What is Monitoring Software and which type is best? A “must read” before you Download Monitoring Software of any kind.
Parental Internet Monitoring Software monitors and records what happens online and on the computer itself. It is used to accurately see exactly what your child, spouse or employees have been up to.
Filtering and blocking software is used to protect younger children. As children get older they want more freedom to use the computer/internet unrestricted. This is where monitoring software comes in. It is a great tool to allow older teens to explore the internet and all its offerings, while still keeping them safe.
There are many different names for this software, a few are:
Computer monitoring software, computer spy software, computer surveillance software, internet monitoring software, key logger software, keystroke recorder software, internet monitoring software, PC monitoring software, remote spy software, spying software and web monitoring software.
The exact features required by the software will vary from person to person depending on their specific needs. However, if you want the best monitoring software that is easy to use, understand and navigate, make sure the following features are included:
Key Stroke Logger
A keystroke logger or Key logger invisibly records exactly what keystrokes are typed on a computer. This allows the person monitoring the computer to know things like user names, chat room names and passwords- even the ones that are starred out. A quality key logger formats the data so it is readable and in the right order. You will find monitoring software that are cheap or even free don’t clean up the backspaces, deletes, spaces etc. making it very messy to go through and understand. Also ensure the key logger can report which programs were used, and when, to record key strokes.
Key Loggers are often called “stealth key loggers”, “invisible key loggers” or “ghost key loggers”, this simply means it works to silently without the user being aware it is there. Obviously all key loggers should work this way.
Not just key stoke recording. Its important the monitoring software allows you to see information in the way its presented, in the correct order and show screen shots of any activity you have highlighted as important. For example, all web pages visited (not just web addresses typed). So be aware, there are some software products that claim they record these things but all they really do is record keystrokes which can be extremely confusing and time consuming to go through.
The best monitoring software applications take screen shots which allow you to see exactly what pages have been accessed rather than just a list of the website names This is set by a timer which will take screen shots at certain intervals set by you. This can easily become overwhelming & time consuming to sort through if set at minimal intervals. The best monitoring software also allows you to trigger the screen shots with word alerts- when a word is used, the software will instantly start taking screen shots.
The best monitoring software should be able to record and track general computer program activity like games, spreadsheets, documents, data bases etc. Also, any downloads that have been made on the computer, including Peer-to-Peer and file transfers.
Monitoring Software that records complete email messages (inbound and outbound), not just who they are from or to. This will help ensure that your kids or employees are not receiving emails with harmful or inappropriate content or downloads.
Keyword Detection Recording
Monitoring Software that can set keyword “alerts” is a must. For example if “drugs” or “stealing” were the keywords, when these are searched or found on a web page the software would then start recording.
Social Network Recording
Records all exchanges of information put on sites like Facebook & MySpace. It also allows you to see both sides of Instant Messaging and Chat Room exchanges. you’ll see the date, start time, end time, participants, and entire contents of chats and instant message conversations. This is an important feature because use of Instant Messages for day-to-day communication is increasing. Unlike email, Instant Messages are seldom saved, and even if they are, they’re only stored on the computer where they’re easily deleted.
Remote Data Access
Monitoring Software Comparisons show regardless on who you are trying to monitor – your children, spouse or employees, remote data access is a must, as you are going to want to view the recorded information often, and generally when they may actually be on the computer. There’s really not much point in monitoring software if you can only access the information from the computer being monitored.
Remote Data Access allows you to access recorded date remotely from another source.
The two main types of remote data access are:
Data Access via email- Where you are sent emails with updates and information you have labeled as important. The disadvantage with this is your email access may again be on the computer being monitored and will not be in real time. Also depending on the information you have flagged as important you could be getting quite a lot of information to go through.
Data access via website- This is the only way to go, as it allows you to gain access to the recorded information via online means like a password protected website. Hence, you can be seeing exactly what someone is using the computer for, at the same time. With today’s technology it’s safe, convenient and easy.
Remote Control Access
Like above, remote “control” access means you do not have to be on the computer being monitored to adjust the settings, you can do it remotely. Through internet access you can access the control panel of the monitoring software remotely, and change or customize the settings from anywhere.
Stealth Mode (Invisibility)
Before you download monitoring software, you must ensure it has stealth mode (completely undetectable by the end user) a critical feature for most people. While people with very young kids may not need this, if you want to see what the person you’re monitoring does when (they think) no one is looking, you need a program that runs entirely in the background, invisibly, that cannot be accessed or manipulated.