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 0312 Why Monitoring Software   

Why Monitoring Software

By Madison Police Department Technology Committee

Today, many homes have more than one computer. Despite this fact, multiple individuals often share a single PC. Ultimately, the computer owner is the person that is legally responsible for all software installations, music downloads and other contents stored on the computer. But monitoring software is a great way to help stay aware of what is happening on a machine as well as mitigate any potential legal problems.

What to Look for in Monitoring Software
Online monitoring:
  The software should have the ability to detect when a PC user accesses a social networking website like Twitter or Facebook. Some monitoring applications can capture blog posts, usernames and even passwords. Recording the transcripts of conversations that occur via chat and instant messaging clients is a frequently sought-after feature.  Additional elements to consider are the tracking of file downloads, email correspondences, email attachments and web-based email. Parents especially might appreciate the ability to keep track of their child’s internet access, filter content, block websites and log chat conversations as monitoring apps may help protect from internet predators and cyber-bullies.

PC monitoring and administration: Computer owners may want the ability to control the PC remotely. Common remote commands include the ability to disable or enable software, restart the computer or freeze the mouse.

Filtering and blocking: Ensure the monitoring solution you select has some type of filtering and/or blocking capabilities. These components can prevent users from executing applications, accessing pornography and even social networking websites.

Reporting: Monitoring applications can log enormous amounts of information. A badly designed reporting interface can make even the most robust applications useless.  Reports should be easy to navigate. It is common for the software to have multiple built-in report features as well as the ability to perform custom searches.

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