Have you ever wondered whether you should monitor your employee’s computer use? Are you on the fence, feeling as though it’s a workplace violation of privacy while also wanting to protect each technology asset that your company owns?

There is no quick answer regarding whether you should monitor employee’s computer use. Doing so is not a violation of workplace privacy and you have every right to protect your technology, data, software, networks, and IT system – but doing so often comes at a cost.

We’re going to take a further look into why you should or shouldn’t monitor the use of computer resources, the legality of computer monitoring, and the types of technology you may wish to employ. Keep reading for more information! 

Benefits of Monitoring Employee Workstation Activity

There are several reasons that you may choose to monitor your employee’s workstation activity. You may simply wish to review employee use of company computer assets, or you may have other questions regarding the sites visited by employees or their overall use of technology during the workday. 

When you choose to monitor your employees’ online you’ll see if they’re using company time to access their personal e-mail, unrelated Internet sites, social media, or performing various other tasks that interfere with their job. These types of activities decrease productivity and can create a dishonest work environment.

Along the same lines, when you choose to track the use of company computers, you’ll also have an easier time cross-checking the number of hours worked, daily attendance, and possibly learn of any training opportunities. 

Monitoring in the workplace allows business owners and managers to track and manage bandwidth while also minimizing the potential for data loss and costly breaches in cybersecurity. You will also be able to quickly see if a computer has been infected with a virus or malware, if employees are sharing trade secrets, and whether customer data is being misused. 

Drawbacks of Employee Monitoring

Although there are many options for strict monitoring in the workplace, you may wish to keep activity tracking minimal to avoid employees feeling as though they’re being spied on or micromanaged.

Employees may feel as though their privacy is being violated or devalued with any type of monitoring techniques; some may quit because of them. Additionally, employees may feel as though there is a lack of trust which can breed resentment and lead to less productivity.

With all of this said, you must ask yourself how employees might respond to computer monitoring and if it is truly needed in your work environment.

Can I Legally Monitor Employee Computer Use?

In the United States, it is completely legal to monitor the use of computer resources within a company if there is valid business reasoning to do so. Some state laws may require the employee to consent to computer monitoring while other states simply require disclosure. 

As an employer, you may monitor employee’s use of e-mail, the internet, downloads, documents, files, and company devices outside of the workplace. Depending on your state, you may also be able to monitor keystrokes, any e-mail sent via your company computer system, and even personal computers are subject to monitoring if the devices are used for work and there is a workplace policy set forth. 

Regardless of legality, it is generally best to tell employees upfront about your company’s computer monitoring policies and how they’re implemented. 

The Use of Technology to Track How Employees Use Computers

As a business owner, you have multiple options when it comes to monitoring the use of computer systems. You may find that one, a few, or all of them combined are an ideal solution to employee monitoring in the workplace:

  • Network firewalls may be used to scan workstations for prohibited content and monitor the traffic connected to each computer; network firewalls will also monitor where/how files are sent and to whom, if a system becomes infected with malware/viruses, and bandwidth used
  • Keystroke loggers – as the name suggests – log each keystroke inputted into a keyboard, including passwords, e-mail content, and search queries
  • Remote screen monitoring allows management to view employees activities on workplace computers, either historically or in real-time
  • Electronic communications monitoring will allow for a business to view any e-mail that is sent via the company’s servers, including those that have been deleted or archived
  • Time tracking software will allow you to see how much time is spent on each project and when an employee is performing unrelated tasks
  • Video surveillance is another form of monitoring that doesn’t involve software being installed to your system but can give you an idea of your employee’s activities

Depending on your organization’s needs, current employees’ use of company computers, and requirements for cybersecurity or data protection, your business may require only one of these monitoring options. It is also entirely possible that your business doesn’t require any type of monitoring solution at all! 

Consider Calling a Professional

If a business chooses to monitor the activities of their employees by installing software or video surveillance, it is advisable to contact an IT professional to find the best course of action. IT companies will not only offer the most updated software options but will also be familiar with the types of monitoring activities that are legal and most often used in your area. 
If you would like to know more about the various software options for monitoring employee computer use, pricing, and how to minimize internal cybersecurity threats that may inadvertently originate with your team, give Techspert Data Services a call today!