How Activity Monitoring Improves Your Company’s Security

Every business has something of value that can be stolen. The unfortunate reality of our online world is that most customer data, employee data, and critical business information is available online as long as you know how to access it. 

Computer hackers attempt to steal company data every day, and luckily so many of our systems already in place online, like cloud networks, are designed to protect against attacks. Unfortunately, some hackers get through.

With the growth of ransomware during the COVID-19 pandemic and the slow growth of the Shadow IT network and the Internet of Things, businesses need to do everything to improve their security. 

One effective way is through activity monitoring software. This article will dive into what activity monitoring is and how it can drastically improve your company’s security. 

What is Activity Monitoring Software?

Activity monitoring software is a program that can monitor user behaviors. The software will only work when it is programmed to work (i.e., when an employee turns on time tracking or when the computer starts up), and it only tracks when the admin tells it to.

For the most part, user activity monitoring software can be installed from a single admin console and downloaded remotely on company network workstations. 

The admin console can then control the widespread or individual settings of the activity monitoring software and view computer data from multiple computers simultaneously. 

Employee monitoring software is ideal for tracking project due dates and timelines, how long it took your employees to work on a single project, employee attendance, remote employee attendance, and productivity metrics, like wasted time, projects that were bogged down in problematic areas, time spent on certain apps and websites, and more. 

How Activity Monitoring Software is Used

As mentioned, activity monitoring can be used for project management, employee productivity tracking, and company security. 

If you’re interested in a monitoring tool for project management or productivity, then the software will be used to track time on individual tasks and projects, and it could also be used for checking to make sure that your employees are actually working. 

For security, activity monitoring comes with a different set of premium features. Activity monitoring software is primarily used to monitor insider threats, which are threats that might stem from an insider like an employee, but it is actually an attack against your company. 

Negligent insiders might let in an attacker through a clickbait article or email phishing scam. In this case, the attacker could be secretly downloading malware or viruses onto your computer. This virus could sit there idly and wait until it learns your system or navigates into other restricted areas of your network. 

Activity monitoring can track these movements and notify the admin when things seem fishy. The activity monitoring software might catch the download before it even gets onto your computer. It might then flag the user who downloaded the virus and inform the admin about this. The admin can then investigate the cause and identify if the download was malicious and intended or if it was an accident. 

Using Activity Monitoring Software for Company Security

No matter what size company you run, you should adopt multiple programs and practices for optimized security. If you are in a vulnerable industry, like financial institutions or insurance, you most definitely will need multiple layers of security for added protection. 

Best practices like two-factor authentication and changing passwords regularly need to be followed. Additionally, multiple software programs like data loss prevention (DLP) software can improve data visibility, and you can watch your data movement throughout your network. 

Activity monitoring can be used in conjunction with this software and provide optimized security. It should be integrated alongside system information and event management software or processes. 

With an activity monitoring tool, unusual employee behavior, suspicious behavior, or blatantly malicious activity can be flagged and monitored by the admin. For example, if your employee normally logs on at the same time every day, but on Sunday, they logged on at an odd hour, like in the middle of the night. You might not know that employee all that well, but you do know that they don’t normally work at that hour and that most of your employees don’t work on Sundays. 

With employee monitoring, your company can investigate this event to see if it’s abnormal. You can move in closer to that log-in and begin to watch your data movement on your network. If you start to see weird log-in attempts in other areas of your network or perhaps data is being moved or copied, you can start to make moves towards stopping this perpetrator. 

Activity monitoring helps you to investigate things at the moment, rather than security audits which go back over time to identify patterns or what went wrong. You can then have a plan in place if you are catching a hacker in the act!

Improving Insider Threat Protection With Activity Monitoring

Thief steal digital data and money banner. Cyber crime and hacking concept. Data privacy in danger. Isolated vector isometric illustration

One of the biggest reasons why activity monitoring is used for company security is for insider threat protection

Insider threats are those threats that come from within your company. This might be an employee who is either forgetful or negligent and accidentally lets in a hacker through an email phishing scam or another entry point. It can also be a malicious employee who sees financial gain in your company’s data. 

Departing employees and third-party business partners, even those who no longer work for your company, can also be insider threats. This is because these individuals know how to access your company network, and they might use it against you. This is why it’s important to change departing employees’ passwords and have an offboarding plan for when an employee leaves the company. 

Without added protection like activity monitoring, you would be left in the dark as to where your security threat is. Activity monitoring will learn user patterns through its sophisticated user behavior analytics (UBAs). Once it has discovered these patterns, it will alert you and other admin to these anomalous behaviors. 

It’s like having an extra set of eyes always working on behalf of your company!

Which Key Features of Activity Monitoring is For Security

If you’re looking into activity monitoring for security, then you’ll want to find software with the right set of features. These features include:

  • User behavior analytics: This is a smart algorithm that can learn employee behaviors and call out unusual behaviors when they happen.
  • Keystroke logging software: This software tracks all the strokes that happen on a given computer and is crucial to catch employees writing devious messages or weird codes.
  • Webcam monitoring: Yes, you can even monitor some of your employees through the webcam to ensure that a hacker hasn’t stolen their computer!
  • Screen video monitoring: Run a live stream of each of your user screens so that you can see if they are doing anything that they shouldn’t be!
  • Email and instant messenger communication tracking: You don’t have to have keystroke logging on, but you can download all the email communications so that you can see if your employees are conspiring against you!

You trust your employees and other individuals with access to your sensitive business information. It only makes sense that you would want to protect it!

SoftActivity’s activity monitoring software can provide you with a number of these benefits and give you greater insight into your company’s security.

By SoftActivity Team.

September 27th, 2021