The Ins and Outs of User Activity Tracking

User activity tracking is useful software that can improve employee productivity and boost company security. If you’re looking to add user activity tracking in your company, though, it’s important to have a better understanding of this product.

This helpful guide will provide an overview of user activity, including top features, benefits, and use cases.  

What is User Activity Tracking and How Does it Work?

User activity tracking typically refers to software that can track the activity on a user’s computer. The software only works on installed computers and can track things like time spent on an application, the name of the application, and time spent on websites. 

Because the purpose of activity monitoring software is for productivity and security, it also has features designed for catching procrastinators, malicious employees, and anomalous behavior. If, for example, you have a user with lower-level access to certain areas of your networks, and they access authorized areas, then your monitoring software should alert you to this. 

The software only understands these behaviors once your pre-defined company policy is provided. Once it has this information, it can make automated alerts and start to trigger reports for certain things. 

User activity tracking can monitor an entire company network in organizational settings. It can also run in stealth mode so that users don’t know that their behavior is being tracked (this is ideal for security purposes). For productivity, your employees will need to start and stop the time tracking software so that the time tracking data can be collected. 

Once the software has been downloaded on the appropriate computers, you can monitor workstations, remote computers, and company networks all from a single console. 

Top Features in Tracking Software

Understanding how tracking software works is best done by presenting the features available in this software

Here are some of the features you can expect:

  • Remote monitoring of employee computers on your network in real-time in stealth mode
  • Attendance reports, including login and logoff times
  • Notifications when user’s break company policy.
  • Productivity and activity reports emailed to managers
  • Tracking on company networks
  • Tracking on Windows and Citrix applications
  • Monitoring user screens in real-time
  • Multiple user monitoring from the admin console
  • Record every user action with TS Monitor
  • Monitor remote user sessions on Windows RDS or Citrix server farms
  • Screenshots
  • Time on websites & in apps
  • User activity log
  • Records of files accessed
  • Keystroke logging
  • Idle time activity report
  • Triggered alerts sent to managers when users take certain actions (like visiting a certain website, using a particular app, copying a file to a USB stick)
  • Daily/weekly/monthly reports in email

As you can see, the monitoring software is there working on your behalf, and you can really set it up for the needs of your company. 

As mentioned there are two main uses for monitoring software: productivity and security. However, it can also provide good overall company health and operational insights. 

Features for Productivity

Managers and remote managers can use user activity tracking to understand employee performance and productivity

With features like time tracking on individual tasks and projects, time spent on applications, time spent on websites, attendance, wasted time, idle time tracking, and reports and alerts, managers can easily collect metrics around employee workloads and efficiency. Keystroke logging can also help with productivity; you can read your employee activity and communication logs or see if they are procrastinating when they say they are working.

User activity monitoring tools should collect data for a few weeks. If the software comes with user behavior analytics (UBAs) it will also be able to identify employee trends so that you understand performance highs and lows and when malicious actors have stolen an employee’s identity. 

Features for Security

Employee monitoring provides another layer of security for your company by increasing data visibility and sending out alerts to mitigate insider threat attacks on your company’s data. 

With certain data loss prevention software, you can set up alerts if files, folders, or areas of a network have been accessed by certain individuals, including unauthorized individuals. 

Monitoring features for security include webcam monitoring, screenshots, time tracking on applications and websites, communication logs, email logs, and keystroke logging. For example, if you’re worried about personal security, then you can have keystroke logging operating all the time and then you can go in and read those logs to see if your employees are actually hacking into your computer network and presenting a security risk.

Use Cases for User Activity Tracking

Some might think that they don’t need user activity tracking. Whether you trust your employees or don’t see the need, know that user activity tracking is a simple and effective safeguard against poor productivity and cyber criminals. 

Here are some example use cases for user activity training:

The Remote Workplace

The remote workplace is easily one of the best use cases for activity tracking. Remote managers have no way of knowing if their remote employees are actively working. With user activity monitoring, you can track attendance, user actions, time spent on projects, and time spent on applications and websites. 

Remote managers no longer need to use multiple services and self-reporting to gain insight into their remote workforce. With user activity tracking software, all the information is in one place and reports can even be sent to your email. 

An Insurance Agency

If you run an insurance agency, then you’ll be handling customer data, employee data, and sensitive personal and financial information. If your employees are in an office, you may think that monitoring their behaviors and data on-site is good enough. But what about your company network?

With workplace monitoring software, you can have software that continually monitors the company network. 

Monitor when data is moved, modified, or accessed by personnel who do not have authorization. This software can also detect productivity, which means that you can spend less time roaming around the office and checking in on your employees. 

A Retailer Selling Clothing Online

A retailer selling items online is another great use case for activity monitoring. You will likely have multiple people accessing your company inventory and website, and most of these people will be spread out. 

With multiple touch-points, you might not know where your security vulnerabilities are at, and this increases your security risks. 

You can set up user activity tracking on your servers to make sure that any sensitive information and inventory information is kept secure. Since you’re processing company credit cards, you can also make sure that no malicious software is downloaded onto any company computers that track credit card numbers. 

Software Company

A financial software company will connect with users and coworkers to solve software glitches and provide premium customer service. Tracking user activity will help monitor your employee productivity, gaining insight into the applications and websites that they are regularly visiting. 

Keystroke logging will also help to ensure that they are only coding and working on the software and not doing anything suspicious. It will also help the company track data movement for client security. 

Align your company security policy with the monitoring software and you’ll easily be able to see when employees are moving data they shouldn’t be. This can be particularly useful in this scenario since there is so much data and file movement naturally occurring that it can be hard to keep up. 

Benefits of Activity Tracking

User activity monitoring comes with a number of benefits, primarily in cost savings. Since time theft can be expensive and there is a serious financial threat that comes with security threats, implementing tracking software can help to minimize these risks. 

While everything here is centered around cost savings, tracking can also improve your company’s welfare. If you have a team that is entirely overworked, then tracking software should highlight some of this stress. You may see that your employees are logging lots of hours or, conversely, working on projects really quickly. You can dive deeper into this, to identify why projects are taking so long or whether or not the product or task is of the quality that you are expecting. 

Use this data in your employee performance meetings. In fact, with this insight, you can ask your employees what they think about their workload, their productivity, and their performance. Maybe they have been stressed and did not feel that they could bring this up with you. Maybe you didn’t know about the stressor, but you would happily like to talk about these issues with your employees. 

With this data, you can approach the subject of employee productivity carefully and discuss potential solutions. All in all, this could prove to be a better solution, improving employee morale, employee engagement, and employee retention rates. 

Without this data, you may be going off hearsay or rumor. Data is more concrete and gives you a clearer picture of what’s going on. This can help you in many scenarios and can improve the lives of your employees too. 

Getting Activity Tracking Software in Your Workplace

Activity tracking software is easy to operate and can improve productivity and company security. 

If you’re considering this software for your workplace, reach out to SoftActivity to see what your options are. We provide software for workstations (to monitor your organizational network) and to monitor remote computers on Windows devices and in Citrix. 

Our features are customizable, so you can go in and modify the settings so that the software understands your company policy. You can even remotely install the software on company networks too! Once installed, access webcams and employee reports from a single console.
See the difference that user activity tracking makes in your workplace today!

By SoftActivity Team.

December 6th, 2021