Friday AM February 12th, 2010

The makers of computer monitoring software have launched office and network monitoring. Ed Mayberry reports.

Tracking software is being marketed as a solution to increase employee efficiency and protect company assets.  Pandora has launched The Office Software to combat cyberslacking and security risks by limiting Web surfing, online shopping and social network updating.  The company's Ken Shallcross says it has a central dashboard station for management.

"It encompasses and records basically everything that the users do.  The first component is the covert monitor which pretty much records all activity.  It will keep a list of all the Web sites visited, emails, keystrokes, instant messenger chat—every facet of what the employee's doing.  The last thing it also allows you to do is have real-time access to any of the monitor computers.  But, you know, it will obviously also come in handy if you have employees that are doing stuff that they're not supposed to be doing.  You can kind of catch them in the act, red-handed."

In older days, companies allowed some personal phone time, for example.  But Shallcross says there's a difference between checking your personal email to reply to your mother and spending ten minutes of every hour updating Facebook.

"If your employee should be in (a) data-base program that's got customer info and you find out that they're actually, they have YouTube open all day and are basically just watching videos and sending links to their friends, that is the cyberslacking angle of it, and that affects every single business.  Depending on the office setting, there is also always the issue of data loss or internal espionage.  You might have a really bitter employee that's, you know, selling company secrets or harvesting stuff themselves to become one of your own competitors." 

Shallcross says for every eight employees spending one hour a day surfing the Web for personal interest, you have the equivalent of a full-time employee showing up to work and doing nothing.

Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...