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Logging employee entry and exit details via a website?

Posted on 2008-10-30
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Last Modified: 2013-12-07
Dear Gurus,
 
My client owns a company which has about 3000 employees. All employees work off satellite offices. Every satellite office has one employee. My client needs to keep tab of when every employee comes in to office and leaves. The connectivity from satellite office varies from 128 kbps to higher.

My Solution: I am thinking of creating a Active Directory domain (windows server 2003), create IDs for every employee, host a website with IIS, and extract login and logout details per user. The server would be a Intel dual-core with 6 GB RAM and about 500 GB to start with.

Is it even possible to extract first login and last logout details this way? What happens when a employees logs out during lunch or gets disconnected from the site? Will IIS rewrite the log a relogin as first login? how do we tackle this? Client would like to be able to extract a report of first login and last logout by himself... do we have an script or a third-party app which could do this? Also, I would appreciate if you could tell me what should be the websites internet pipe? For 3000 users logging in, would a 2 MBPS link suffice? The website is only used for logins and serves no other purpose.

Do we have any other alternate solution? I also thought about RADIUS but it does not fit into this requirement. Or could a ISP provide us logins, host a website and provide login/logout details? Any other viable solution?

Please advice.
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Question by:Mir Ali
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17 Comments
 
LVL 51

Accepted Solution

by:
Ted Bouskill earned 1000 total points
ID: 22847646
Websites can't be used to track activity because it's actually not a true client/server application.  A browser requests a page, the page is sent, then the browser disconnects from the website.  There is NO way to know when the user closes the browser.  A number of times on this website I've answered questions about tracking activity on websites and after a long discussion they eventually realize I'm correct.

Simply tracking login/logout isn't really valuable because I can think of many ways to setup a service to log me in and out without being in front of my computer.

The only low-cost way I can think of doing this is setting up messenger accounts for all the staff then writing an application that uses the messenger API to track the time they are logged into their computer.  Even then they could fool the system but it would keep your client happy.

I've worked in many service businesses that bill hours to clients and seen many sophisticated client server applications to track time.  None are able to prevent fraud.  Ultimately anybody who is lazy can find a way to beat any system.  Unless you capture every keystroke and grab regular screenshots how do you know someone isn't just sitting at their desk randomly pressing keys?

Ultimately unless you sit and watch staff all day every day how do you know they are working?

Thank goodness I don't work for that company.  It makes me sad to think there are companies out there like it.
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Author Comment

by:Mir Ali
ID: 22848762
Thank you for your view, Ted. Do you think having a RADIUS server is an option? Or do we have any third-party applications which could help me out?
0
 

Author Comment

by:Mir Ali
ID: 22848769
Ted, I should tell you that I'm shocked to hear my "bright idea" will not work. Relived that I did not implement the solution.... glad I approached to you guys.
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LVL 51

Expert Comment

by:Ted Bouskill
ID: 22851174
RADIUS might work if it collects audit logs for login/logout activity.  I'm don't know if you can get to the data for it.

Otherwise, a simple timesheet billing application might work.  Some can be installed at the Administrator level so that the regular users (who aren't Administrators) can't uninstall it but it will log their hours regularly as soon as they sign in.  Lawyers and Engineers use software like that to track their hours.  Any hours not billable to a client is overhead, but it does track their time.  It's been 16 years since I worked in Engineering so any software I could recommend for that purpose would have changed by now.
0
 

Author Comment

by:Mir Ali
ID: 22851593
Ted, my initial plan was to create a Active Directory domain and use IIS to log first log in and last log out. I'm looking at all kinds of third-party solutions and none seems to be 'fitting the bill'
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LVL 51

Expert Comment

by:Ted Bouskill
ID: 22853773
Is each client computer Windows?
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Author Comment

by:Mir Ali
ID: 22855808
Yes. All client computers are on Windows 2000/XP.
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LVL 51

Expert Comment

by:Ted Bouskill
ID: 22864828
All logon/logoff activity can be configured to appear in the 'Security' section of the 'Event Viewer' in Windows.  I've seen articles online for converting those events into entries in SQL databases.
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Author Comment

by:Mir Ali
ID: 22885592
Do we have any alternate third-party solution?
0
 
LVL 51

Expert Comment

by:Ted Bouskill
ID: 22888240
No recent ones.  It's been 16 years since I worked in Engineering when I used any automated billing applications.
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Author Comment

by:Mir Ali
ID: 22893378
Since we have not reached any solution, I'm going to pull my question off this if I do not hear from anybody in the next 24 hours.
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LVL 51

Expert Comment

by:Ted Bouskill
ID: 22898142
If you read the support and FAQ's for EE awarding points isn't always about receiving a solution.  Sometimes the answer is 'No' or you have to do follow up yourself.

I answered your original question which was 'No' a website cannot be used to achieve your goals.
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Author Comment

by:Mir Ali
ID: 22902061
I agree. I'm in touch with Quest and they're providing me a web-based solution... i managed to get hold of 3-4 thirdparty vendors who do these services. Quest charges $15 a month for this service and are working up the pricing for a 3000 user environment. I'll post more details when I get more details.
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Author Comment

by:Mir Ali
ID: 22957216
Quest has agreed to provide me their software TimeForce. The software lease would be for one year and they would also host the website and do system maintanence (server and report backups). We are still finilizing the pricing but they vary as they charge depending on number of licenses.
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LVL 51

Expert Comment

by:Ted Bouskill
ID: 22957523
Once again.  I answered your original question correctly and recommended you find a 3rd party solution which you did.  I deserve the points.
0
 

Author Comment

by:Mir Ali
ID: 22957598
I agree and I truly appreciate you being on this question all along. But in my question, I did ask for a third-party solution and at the end, I got one myself. Since we both did our work, would you mind if I split the points between us?
0
 
LVL 51

Expert Comment

by:Ted Bouskill
ID: 22957678
Well technically you asked two questions in one.  The second part should have been in another question.  I feel I deserve the points.
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