Is there a clearly definable difference between spying on your employees and tracking their performance? It’s a debate that continues to rage, but doesn’t in any way detract from the value and importance of effective employee tracking software.
In this post, we’ve covered various employee monitoring services and here we’ll be taking a closer look at one of the most popular and feature-packed employee control and tracking systems on the market right now – InterGuard Software. If you’re new to the whole thing, employee monitoring software is designed to capture screen shots, track working time, log keystrokes, record audio and video, read emails, track online browsing activities and prohibit certain actions.
Ultimately, employee tracking software exists to ensure the consistent output and efficiency of both the workforce and the business as a whole. Irrespective of personal opinions on the ethics of employee ‘spying’, a certain level of supervision is necessary to ensure everyone does the job they’re paid to do… and does it properly.
Most InterGuard Reviews suggest this could be the software package for the modern business, but how does InterGuard perform when compared and contrasted with its closest rivals like Teramind?
InterGuard Review - Does It Meet My Employee Monitoring Needs?
Increasingly, InterGuard is being adopted by small and large businesses alike to help managers and supervisors monitor workforce activities. InterGuard is a powerful and dynamic employee monitoring application, which features an extensive range of features and functionalities. It may seem as a little difficult to get used to according to some InterGuard reviews , but this is purely because it brings so many sophisticated features and tracking options to the table. This may be a similar impression as in our Time Doctor review but once you master the software it's easy-peasy.
Once installed, InterGuard enables businesses to track the activities of their employees across web platforms, social media and e-mail. It can be programmed to take automatic screen shots when specific words are either typed by employees or appear on their screens, which is an extremely useful privacy feature. Instances of unusual or suspicious behaviour automatically trigger color-coded alerts, which may include things like excessive printing, unauthorised downloads, failed login attempts and so on.
InterGuard is also useful for businesses looking to track the amount of time their employees spend on a specific job or at their desks in general. The combination of GPS location monitoring and time tracking enables bosses to see where their workers are and whether they’re working, while detecting ‘unproductive’ behavior such as private social media use and job-hunting.
Regardless of business size, the short answer is therefore, yes – InterGuard will most probably meet your employee monitoring needs. The reason being that the suite is heavily customizable and can be used to whatever extent you like, from the most basic time tracking to sophisticated monitoring of employee habits and online activities.
Plus, given the fact that InterGuard is available by way of a subscription package starting from just $8.00 per month, it’s also comprehensively affordable for even the smallest businesses.
InterGuard Employee Monitoring Features
Before going into detail with the features themselves, a quick note on the installation process. There’s an intuitive install wizard that makes the whole thing a walk in the park, taking just a few minutes or so to get the initial files transferred and activated. An automatic restart takes place after all installation files and recent browsing history have been deleted – this is to ensure that the subsequent machine user has no way of detecting that the software has been installed.
Many businesses prefer to install employee tracking software without first informing their workers, though others prefer to let them know they’re being watched. Simply knowing your boss is tracking your movements can be a surprisingly motivating factor, for obvious reasons!
It’s also worth noting that for InterGuard to be able to do its thing, you’ll also need to set an antivirus exclusion – the software being blocked by most antivirus suites by default. If your systems are protected by Ad-Aware, Avast, AVG, Bitdefender, Eset, Kaspersky, McAfee, Norton, Symantec, Trend Micro or Vipre, you’ll need to set a manual exclusion (as indicated in the software’s instructions).
With everything up and running, you begin to get a feel of just how dynamic and sophisticated InterGuard really is. Alongside all the usual features like e-mail monitoring and web activity tracking, you can also use InterGuard to monitor the physical locations of your employees via GPS. Which can be surprisingly useful, if keeping an eye on remote workers and their movements.
A brief summary of some of the key features and functionalities InterGuard brings to the table:
Web Activity Tracking: One of the software’s most important and popular features, which compiles a complete history of the user’s browsing activities, the amount of time they spend on each page, search terms entered, URLs typed, links clicked and so on.
Emails: Along with analysing the content of employee emails and flagging the use of specific words or phrases that may be considered suspicious or dangerous, InterGuard stores data on the e-mail platform the employee is using, the device used and the date and time of each communication.
Social media: InterGuard is an intelligent piece of software that can detect when an individual is using social media for personal reasons when they’re supposed to be working. If they’re using social media for genuine business purposes, this will not be flagged as inappropriate use of company time.
Live chats: Compatibility with an extensive range of live-chat platforms enables InterGuard to monitor employee conversations in real-time. Again, this can be useful for detecting use of suspicious/forbidden language or signs of time wasting.
Print monitoring: A simple yet useful feature, which informs administrators each time a job is sent to a printer, providing information on what is being printed, who is printing it, how many times it has been printed and so on.
File transfers: Every upload and download executed by the machine user is tracked and recorded. The software can also be configured to block certain types of uploads and downloads outright for security purposes.
Alerts: This highlycustomizable feature enables admins to assign color-coded alerts to certain actions and activities, such as accessing specific websites, typing certain words or failed login attempts. All of which helps keep track of suspicious or forbidden activity.
Applications. You can also use InterGuard to monitor your workers’ interactions with the software and applications on their devices, tracking when they were used, how long they were used for, how often they are used and so on.
Keystroke logging: InterGuard keeps track of each and every keypress while active on an employee’s system, meaning workers can be held accountable for every single keystroke and their activities/productivity respectively.
Geolocation: As mentioned, this can be exceptionally useful when supervising remote workers. The IP address or Internet access point of the employee is used to provide an indication of their location, which can be compared with the location they’re supposed to be in at the time.
Screenshot capture: InterGuard can be configured to take screenshots and store them in a compressed form, in order to provide supervisors with confirmation of what is (or was) on the worker’s screen at any given time.
Software blocking: This simply prevents certain programs and applications from being installed and activated on a system in the first place, or automatically shut down if they are opened by the employee.
Automated reporting: InterGuard enables administrators to create a limitless range of customized reports, though also features dozens of pre-set reports for convenience. The data automatically captured by InterGuard can subsequently be presented in a variety of visual formats, such as graphs and productivity charts.
As you can see, InterGuard really isn’t messing about when it comes to features and functionalities. You can use as many or as few of these features as you like, but even the most basic productivity monitoring functionalities are superb.
Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of businesses subscribe to InterGuard for fundamental employee monitoring purposes. InterGuard is one of the most powerful and feature-rich platforms of its kind on the market, though does come with a relatively steep learning curve. 24/7 support is provided for Business Cloud and Enterprise On-Premise subscribers, which is likely to prove useful while getting to grips with its more advanced features.
In any case, the time and effort needed to familiarise yourself with InterGuard is more than worthwhile. This is not just a simple employee monitoring tool – it is an intelligent, intuitive and largely automated internal threat protection system. What’s more, the user interface is actually easier to navigate than it looks, once you’ve spent a couple of days playing around with it.
Time tracking takes place via the ‘Activity’ dashboard, which provides a relatively rudimentary visualisation of the activity of a specific computer, user or group of users during a specific time period. Over in the ‘Recorded Data’ tab, you can customize InterGuard in a variety of ways to capture and store the various types of data. InterGuard is configured to track and monitor inbound and outbound e-mail communications, syncing with major web-based providers like Outlook, Gmail and dozens more besides. Full information of the content of the e-mail is captured, along with any attachments sent or received.
Setting ‘Alert Words’ can be extremely useful – a feature found in most premium quality employee tracking software suites. This is where administrators can simply enter a list of words and phrases, which when detected by the software can trigger alerts, reports or direct actions. If there are certain subjects you’d prefer your employees didn’t discuss or types of data that should not be included in emails for security reasons, you can prevent their use with the Alert Words feature. It’s worth noting at this point that the Alert Words you establish are not limited to e-mail communications – InterGuard’s keyword logging feature picks up on every instance where the word or phrase is typed by an employee.
InterGuard has a ‘Smart Camera’ feature that can be useful in a variety of ways. At its most basic level, the Smart Camera feature can be configured to capture and store shots of the employee’s screen at any time interval, ranging from every 30 seconds to every half hour or so. But what’s particularly interesting is that it doesn’t just present a moderate-quality image of the whole screen. Instead, InterGuard can take more precise and localized images within the screen itself, focusing on certain areas or applications opened at the time.
The combination of key stroke data, screenshots and browser monitoring enables administrators to build a full picture of what the employee was doing at the time in complete context. You can be as heavy handed as you like with your approach to monitoring and tracking employee behaviour – InterGuard making it possible to track their activities literally down to the individual keystroke. As already mentioned, you can also track the documents they are printing, the files they are transferring, the devices they are connecting to their machines and the apps they are using.
Remote Monitoring and Management
Monitoring the activities of remote workers is becoming a necessity for more businesses than ever before. For myriad reasons – most of which financial in nature – businesses are warming to the idea of remote working and allowing greater proportions of their workforces to work from home. A business model that can be beneficial, but also brings clear challenges into the equation.
The good news being that with InterGuard, each and every one of its employee monitoring features and functionalities can be used to track the activities of remote employees.The primary dashboard itself can be accessed by administrators via almost any connected device or computer, in order to monitor activities on machines both inside and outside the office.
Importantly, InterGuard almost entirely negates the need to allocate time and resources to the monitoring and supervision of remote employees in real-time. Simply by configuring appropriate alerts and using its powerful reporting functionalities, almost the entire process of monitoring remote workers’ performance and efficiency can be automated. It can even be configured to issue automated prompts to employees who aren’t making appropriate use of company time.
Cross-compatibility is one of the biggest bonuses of InterGuard, which has been designed to offer a comprehensive range of features across practically all desktop and mobile platforms. From Mac to PC to iOS to Android, you can get the most out of InterGuard with almost any connected device. It can be deployed exclusively on-site for maximum security if preferred, though can also be accessed and used remotely from any location with any compatible device.
If and when the boss is away from the office, he or she can still keep a close watch over every employee from top to bottom.
Notifications and Reports
I also thought it worth discussing the customized notifications and reporting functionalities of InterGuard. Given that you will probably be using them on a near-constant basis to keep tabs on what’s going on, they’re worth a quick overview in this InterGuard review.
As standard, there are around 30 or so pre-set reports built into the system for added convenience. Most of which cover the basics pretty well and can be customized however you like. For example, you could automate a report documenting the most used websites by your employees on the basis of the duration of visits, the most commonly used applications or the triggers that prompt the most screenshot alerts. Basically, anything you want to keep an eye on.
There’s an extremely intuitive wizard that guides you through the process of customizing your reports, during which you can specify how often you want the report to be compiled – every hour, day, week or month. InterGuard reports can also be exported in a variety of formats, at which point they can be automatically emailed to specified recipients.
Customizing reports from scratch appears a pretty daunting prospect at first, but go through the process a couple of times and it’s actually pretty easy. It looks complicated simply due to the extraordinary array of ways your reports can be customized – the report builder itself isn’t complicated at all.
In-fitting with the theme in general, InterGuard is available by way of a bunch of different price plans – getting your head around the options being a little tricky at first. Things get much cheaper (in terms of value for money) for bulk use and volume orders, but InterGuard as a whole isn’t what you’d call an overpriced software suite.
At this point, it’s worth noting that there’s no free trial available as such. You can request a free demo from the folks behind InterGuard, but you can’t just download it and try it out like you can with similar packages.
With the paid packages, things start out with the Business Cloud version at a cost of $8 per employee per month for standard monitoring. The first seven days are free of charge and you can cancel your subscription if you’re not happy during this time. 24/7 support is also offered as standard with most packages, which can be very useful during the early stages in particular.
Additional modules that can be added to the basic package include Mobile Monitoring, Laptop Recovery, Data Loss Prevention and Web Filtering – all ranging from $2.00 to $8.00 per user per month. A single employee monitoring license is currently listed at a price of $156, the Mobile Monitoring client for Android and iOS devices is priced at $150 and web filtering at $29 per license.
All of which can be difficult to make sense of, but the InterGuard guide will happily help you choose your ideal package. Rather than simply attempting to sell you a ton of features and functionalities you won’t need, they instead use an ROI model to determine which of the available options will bring your business consistent and quantifiable benefits. In addition, while opting for everything on offer can jack up the price significantly, setting yourself up with the most basic version of InterGuard can be surprisingly affordable.
InterGuard is one of several employee monitoring systems that claims to be suitable for all businesses of all shapes and sizes. As far as I can see, it’s one of the only software suites of its kind that’s true to its word in this sense. Whether looking to keep tabs on just a handful of employees or entire workforce, InterGuard provides more features and functionalities than you’re ever likely to need.
Admittedly, traversing the initial learning curve is a bit of a challenge, which will probably see you making use of InterGuard’s 24/7 customer support service on a number of occasions. But once you’ve familiarized yourself with the basics, the whole thing really is as simple and intuitive as it gets. When you’ve personalized InterGuard to your requirements and customized its features, it covers a whole world of supervisory responsibilities on your behalf.
Again, I’d like to finish by pointing out that while InterGuard can be expensive, it doesn’t have to be expensive. Even if it is, it’s because you’re opting for the kinds of add-ons and extras than stand to save you money by improving output and efficiency long-term.
In any case, the first week is free and you can opt out if you’re not happy with any aspect of InterGuard, so there’s really not a great deal to lose.