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SentryPC Review

Best Employee Monitoring Software for Small Businesses

A Business News Daily Review

Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more.

After conducting extensive research and analysis, we recommend SentryPC as our pick for the best employee monitoring software for small businesses. You can find our methodology for selecting best picks and a comprehensive list of employee monitoring software vendors on our best picks page.

The cost of many of the best employee monitoring software often exceeds what small businesses can afford. While many offer seemingly affordable rates of about $10 per user per month, they also come with high minimum user requirements that drive the total cost up. For a small business with few employees, it can be difficult to find the right product.

Luckily, SentryPC solves that problem by eliminating user minimums and providing annual subscription rates that many small businesses may find manageable. It is also suitable for larger companies, offering pricing tiers that appeal to businesses both large and small. SentryPC's ease of use, strong feature set and affordable pricing without any user minimums set it apart from the competition, especially for small businesses.

SentryPC offers flexible pricing plans for businesses of all sizes. And the best news for small businesses is the ability to purchase a single license for a flat annual rate. Each additional license is steeply discounted from the initial rate as well, making it a scalable solution that won't cut too deeply into a small business's budget.

  • Basic Plan: One license, up to 500 screenshots. $59.95 per year and $19.95 per year for each additional license.
  • Business 50: 50 licenses, up to 500 screenshots. $995 per year and $19.90 per year for each additional license.
  • Business 100: 100 licenses, up to 1,000 screenshots. $1,595 per year and $15.95 per year for each additional license.
  • Business 250: 250 licenses, up to 1,000 screenshots. $2,995 per year and $11.98 per year for each additional license.
  • Business 500: 500 licenses, up to 2,000 screenshots. $3,995 per year and $7.99 per year for each additional license.
  • Business 1,000: 1,000 licenses, up to 2,000 screenshots. $4,995 per year and $4.99 per year for each additional license.

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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SentryPC offers a host of tools and features for monitoring employee behavior and activity, such as recording an employee's internet browsing history and live chat sessions, tracking what, if any, files were transferred and noting the physical location of monitored devices.

There are also real-time alerts that notify admins of misbehavior. And even if the designated admin doesn't see the alert until well after it was triggered, SentryPC thoroughly documents screenshots for easy review after the fact.

Here's more about the monitoring tools SentryPC offers:

  • Applications: The Applications tab shows which applications a user launched and at what time. You can also monitor which software the user is frequently using and determine whether it is work related.
  • Chats: This tool allows administrators to view any chats the user has engaged in, along with a timestamp, the sender, the messenger applications used and a transcript of the chat conversation.
  • Clipboards: Clipboards allow administrators to see any material copied to the Windows clipboard, along with a timestamp.
  • Events: Events discloses a number of actions on the part of the user, including printer usage, the opening of a new window in a browser or navigation to a particular website. It is essentially an overview of how a user is operating a device.
  • Files: This tool shows the employee's action regarding any file stored on their device along with a corresponding timestamp. For example, if a user deletes a file, administrators can see which file was deleted at what time. Likewise, files that are copied, printed, renamed or newly created are also recorded by SentryPC.
  • Keystrokes: This tool logs and displays a user's keystrokes, noting the program, the time and a transcript of what was written. For example, if a user writes down a phone number in a Word document, administrators see what keystrokes occurred in Microsoft Word at the given date and time.
  • Locations (IP): The IP-tracking tool follows your users' devices and logs their latitude and longitude, automatically identifying the city they are in during usage. Like all other tools, each log is timestamped.
  • Portable drives: This feature keeps track of when any portable drives are inserted into a monitored device.
  • Print jobs: Print jobs can also be tracked and timestamped. When a user sends a file to print, SentryPC logs the complete pathway.
  • Screenshots: Administrators can access screenshots from any monitored device, storing up to 500 screenshots in the archive. Each screenshot is timestamped and sorted by both user and device.
  • Sessions: This tool shows user activity and idle time during each session. It breaks down full sessions between active and idle time, showing you just how engaged a user was, and each session is logged with a timestamp.
  • Websites: Any websites a user visits on a monitored device are tracked by username and device. The software times the duration of website visits and records the date and time at which the site was accessed.
  • Windows: The Windows activity monitoring tool shows any new windows the user opens, and it is sortable by user, device, timestamp and window title.

SentryPC offers several useful reporting features, including a breakdown of all the top alerts that occur, which allows admins to review general user activity or more specific activity, such as the most frequently used applications or chat tools. SentryPC also provides device status reports that monitor the health of all devices that are licensed and synced with the software. And SentryPC's reports can be customized.

The time-management tools allow administrators to set maximum hours of work on a daily and weekly basis, making SentryPC a safeguard or backup to time and attendance tools to ensure employees don't work overtime. Admins can also set an alert period.  For example, they can create an automatic alert half an hour before an employee hits their time limit. Each user can be configured differently, which is especially useful when managing freelancer budgets and remote workers in different time zones.

SentryPC can be used secretively or out in the open. If you are monitoring employees on company devices, enabling stealth mode allows you to run the SentryPC agent behind the scenes, so users are unaware they are being monitored. However, if you allow employees to bring their own device or frequently work with freelancers, you will likely need consent to monitor your employees on the clock. Confirmation mode explicitly shows users they are being tracked while it is engaged and tracks their time on the clock as well. In this mode, the program ceases to monitor activity on the user's device when the software is exited. Stealth mode, on the other hand, constantly runs in the background of the device, monitoring any and all activity in perpetuity.

SentryPC hosts an integrated support section with documentation to assist you with installing the program, troubleshooting or learning more about how the software works. Of course, you can always contact the company directly, and the online ticket system is generally the best method to reach SentryPC's support team, but it could take some time to receive a response. Simple, immediate issues are best resolved by referring to the documentation provided within the software.

For an inexpensive employee monitoring software, SentryPC delivers a high level of functionality. Its major limitation, however, is tech support. While the company provides a great deal of documentation and how-to guides, it really leaves users to figure out the finer points of the software on their own. If tech support is needed, customers must use the ticket system. For urgent issues, customers could be left waiting some time for a response.

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 and media studies. He reviews healthcare information technology, call centers, document management software and employee monitoring software. In addition to his full-time position at Business News Daily and Business.com, Adam freelances for several outlets. An indispensable ally of the feline race, Adam is owned by four lovely cats.