The Best Employee Monitoring Software for 2020
Updated: March 6, 2020
Update: We updated this page to include a software trial option that ContentProtect users can download for free.
Employee monitoring software offers a comprehensive window into employee activities on company devices. This type of software can monitor web browsing, track applications and generally keep tabs on what employees are doing on the clock. The best employee monitoring software includes features like remote viewing of employee sessions, screenshots and keystroke logging. Administrators are often given a great deal of latitude when setting rules and policies; when these are violated, the software will typically generate a notification and record the monitored violation for review.
In our digital world, more employees work on company devices or complete work remotely. Employee monitoring software grants you the transparency to ensure your workers are trustworthy and productive. Choosing the right monitoring software can be a difficult task though, so Business News Daily reviewed the industry's leading software solutions and selected best picks to make your buying journey easier.
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What to Expect in 2019
Employee monitoring is a sensitive subject, and there are varying rules and regulations from state to state. The activity you can monitor is often dependent on whether the device is company owned or employee-owned, whether employees work onsite or remotely, and what type of information you are trying to capture. Federal law is relatively lenient, but many states are implementing restrictions on exactly what type of data employers can collect. Keeping tabs on these in 2019 will continue to be an important factor in how companies craft employee monitoring policies.
Some states, like Delaware and Connecticut, already require employers to notify employees when they are monitoring email or web activity. Others, including Colorado and Tennessee, maintain added protections for public employees. Some states also regulate what kinds of data companies collect; email communications might be okay, for example, but capturing biometric data requires the employee's knowledge and consent. Understanding your state laws, as well as whether any new legislation or legal proceedings are likely in 2019, is critical to ensuring your implementation of employee monitoring software doesn't backfire and trigger a lawsuit.
Further complicating the issue is the increasing tendency for employees to bring their own devices to work. Federally, employers have a great deal of latitude to monitor their own devices operating on their own network. But what about when freelance or remote employees start using their own devices? This case is a little less clear, and experts recommend the cautious crafting of a policy that requires employees to consent to limited data capture and monitoring (with explicit mentions of which data would be captured and for what business purposes) prior to using their own device. Failure to consent to this policy should come with a requirement for that user to work on a company-owned device instead.
To help you find the best employee monitoring software, we researched and analyzed dozens of companies. Here is a roundup of our 2019 best picks and an explanation of how we chose them.
Locating the Best Services
We began our review of employee monitoring software by compiling a list of several dozen companies. This list consisted of companies on our current vendor list, those who had reached out to us asking to be reviewed plus other vendors we learned about.
Choosing the Best Services
With this initial list in hand, next, we combed through company websites, customer reviews and other online review publications before narrowing our list of candidates down to a dozen finalists.
Researching Each Service
After reviewing websites and reviews, we then compared companies against more detailed criteria to narrow the list further. We downloaded free trial software and reviewed video tutorials and training materials to determine how the software performed and what features were available. Our criteria included evaluating the ease of use of the software, the pricing, the activity monitoring features available to business owners and technical support.
Our Best Picks
After reviewing all these factors, we selected five of the finalists as best picks: ActivTrak, ContentProtect, SentryPC, SoftActivity Monitor and Teramind.
February 2020: Although SentryPC's employee monitoring plans each have a maximum number of available screenshots, you can purchase additional screenshot storage for a one-time fee of $19.95 per 500 screenshots. This is beneficial for businesses that need extra screenshot storage but don't want to upgrade to a higher plan.
March 2020: ContentWatch allows users to download a 14-day free trial of ContentProtect. It is as simple as creating an account and downloading the software onto your device. The free trial does not require a credit card on file, so you can truly test out the software risk-free. The free trial is a great way to ensure that it has all of the employee monitoring features you will need.