Best employee monitoring software [2020 Guide]

Radu Tyrsina
by Radu Tyrsina
Founder & Editor-in-Chief
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best employee monitoring tools

Still not convinced you should buy an employee monitoring tool? Here’s why you actually should.

Main reasons for using employee monitoring software

Emails are the primary source of data breaches for companies because employees have to exchange information through business correspondence, so it’s crucial to secure and track data when you are required to comply with HIPAA laws, GRAMA requests, and FINRA regulations.

There are some simple email surveillance solutions available on the market that will help you monitor employees’ emails to make sure that critical data is nor being shared purposely or inadvertently. Employee monitoring programs include email-monitoring abilities and more tools for monitoring other activities of the employees while they’re doing their jobs.

Another central aspect of employee monitoring software is the capacity to check their activity while using the company’s equipment such as its laptops and desktops. Such solutions will be able to let you see which websites are being accessed by your employees, who are the employees that usually download files and when they connect or remove USB drives.

These tools will also be able to alert you when particular keywords are being searched that require concern from your company and these include job searching, pornography search or searches related to competitive contacts.

The best tools for monitoring the workplace will offer you administrative control that will allow you to block such kinds of activities and to also restrict access to inappropriate or unsecured websites. You can successfully use tools for monitoring your employee’s work for finding out what an employee is up to these days.

What should you take into consideration legally and technically speaking?

Monitoring employees’ emails may seem an infringement of employees’ privacy, but the US Supreme Court ruled back in 2010 that it is legal for organizations and companies to monitor the actions of employees while they’re at work and while they’re using the business’ equipment. This includes pagers, laptops, USB drives and mobile devices. Programs for monitoring key logs and for capturing passwords can be used even if there is some ethical controversy around the subject of their usage.

It is important to remember that the federal government doesn’t place restrictions on employee internet monitoring. On the other hand, there are some individual states that put protection first.

More and more states are currently requiring employees to notify their workers in case their company monitors employees’ online activity and this includes keystrokes and emails. Such notifications can be disclosed within the employee handbook or as an email reminder.

Stealth mode vs. transparent mode

When employers are using such monitoring tools, they can choose the option of using them stealth or transparent mode.

Stealth mode is also known as silent mode, and this means that the employees cannot see the fact that they’re being monitored. High-quality monitoring tools will run unseen and undetected by employees.

The transparent mode of surveillance will allow your employees to see the surveillance program on their systems. Such software requires installation on each individual computer including the administrative portal. This will not be as easy as stealth mode since the admins will have to check each and every single report from each system to see how the employees are doing.

How do monitoring tools work?

Employee tracking tools must be installed on multiple systems including a central station in case employers want them to go undetected by users. In order for this type of tool to work properly, you must first turn off the firewall, and it will be turned back on once the installation process is complete.

On the other hand, it is virtually impossible for the program to work without additional patches and programming to enable PC-monitoring software to work around the program. This will puncture a hole in the security system, and it will make the network vulnerable to all kinds of malware, viruses, spyware and so on.

Be cautious at viruses in disguise

You should be aware of the fact that there are many employee-surveillance tools that are actually viruses in disguise and while they may give you keylogging and password-capturing capabilities, they’ll also collect the data behind the scenes and sell it to breach the organization’s security. Most of the tools for monitoring employee activity can work around the firewall, but it is still possible that some threats pass through undetected.

Deploying the software: Cloud and on-premises

Another important aspect to consider is the way that you are implementing the software. On-premises is the most commonly used option, and most tools offer it. This will allow you to host the program and the data it collects on your own server. This solution requires a bit more IT knowledge, and it can take longer to set up. Cloud solutions, on the other hand, are easier to manage and they can be set up quicker than the on-premises deployment.

Solutions that suit your needs

Parental software and monitoring software are two solutions that monitor personal computer usage. They are both installed and used on a single computer, and they don’t pose the same threats as the email surveillance tools, for instance, that we already said work around firewalls.

Monitoring software and parental software come with additional options that are designed to prevent cyber attacks along with tools for monitoring children and spouses when they go online.

There are lots of businesses that are also on the lookout for email software and for apps that monitor outbound and inbound messages for spyware, viruses, and Trojans.

There’s also email encryption software that can safeguard personal data and critical information when it is transmitted to third-party recipients. Such tools will make sure that the sensitive data is only accessed and used by individuals who really need the info while also keeping it as secure as possible.


Employees’ behaviors are unpredictable and with the help of these great tools you will be able to increase their efficiency at work and your business’ overall productivity. Browse through all of them and choose your favorite one, according to your needs. We guarantee the high quality for all the tools we have discussed above for monitoring your employees’ activity at work.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2017 and has been since updated for freshness, and accuracy.