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The Best Employee Monitoring Software of 2019

The Best Employee Monitoring Software of 2019
Credit: Pressmaster/Shutterstock

Employee monitoring software does a lot. It tracks and records virtually all employee behavior on company devices and during work hours, giving employers a window into just how productive and trustworthy their employees are. Most employee monitoring software solutions also take screenshots, video or both so administrators can review the data for any potential problems. The best solutions will automatically notify admins when something seems suspicious.

The employee monitoring software industry is a crowded field, though, making it difficult to choose the best software for you. To simplify your decision-making process, Business News Daily reviewed the industry's leading software solutions and narrowed them down to our best picks. 

Employee monitoring is a relatively new industry and, as a result, constantly undergoing changes related to new laws, judicial rulings and business experiences. Keeping tabs on these in 2019 will continue to be an important factor into 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.  

Editor's note: Looking for information on employee monitoring software? Use the questionnaire below, and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need.

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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 determine our best picks for employee monitoring software, we reviewed our vendors list of several dozen companies to determine a shortlist of final candidates for consideration. After combing through the vendors list using information from company websites, customer reviews and other online review publications, we narrowed our list of candidates down to 11 leading vendors. Those vendors were SoftActivity Monitor, CleverControl, ContentProtect, Hubstaff, InterGuard, Netvizor, OsMonitor, SentryPC, Teramind, Veriato 360 and WorkTime.

We then reviewed these 11 finalists against more detailed criteria to determine our best picks. We downloaded free trial software and reviewed video tutorials and training materials to determine how the software handled and what features were available. Our criteria included the following:

  • Ease of use: How intuitive is the user interface? Is the software navigable and neatly organized, or does it feel unwieldy or cluttered?
  • Pricing: How did the price of the software stack up to competitors of a similar caliber? What is the company's model, and is it similar to its competitors or unique? If unique, does it benefit customers or make the process more difficult?
  • Activity monitoring features: Which employee monitoring tools are available? Does it include the essentials, like web activity monitoring and email monitoring? What about advanced features, such as video recording, remote access or custom alerts?
  • Productivity monitoring tools: Does the software include a productivity aspect, such as active/inactive time, or is it primarily for monitoring for company violations?
  • Support: What kind of support does the vendor offer, in terms of both technical support and training materials for admins?
  • Limitations: What are the primary limitations of the software compared to its competitors? How does this impact the product as a whole?

After reviewing all these factors, we selected four of the finalists as best picks: ContentProtect, SentryPC, SoftActivity Monitor and Teramind.

Teramind is comprehensive and intuitive employee monitoring software that includes all the essential features, like webpage and program tracking, keystroke monitoring, screenshots, and live chat monitoring. It is versatile and easy to use. Its price tag is on the high end of the range we found in our reviews, but the quality of the software certainly justifies the price. If it's in your budget, Teramind will not only effectively keep tabs on your employees' behavior but make it easy for you to monitor it as well. To find out more about how Teramind works, read our full review here.

SentryPC is our best pick for small businesses because it offers employee monitoring software at a competitive rate without cutting corners on features. It is easy to learn and use, and it includes the essential tools like email monitoring, inactivity alerts and data loss prevention measures. Its pricing model is unique in that it allows you to purchase one license on an annual basis for an upfront price and then additional licenses at a significantly discounted rate. Each license provides access to the full functionality of the software without restricting any features. To learn more about SentryPC, read our full review here.

ContentProtect is our best pick for employee monitoring software specifically for online content filtering. Content filters are aspects of employee monitoring software that warn users before they access questionable content or prohibit users from accessing specific content altogether. ContentProtect has a flexible and easy-to-use content filter that gives administrators a strong degree of control over what online content users can and cannot access. It also notifies administrators anytime a user attempts to work their way around a blocked webpage. To find out more about ContentProtect, read our full review here.

SoftActivity Monitor is our best pick for employee monitoring software for internet management – not only for its useful activity monitoring and content filtering features, but also because of its productivity tools and useful reporting features. SoftActivity Monitor is useful for monitoring every facet of employees' online activities. It captures and logs web browsing, email, live chat and social media activity in an easy-to-review format. It also provides a real-time feed from a user's display to a central dashboard, allowing administrators to take a live look into employee behavior. To learn more about SoftActivity Monitor, read our full review here.

Here is a full list of employee monitoring software and a summary of what each company claims to offer. This alphabetical list also includes our best picks.

CleverControl – CleverControl is cloud-based employee monitoring software with quick and easy installation and the essential tools for ensuring productivity and adherence to company policy. https://clevercontrol.com/

ContentProtect – ContentProtect Pro is a web filtering module of ContentWatch's employee monitoring software suite. It is our best pick for employee monitoring software for content filtering. See our full review or visit https://www.contentwatch.com/l/computer-monitoring-software/.

CurrentWare – CurrentWare is employee monitoring software designed to control internet access and filter content, as well as monitor employee browsing and software usage. https://www.currentware.com/

Cyclope – Cyclope offers employee monitoring software and activity analysis, which helps admins contextualize the data captured by the software. https://www.cyclope-series.com/

Hubstaff – Hubstaff is employee monitoring software that also focuses heavily on time management and employee scheduling, providing a useful solution for multiple HR roles. https://hubstaff.com/

iMonitor EAM – Designed to protect company data and ensure employee productivity and adherence to company policy, iMonitor EAM gives admins access to a central dashboard that oversees the entire staff ecosystem. http://www.imonitorsoft.com/

InterGuard – InterGuard's employee monitoring software aims to gauge productivity, as well as employee compliance with legal guidelines and company policy. https://interguardsoftware.com/

NetVizor – NetVizor focuses on keeping employees on task and productive. It monitors their web browsing, application usage, and social media platforms for distractions and time-wasting. https://www.netvizor.net/

OsMonitor – OsMonitor offers admins insight into employees' screens in real time, as well as the ability to block specific content such as unwanted websites or video games. https://www.os-monitor.com/

Pearl Echo.Suite – Pearl Echo.Suite is billed as web filtering and cybersecurity software that can run on desktops and mobile devices to monitor email, browsing, file transfers and more. https://www.pearlsoftware.com/products/pearlEcho/

SafeSquid – SafeSquid is designed to monitor employee activity and protect networks against malicious software and preventable attacks. It is billed as a scalable solution that can grow with your business. https://www.safesquid.com/

SentryPC – SentryPC is affordable yet robust employee monitoring software that blends an inexpensive and flexible pricing model with comprehensive activity monitoring features. It is our best pick for employee monitoring software for small businesses. See our full review or visit https://www.sentrypc.com/.

SoftActivity Monitor – SoftActivity Monitor is an employee monitoring software solution that excels at internet management. It is our best pick for employee monitoring software for internet management. See our full review or visit https://www.softactivity.com/activity-monitor/.

StaffCop – StaffCop is full-featured employee monitoring software that runs the gamut from screenshot capture and keylogging to file transfer monitoring. It is a complete solution that offers admins a great deal of influence over employee activity. https://www.staffcop.com/

Teramind – Teramind is our best overall pick for employee monitoring software. It offers an intuitive user experience and one of the most comprehensive sets of features and tools for keeping tabs on your employees. To find out more about Teramind, read our full review or visit https://www.teramind.co/.

Veriato 360 – Veriato 360 focuses on granting administrators visibility into employee activity data, as well as control over what they can and cannot do online. It is a flexible system that allows you to tailor the parameters to your organization. https://www.veriato.com/products/veriato-360

Websense Web Filter – Websense Web Filter by Forcepoint is focused on the online content filtering side of the employee monitoring equation, ensuring that employees do not access prohibited or time-wasting content while using company devices or during the workday. https://www.websense.com/content/web-filter-demo.aspx

Work Examiner – Work Examiner offers a 30-day free trial, one of the longest in our reviews. It includes surveillance and web usage controls, as well as time-tracking software for employee management. https://www.workexaminer.com/

WorkPuls – WorkPuls is time-tracking and employee monitoring software designed to be easy to learn and use. It keeps tabs on employee productivity and helps manage scheduling of workload. https://www.workpuls.com/

Editor's note: Looking for information on employee monitoring software? Use the questionnaire below, and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need.

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Ready to choose an employee monitoring software solution? Check out the rest of our coverage:

Adam C. Uzialko

Adam C. Uzialko, a New Jersey native, graduated from Rutgers University in 2014 with a degree in Political Science and Journalism & Media Studies. In addition to his full-time position at Business News Daily and Business.com, Adam freelances for a variety of outlets. An indispensable ally of the feline race, Adam is owned by four lovely cats.