Computer Monitoring. Why You Need It For Your Business Right Now

June 24th, 2015
Photo Credit: Martin Terber

Photo Credit: Martin Terber

How much time do your employees spend actually working? Less than you might think – potentially, a lot less. In Britain, an urban myth caught on that a man had died at the office and none of his co-workers noticed while wandering by his cubicle until the fifth day. It wasn’t true – but the reason the story caught so much traction is that it was just so believable. It’s easy to imagine the anonymous cog of an employee being ignored as he literally rots at his desk – because workers are often disconnected not just from the work they’re doing, but from their own co-workers in the next line of cubicles.

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Top Ways Employees Are Wasting Time at Work

June 18th, 2015

You provide a PC workstation for your employee to do actual work. How are they actually spending their time? Perhaps not all that surprisingly, Salary magazine reports that 69 percent of polled employees said they waste at least some time at work on a daily basis (even if a good portion of the other 31 percent just told the pollster what they wanted to hear, that’s bad enough). It’s not getting better, either. The problem is up 20 percent from last year.

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Stopping Insider Intellectual Property Theft

June 3rd, 2015

Intellectual property theft

The business world has never been more aware of the danger of insider intellectual property theft. Unfortunately, it has also never been more vulnerable. The vast majority of threats to IP come from the inside, thanks to employees who are either disgruntled or incompetent. We’ve known that for years – but the worst part is that plenty of enterprise-level companies aren’t even trying to stop it, as one CIO Insider report shows:

Sixty-one percent of respondents say they do not have the ability to deter an insider threat, 58 percent admit that they cannot detect an insider threat, and 75 percent say they cannot detail the human behavioral activities of such threats. Furthermore, six in 10 respondents say they are not adequately prepared to respond to insider threats.

The respondents? C-level executives. What that means is that a solid majority of big, supposedly reliable companies haven’t seriously thought about how to stop a threat that is far from a remote, unlikely hypothetical problem. That’s mind-blowing – particularly when computer monitoring software is such an effective, proven solution that’s been around for a long time.

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Activity Monitor 10 released

May 23rd, 2015

SoftActivity is proud to announce the release of Activity Monitor 10, a major update of its computer monitoring software for businesses and organizations. Performance improved by up to 5 times and grouping of Agents make it easy to monitor large numbers of computers. Activity Monitor 10 supports 1,500 and more computers monitored from one server, as confirmed by tests with some of our customers.
Logs are now automatically downloaded from all computers in background into Central Log Database. No need to download logs from each computer anymore.

Activity Monitor 10

New features and improvements in Activity Monitor 10

  • New and improved network communications system:
    • connects to all computers in the list at once;
    • improved stability of network communications;
    • support of IPv6 in addition to IPv4;
    • performance improvements, taking full advantage of multi-core CPUs; can connect to more than 1000 computers in the list;
    • now asks for Agent password just once, can use Activity Monitor main password for connection to Agents;
    • no more computers with a lock icon in the list;
    • ability to specify custom TCP port for Agent. This allows you to setup NAT port forwarding to monitor computers behind a router. To set a custom port:
      – on the monitored computer open regedit, go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\SoftActivity;
      – create registry value “agentport” of type DWORD;
      – enter port number. can be set to any number from 81 to 65535. Default port is 15163. We recommend custom ports 15165, 15166, 15167,…
      – in Activity Monitor open Agent Properties and enter port number in host:port format
  • Groups of Agents with inheritance of settings (screenshot):
    • organize a huge list of Agents by hierarchical groups. Drag Agents and groups to organize;
    • change monitoring settings for a group once and they will apply to all Agents in the group;
    • perform actions on a group of computers;
  • Operating mode for Activity Monitor (screenshot):
    • 1st mode is Server and Management Console. This is the main mode with all functionality available. It should be selected only on one server or computer with Activity Monitor where Central Log Database is stored.
    • 2nd mode is Monitoring Console. Only live monitoring and viewing of the database. This is a simplified mode with limited functionality. User cannot make any changes to Agents settings, download logs, install/uninstall Agents, etc. Select this mode when installing Activity Monitor on other managers’ computers. You can select the database path from the server via shared folders for viewing;
    • you can select an operating mode when installing Activity Monitor or change it later in Options;
    • to switch Activity Monitor mode, user requires Administrator permissions on the computer;
  • Service for downloading logs that works in Server mode:
    • downloads logs and screenshots constantly in background from all computers. No need to setup download schedule anymore or download logs manually;
    • download performance improved 5+ times. Can easily download logs from hundreds of computers on one server;
    • logs appear in the database with just a few minutes delay from real time; Just press Refresh in Log Viewer to see the latest reports and screenshots;
    • service name in Windows Services for Activity Monitor server is: SalogSrv
  • Turn off un-needed monitored events both in live view and for Central Log Database in Agent Properties -> Monitoring tab in Server mode. For example, disabling Keystrokes once for All Agents group will disable recording of keystrokes on all computers at once;
  • Turn off Search for new Agents in the network in Options (screenshot). This allows a manager to setup a list of computers from their department and then turn off search to avoid finding computers from other departments. Managers from different departments can keep individual lists of computers they monitor independently.
  • improved: now supports non-default accounts and IMAP email accounts in Outlook, that were not previously recorded;
  • fix: some computers with Agent and Outlook connected to Exchange were showing authentication popup window on startup;
  • support of the latest versions of browsers, IM and email clients;
  • screen tab moved to the first position in a monitoring window;
  • numerous improvements and fixes

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Safe Online Computer Games for Kids

May 20th, 2015

Safe Online Computer Games for Kids

In recent years, there has been a huge increase in the amount of resources that are aimed towards children on the internet. While children that are exposed to technology early in life have an advantage that many of their parents never had as children, naturally this brings safety concerns for parents. Parental involvement and monitoring are a necessity when children are granted access to the vast amount of information on the internet, but there are many websites that are designed with children in mind that can ease concerns that parents may have. Whether children are interested in classic board games or jigsaw puzzles, it’s a guarantee that there is a children’s website that will allow them to safely play online. Many of these websites also incorporate learning into their games so that children are having fun as they learn about geography, typing with accuracy or even simple mathematics. Children of all ages enjoy using technology and by using safe, entertaining resources, even something as small as clicking a computer mouse will become a great learning experience.

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