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What Monitoring Software do you Use?

Posted on 2014-03-25
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Last Modified: 2015-11-05
I have been looking for a low cost way to record live screenshots on remote machines.

I really don't need keylogging, or any of the other utilities / features that tend to come with monitoring suites.  I just need the screenshots, recorded as often as possible.

I know this could eat up some storage, but I've got plenty.

My primary purpose for this isn't to be Big Brother, rather I don't have a QA or Test team for my POS/CRM system that is developed in house (it's all on me).

Users will sometimes do goofball things in the system, and for the life of me I can't figure out how they did it!

So, I want to be able to record their screens so I can go back and review their actions at a later point and see where the holes in my UI / Code are...

A full monitoring solution, like Specter 360, would work well, but it's darned expensive!

I was wondering what other options you all may use or be aware of!

Thanks in advance!
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Question by:englanddg
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Accepted Solution

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btan earned 500 total points
ID: 39955755
Maybe below

a) ObserveIT Xpress - Free version for life, with 24-hour replay limit.

http://www.observeit.com/Products/Versions
http://www.observeit.com/Products/How_It_Works

Record: Generating logs and capturing video
ObserveIT captures a detailed textual log plus video recording of every user action. Logs are generated for every application, even those that don’t have their own internal logs. These logs avoid the technical mumbo-jumbo of typical system logs, instead showing exactly what the user did (and not just the underlying results). Details include the files opened, windows viewed and specific UI activity, which are then tied to precise video that delivers precise forensic evidence.


b) iSpy - http://www.ispyconnect.com/features.aspx#work

Work Monitoring Suspect that your employees are skylarking on the internet when they should be working? Install iSpyServer on their computers and setup a video feed of their desktop - you can password protect it and leave it running in the background. Hey presto - you can now sign in from anywhere in the world and watch a live feed of exactly what they're working on!
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Expert Comment

by:Gerald Connolly
ID: 39955906
VNC, i use the UltraVNC version www.uvnc.com
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Author Comment

by:englanddg
ID: 39958030
@Gerald Connolly

I want to record sessions that I am not actively connected to the client on.

I'll give you an example of why...

I have a POS / CRM that is in house developed and supported (by me).  There are reasons why we use it, which I won't get into in detail, but the flexability controlling our own source grants us to control business practices and behaviors is a major reason.

But, the point is, that's what we use.

I have a specific form that users go to in order to set up an initial customer and their product.  It's not simple data entry (though some of it is).

Anyhow, it's not the cleanest code (I know this, but I'm a one man IT shop...I can only spend so much time cleaning up and designing code, and since the business makes on the whim decisions and demands pretty much immediate results, I don't have the luxury of "slowing things down", as I'd like).

Anyhow, what happens is, every now and then, something misfires in my java.  Not sure what it is...or what causes it...and I can't replicate it (I've tried over and over again).

So, with a bit over 2600 lines of code (all combined for that application) and several dozen controls, I'm left basically guessing as to what the agent did.

The errors are easy to fix, and since I also control the Accounting debt, I have labor in place to fix them (among other things).

But, I'd like to find the root cause.

Now, if I could pin it down to one user that made the error a lot, I would.  But, I can't.  It's random, and pops up only a few times a month.  But, there are financial repercussions for it, and I'd like to eliminate it.

So, I was looking for a way to record what all my users are doing (or a large batch of them) and archive it so I can get more information to track it down.

A lot of the objects on the page are interdependant.  If it's this company, then offer these plans and do these other dozen things.  The business logic...frankly...is insane.  And, to make matters worse, they keep changing it on me.

But, if I could at least see how users are using my UI, I can then make impactful changes (tabs, organization, presentation, etc...etc...) to mitigate these issues.

However, there's no way they'd spend Spectersoft type money on this...even though there is a benefit.
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Author Comment

by:englanddg
ID: 39958031
@breadtan

Thanks for the suggestions!
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Expert Comment

by:btan
ID: 39958628
Sure then probably non invasive will be much better accepted as another means to "UAT" the customised s/w for their use. The ObserveIT express is for only small pool user hence if $$ is alright it can be extended else may be to trial it first to see if it helps in your "UAT".

I was even thinking whether there is some sort of automated test script to run in multiple machine just to verify that UI usage and functional test, so as to surface "unexpected" sequence of logic and usage to sieve out "anomalous" behaviour. Can be tough since we are testing of unknown expected outcome - waiting to strike lottery sense....nonetheless, s/w test tool tend to $$ but there are some free one like Jmeter simulating web call client shooting GET and POST etc
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Author Closing Comment

by:englanddg
ID: 41196648
observeit is good stuff, but expensive.
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