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looking for PC monitoring software

Posted on 2011-03-08
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Last Modified: 2013-12-07
Hi everyone, the Boss of a small company wants to find some software that can track individual PC’s in the office in terms of how many minutes staff are on certain web pages/ or games etc. The software should be running in the background.

Can anyone recommend a software that can meet the requirements?
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Question by:brothertu
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Expert Comment

by:jfranco123
ID: 35075407
Check out this link I believe it will help http://www.monitortools.com/
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 20 total points
ID: 35075435
Installing software on the client PCs is not, generally, most effective.  I would suggest looking at a gateway based solution.  Many BUSINESS CLASS routers can provide this, though often requiring software add-ons that are not (usually) free.

You can look at using a forwarder service like OpenDNS (and I believe Google offers something similar) as well.

And another product you can look into is GFI's WebMonitor - http://www.gfi.com/internet-monitoring-software
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by:jrwarren
jrwarren earned 80 total points
ID: 35075609
I agree with Leew.
   Some of the best monitoring comes from appliances and not software on the client machine.

If the intent is to monitor and log actions internal to the client machine/desktop then you may need to delve into installs on the individual pcs.  Examples would be : How long did they play minesweeper, how long did they stare at the same screen and not type anything or move the mouse, how long did they watch the screensaver as they played mp3s from their local drive or cds in the cd player, etc.  Or even delving further into what keys were pressed and when...

If the intent is to monitor what websites they visited, if they are using ports ; 1119, 3724, 6112, 6113, 6114, and 4000 (common ports for World of Warcraft) or p2p filesharing or similar activities the best method is an appliance device.  

  These devices usually take the place of the firewall on your edge and offer NAT and routing through the modem, CSU/DSU, etc.

A very reliable device that I have deployed many times is the Calyptix AE series.  Depending on how many clients you have connecting is the version you need to purchase.
   It is a firewall, NAT, IDS/IPS, E-Mail spam filter, VPN, IPSec appliance all-in-one, so it adds more functionality than just monitoring of traffic.
It has configurable reports and graphing for ease of use and determination of useage.

One of the nifty features - It has the ability to create a 'work' and off-hours schedule set of rules for the firewall.   One customer has the Business hours rules set to allow internal machines the ability to access ONLY 20 or so websites.  It refuses connections to any external source except those specifed websites, which are used for work.  After-hours they are generous enough to allow access to several gaming portals, facebook and other known sites that are requested and trusted, while still refusing any communication to exit the network requesting anything not specifically allowed.

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aleghart earned 130 total points
ID: 35075774
SpectorSoft has a software client that meets those requirements.  The business versions report back to a central SQL database, even if the computer is off-site temporarily or permanently.  Pre-built reports were all that I ever needed to pull.

On a couple of occasions I had to run through screen shots.  They play back like a VCR tape with fast-forward, reverse, pause, etc.

Spector360 or SpectorCNE are the business versions.  The other versions are for standalone installations.
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by:sam0x01
sam0x01 earned 20 total points
ID: 35079048
If you are after application usage then

you could look into Survey which is used here. Measures machine utilisation and can report on real (mouse/keyboard activity with focus) application usage. This solution requires a collection server which the clients check in and update their recorded usage.

If you are after simply web usage and analys, assuming you run a proxy server, you could simply use a proxy log analyser to get metrics on this.

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Author Closing Comment

by:brothertu
ID: 35102691
I think Aleqhart's answer is the best match to my case. However I still appreciate other experts' answers for providing me so much information about monitoring, especially Jrwarren. Thanks guys!
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Expert Comment

by:jrwarren
ID: 35105016
Gratz and good luck.
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