djameson ·

        In reply to Monitoring

        is it open source?

    • #3183581

      That’s just the way it is.

      by rayg314 ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Every employee, you and the CEO included, needs to be aware that their activity can and may be monitored. They need to know what will be monitored, whether it’s their Internet surfing, their logon and logoff times, their incoming and outgoing email. They also ought to be informed as to why these montioring actions are necessary, including for their own protection, to protect the corporate network, and deter DoS and other external threats.

      That’s just the way it is.

      Simultaneously, the employees need to know that you or whoever does the monitoring will use the information gained by that monitoring only for clearly-stated specified reasons, whether that includes for time and billing or for corporate protection (no corporate espionage or slandering)

      • #3047031

        True, but it is still a sign of inexperience

        by shawn_w ·

        In reply to That’s just the way it is.

        on the part of management. I know all of my employees are working because I know exactly how long the tasks I assign should take. I measure productivity by their output. I don’t need to check their email or web usage. A manager who needs those tools is probably not qualified to judge who is and isn’t productive.

    • #3183958

      Kerio Winroute Firewall 6.0

      by neildsouza ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Version 6.0 allows you to…

      1. Log individual website visits
      2. Log file downloads
      3. customize what is blocked
      4. detail individual download and bandwidth used on a daily basis
      5. customize who can get access to what
      6. Log in and log out timings to firewall

      I would advise you to inform via memo that you’ve implemented this service. Unless you have an IT policy that enforces such activity on your part, it is a breach of privacy although a day in court will be more of a pain-in-the-neck than result to anything else.

      As again, don’t quote me on that, har har!

    • #3189191

      Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      by kshaurette ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      If employees are using company equipment legal precedent supports that this is not spying nor invasion of privacy, however I would be sure you have a policy that outlines monitoring is approved and that employees have not come because of other corporeate culture, statements by executive, hr etc.. to expect privacy in their use of company equipment.

      I also don’t believe you can get much accurate information without something installed at the workstation level unless you are only looking for some very specific statistics such as use of the Web, the something like a Websense or other similar tool with that kind of reporting capability will work.

      If you truly need to monitor to compliance there are very very few robust and adequate solutions to do that.

      There is a product that is the best solution that I’ve seen in my 20 years in secuirty that meets this on a commercial basis without all the mystery and sneeking around. Doing monitoring should be done up front and not in some black magic/hidene way.

      The ELEVATOR SPEECH that I would make is as follows:

      Proof of control over your network sometimes means an organization must track employee?s personal computer usage. An unpleasant, undesirable and time consuming task with potentially negative repercussions for the company.. The proper solution can automate the process, helps protect employee?s privacy and their dignity while protecting the company assets. It can help meet compliance requirements for monitoring and auditing activity against Corporate data without the heavy administrative burden or any application modifications.

      Contact me for more information on the solution if you are interested in knowing more:

    • #3195489

      write a script

      by technicalmumbojumbo ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      A simple vb script can report on logon and logoff success audits. This will tell you when people are coming and going anyway. If they’re surfing the web the whole day, while they’re there, that’s another story.

      I say trust no-one

    • #3185920

      Internet Resource Management approach

      by emersonmf ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      visionGATEWAY with its INTERScepter solution provides a different approach that is more than monitoring, but provides full detail of all usage of all 65,000 plus ports by bandwidth, by port, by date, by time, by location, by …., etc. Depends on the parameters you create. This can be looked at in summary form or drill down to lower level as and when required. If you wish to provide to end users the intranet application includes a “My account” information page that facilitates a “self-management” approach. This does not have to be used though.
      For more information contact

    • #3182343

      Open Source

      by archie_cunanan ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Currently, I’m using SARG which generates an HTML report of SQUID server use. You may try it if you are using Linux as internet gateway. I don’t know if there’s a equivalent software under windows.

      You may also try WEBANALYZER also under Linux.

      I hope this could help you in anyway.

    • #3196297

      Try one of the Packeteer products.

      by earl.voorhis ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Check out

      They have a solution that will give you a high level view. Their application will count the number of hits per classs of traffic.

      You can also get connectivity data on single IP addresses if you need that level of information.

    • #3196293

      You missed the point

      by baal ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Looks like everyone has an opinion on this and I’m not going to read them all, but DC was pretty spot on with his reply except you all missed the main point. ‘Your’ boss wants to monitor ‘Your’ department – that means he doesn’t believe he is getting value for money from your department. You must stand by your department (and prove you are the right person for the job). IT has always been a thorn in the companies budget and non IT people will always question the value they are getting (You will notice your boss brings his home computer to you to repair – because it is too expensive to go to a pc shop. But how much did that little repair actually cost the company!). Your department has a workload and you can calculate how many man hours each task should take. You can therefore make a pretty good guess at who is underperforming and this can be handled (hopefully you know how to increase a persons performance by now). But what happens when outside influences cause your stats to drop. You are the one that has to keep your users and boss informed of how things are going and it is this ability that demonstrates the value of you in your role. If you keep all informed and you deliver the goods within budget and explain any fluctuations your boss will realize you do know your job and you are in control – So forget about ‘unobtrusive monitoring’.

    • #2822063

      Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      by wdistd ·

      In reply to Unobtrusive employee monitoring

      Try WorkTime – it looks like this solves your employee monitoring task. The only thing, you still need to install it on every computer.

Viewing 93 reply threads