Ten Ways to Monitor What Your Users are Doing with Company Computers

In these days, network administrators are monitoring the employee’s use of the computerswebsite monitoring service and network. Even if the company’s management philosophy allows for some private use of company equipment, you often need to know which websites are opening by the employee’s, what they are doing, what files they are sending and receiving, and even what they are communicating in their emails. This is necessary because employee’s actions may subject to severe loss to the company business, civil lawsuits, and even criminal charges if they involve deliberate or accidental disclosure of confidential company information, or exposure to malicious code.

Following are the ten ways you can keep tabs on what your users are doing with the company’s computers:

1) Use auditing feature to monitor access to files: On a network of windows, you can keep tabs on which files employees open, or even they are unable to attempt to access the files – by using the audit policy feature that’s built into the operating systems. In windows 2000, and above auditing is enabled via Group policy.

2) Analyze cached web files: If you have fewer computers and you wants to find out the sites which are opening by the employee’s, you can do this by simply examining the web browser’s cache (called temporary internet files in internet explorer) without buying any special software.

3) Monitor web access at the firewall: This is another method to know the employees’ visiting to different sites by configuring your firewall to report on websites accessed according to user-name and/or computer name. Enterprise-level firewalls such as Microsoft’s ISA Server, Cisco PIX have built-in reporting features or have Add-on available that can provide reports of all websites accessed through the firewall and from what account and computer they were accessed.

4) Using URL filter web access: Instead of monitoring all sites, better you block undesirable sites that are known to contain malicious software downloads, such as some hacker sites. And also you should block some recreational sites to prevent employees from wasting time when they should be working.

5) Using keywords also you can filter web access: If you want to block or monitor the sites, you should know the URLs of the sites and this is the problem. Instead of blocking sites just by address, some application filtering firewalls and add-on web-blocking programs can filter sites by keywords.

6) Monitor incoming and outgoing e-mail messages: You can monitor your employee’s email messages by SPECTOR CNE from SpectorSoft. It automatically captures and reviews both sent and received messages and setup alerts to notify you instantly if particular words or phrases (undesirable) are detected.

7) Monitor instant messages (IMS): Instant messages are often a source of security breaches. You can block instant messaging altogether by configuring your firewall to block the ports used by using software such as Semantic IM Manager.

8) Capture typed data using key-loggers. Key-loggers are of two types; hard-ware and soft-ware – to record all the information typed on a computer’s keyboard.

9) Use screen capture tools to find out what users are doing: Screen capture utilities are included in monitoring packages. They enable you to monitor what your employees read on their screens. In addition you can also find out the URL of a Website an employee visited, you can actually see the site that was displayed on his or her screen, an opened Word document or graphics file, a video game being played by the employee, etc.

10) Control what software employees can install or run: You can use built-in tools in Windows XP and server to control installation and running of software by the employee’s.

These points enable you to know what your users are doing. In some ways, there are some tools required to monitor the users. Some of these will come under monitoring packages and some do not. You need to install some other software for monitoring.

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