How to Monitor User Traffic on the
It is often said that the biggest white
collar crime is the use of internet for personal reasons on
the job. Many
business owners would like to track employee computer usage
anonymously. There are several methodologies to assess
employee internet usage.
There are many ways to monitor
a user’s workstation
profile, an Internet proxy package, server folder/file
auditing, email scanning and complete workstation
Internet access and traffic is one of
the most popular areas employers seek to monitor. Here are a
few steps you can use to find some information pertaining to
Internet usage on a Windows PC. The way to accomplish this
is to scan the user’s profile on their workstation. Anyone
who logs into a Windows machine has a personal profile that
keeps track of information pertaining to their use.
You will need each employee’s password or the
ability to access their profile and you can quickly monitor
browse through their profile.
Simply open their Internet browser and look through
their history. It will keep a week’s worth of history or
more depending on how it is set in the options. If the
history has been deleted, you can check at the Cookies and
Temporary Internet Files.
Access this folder
by going to the options in Internet Explorer and viewing the
files. Under Internet Explorer 7 you would go to Tool >
Internet Options > Brower History > Settings > View Files.
Users are becoming more and more
computer savvy so with a quick search on any search engine
they can easily find the two or three step process to clear
all of this information. That is when we will need to
proceed to the next level of traffic monitoring.
A proxy server is an easy and fairly
inexpensive way to monitor traffic on your network.
Depending on the depth and intricacies of what you are
looking for will dictate the price you pay for a packaged
software solution. A proxy is a software or hardware package
that is used to funnel all Internet traffic going out to the
Internet on your network. Depending on how your network is
setup it can be configured to use the username that the
employee is using to track all internet use.
This will allow you to easily run a daily, weekly, or
monthly report on all employees or just specific employees
that you would like to see. The proxy will provide at least
the base information of who, when, and where they went. A
proxy can also be used to set access lists that can prevent
employees from going to sites that are not specific to the
business they are involved in.
Server auditing can also be setup if
have a server to monitor all user access to files and
folders on your server systems. You can set it on all
folders or specific folders depending on how much
information you want to track. This is useful if you need to
make sure that unwanted file access is not taking place or
that an employee isn’t involved in possible data theft by
copying files down to their local workstation for easy
removal from your system.
Another key area to monitor is employee
email. It is very simple to setup a Yahoo or Google email
account and email yourself documents through the internal
system. If you have a proxy in place or web traffic access
list software package you can eliminate access to these
online email portals. Otherwise you have some options when
it comes to email to monitor what’s going on. If your mail
is hosted with an Internet service provider you have the
ability to CC yourself on all incoming mail to that account.
If you host your own email using Exchange or some
other corporate email you have many more options available.
There are third party vendors that can provide software that
will allow you to setup conditions to route both incoming
and outgoing mail to whoever you want whenever you want.
This way you can setup up for any mail coming or going to a
certain employee to be forwarded to your mailbox.
Last there is a great program that I
have used on countless occasions and it encompasses
everything I have written about above. It is called Spector
and it is $100.00 per workstation that you want to put it
on. Hands down it is the best spy program that I have used
to monitor workstation traffic. It is a stealth running
program and doesn’t inhibit the performance of the machine
what so ever. The advanced user will not know that it is
running on their machine. Here are a few items you can
shots of the machine at an interval you can set to allow you
to a see a timeline and what the use was actually doing.
any site you choose to limit
all keystrokes and tells you what program they were keyed in
all chat software and keeps a log of all conversations that
have taken place
all Internet sites
Employers can arm themselves with tools
to monitor employee use of company property.
Be sure to ensure you have broad and clear internet
and workstation usage polices presented to your staff.