There are basically two approaches you can take to both the development and use of PC monitoring tools. On one side of the spectrum, you have the desktop monitoring software that’s primarily a business intelligence and performance enhancement suite. At the opposite, you have the software that basically assumes your employees are lazy, unproductive and need watching at all times.
Veriato fits very much into the latter bracket, publishing no shortage of bold claims regarding the inherently unproductive nature of most workers. For example, Veriato states on its website that during the average 8-hour working day, the average employee is productive for little over 3 hours.
They also state that 71% of US workers are unhappy with their jobs and therefore represent ‘flight risk’. The extent to which employee monitoring software has the potential to improve demand is debatable, but Veriato nonetheless believes that the best way to control disgruntled members of the workforce is to watch their every move.
Founded in 1998, Veriato has put its name to any number of software suites designed for computer and net monitoring for employees. Its latest outings are the most sophisticated to date, available in the form of several different software packages with different primary purposes. There’s Veriato Cerebral (formerly Veriato 360), Veriato Vision and Veriato Investigator – all sold separately by way of a monthly subscription.
But how does Veriato stack up when compared and contrasted with the other services for employee tracking? Does Veriato take micromanagement a step too far, or is it precisely the kind of software package you need to get the best out of your workforce?
Veriato At a Glance
Before getting into the finer details, it’s worth taking a step back to consider what Veriato actually is. In the case of Veriato Cerebral – the primary software suites available from the developer – this is an extremely sophisticated, AI-powered security suite that goes beyond simple monitoring and data collection.
Veriato Cerebral integrates a wide variety of features and functionalities, including an AI-powered security platform, User & Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) with User Activity Monitoring (UAM), accelerated Data Breach Response (DBR) and more. The idea being that with an integral ‘risks scoring’ system, Veriato uses a series of algorithms to calculate if and to what extent any member of your workforce poses a threat to your business.
This could be anything from a productivity threat to a direct security threat, which can be viewed and analyzed by way of individual alerts, recent trends, ongoing patterns in performance and so on. At a glance, you’re able to see whether there’s anything that warrants your attention and just how ‘dangerous’ or otherwise the actions and activities of your workforce are without compromising employee monitoring ethics.
Veriato Review - How Good Is It for Employee Monitoring?
There are different installation options available for the different Veriato software packages, though Cerebral must currently be deployed on-site. The initial process is a little laborious, though it has to be said that the Veriato Management Console you subsequently gain access to is extremely user-friendly.
Streamlined, intuitive and easy to get used to, it’s not nearly as clunky or dated-looking as some comparable employee monitoring packages.
The main features you’ll find yourself using right off the bat are data collection and monitoring, activity logs, screen captures and the option of customizing reporting and alerts on the basis of file transfers, application usage, logins, keyword entry and so on. Veriato keeps a close eye on a variety of data sources simultaneously and in real-time, including keystrokes, web surfing, application use, search monitoring, document tracking, network use and file transfers.
Instant messaging and chat systems from a variety of major providers can also be monitored, in terms of both usage time and the content of the communications. Examples of which include WhatsApp, Skype, and Facebook messenger and many more besides. E-mail monitoring is also a useful feature Veriato does a decent job of simplifying.
The user interface is relatively clean and intuitive, with an extensive list of personalization options that go beyond the usual norms. Over in the Recon Dashboard, you have the option of separating employees into a series of ‘Behavioral Groups’ based on their activities. Over an allocated period of time, users are automatically sorted into groups on the basis of their actions, productivity levels and other preset variables – periodic automated reports enabling you to see how these user groups (and individuals populating them) change over time.
Anomaly reports and data pertaining to behavioral abnormalities can also be accessed in the Recon Dashboard. All of which are tracked and reported on the basis of your own custom settings – things like website filters, entry of keywords and phrases, device type, time spent on website and so on. Keyword Alert Events can be used to trigger an alert in the event that any specific keyword (or variation thereof) is entered in an e-mail, live-chat conversation, URL, HTML or anywhere else.
If there are things you would prefer your workers not to be talking about or typing, you can assign a long list of prohibited (or suspicious) words and phrases, which will be automatically noted, reported and highlighted by way of an alert.
Remote Employee Monitoring
Businesses looking to keep track of employees’ activities off-site will need to sign up for a Veriato Vision subscription. This is the company’s remote employee monitoring software, which according to Veriato lets you know “if they are working hard or hardly working.” Again, more a case of tracking down timewasters than using business intelligence to enhance and inspire productivity.
Veriato Vision can be deployed on practically any PC, Mac or Android mobile device (no iOS for the time being) and works as a 100% cloud-based employee monitoring suite. This means that not only is it an extremely fast and lightweight software package, but it can be deployed onto systems silently and invisibly. If you’d prefer to roll out employee monitoring software without letting your workforce know about it, Veriato Vision is the way to go.
A few of the main features and functionalities highlighted by Veriato include the following:
Screenshots, Reports, Logs, & Video Review
Useful as a general management tool and for providing legal evidence where necessary (according to Veriato, screenshots and video clips can be recorded and downloaded at any time. If employee activity data tracking isn’t enough to get the point across, you can take a look at exactly what they’re doing from a remote location and keep a record of it.
Customizable productivity reports make it easy to keep track of how much time individual employees and groups thereof are actually doing what they should be doing. Veriato Vision clearly highlights who’s making the most of their time and who’s wasting company time.
Real Time Alerts
In the event that an employee attempts to access a prohibited application or visit a website you’ve blacklisted, you’ll be provided with an alert in real-time. Useful for addressing issues the moment they occur.
Insider Threat Security
Veriato Vision uses AI analyzed combined behaviors and activities, in accordance with established norms and typical behavioral ranges. The idea being that if the activities of one or more employees become in any way suspicious, you can trust the system’s AI to let you know about it.
One of the most useful remote employee monitoring features, which simply enables you to restrict the websites your employees are able to visit and to monitor their online activities in general. Websites can be blocked by way of specific URLs or complete categories of websites - records are also automatically kept for future reference.
Veriato Data Loss Prevention
This is an optional extra, which monitors and automatically controls/restricts movement of and access to data. For example, you could prohibit certain types of data from being transferred to USB sticks, or ensure an alert is triggered every time data is shared as an email attachment or a cloud upload.
Veriato Endpoint Control
Also extremely useful for remote employee management in particular, VEC provides administrators with the ability to lock and remotely access computers that have been compromised or stolen. Files can be wiped and retrieved, while GPS tracking provides an accurate indication of where the device is in real-time.
If you’re on the lookout for something that enables you to investigate the activities of one or more workers on an extremely in-depth level, Veriato Investigator is the suite for you. This is a separate subscription service that automatically tracks and stores extremely detailed information of the activities of employees, can be accessed in real-time or in the form of periodic reports.
Veriato Investigator has been designed specifically for deployment in instances where you suspect one or more workers have been up to something nefarious. This ultra-sophisticated monitoring suite records all computer activity on the machines it is deployed on, which according to Veriato is ideal for creating records to be “used as evidence in civil and criminal litigation.”
Unsurprisingly, Veriato Investigator is a centrally managed Security System that can be deployed 100% silently and invisibly from a remote location. Even if the employee you’re investigating on is working remotely, they’ll have no idea you’re watching their every move. All data tracked and stored can subsequently be accessed by authorized administrators only, protected by way of multi-level encryption and a password entry system.
Veriato Investigator takes things beyond simple screenshots to offer a complete ‘Video Playback’ function, which as the name suggests records a blow-by-blow account of whatever the worker in question is doing at the time. Website activity is also tracked and recorded in meticulous detail, from social media activity to search terms used and so on. All chat, instant messaging and email activities are also recorded, maintaining a full account of everything being said by all parties involved in the conversation.
All activities involving data transfers, downloads, uploads, duplication and even document printing can also be monitored and recorded. Application access and usage logs are also kept, providing detailed insights into which applications/programs are being used, when they are being used and how. Of course, keystroke logging is also included, providing a comprehensive record of each and every key pressed by the employee being monitored.
Veriato Investigator could technically be used for general employee monitoring purposes, though is designed more for in-depth investigations when inappropriate or dangerous activity is already suspected. Its functionalities go far beyond those of simple employee monitoring software, though it can certainly double as a general employee tracking system if desired.
Insider Threat Detection & Other Features
Some of Veriato’s features and functionalities are arguably a little severe and strict for everyday employee monitoring. Nevertheless, what Veriato Cerebral brings to the table by way of automated Insider Threat Detection is undeniably impressive.
Rather than simply micromanaging members of the workforce to extremes, intelligent AI coding is used to automatically identify unusual and suspicious changes in employee activities and behaviors. It can even geographically track their movements by checking Internet access points, which can be used alongside the other data collected to provide a detailed account of their activities.
Though it’s worth highlighting at this point that some of the profiling tools Veriato Cerebral incorporates may infringe upon the privacy rights of those being tracked – always check the rules in your jurisdiction carefully before conducting in depth investigations.
In any case, Veriato Cerebral claims to be able to boost business safety and enhance output by way of a continuous five-step process, which is predominantly automated and invisible to those being tracked.
Veriato Cerebral provides the opportunity to continuously monitor the activities and behaviors of on-site and remote workers, keeping tabs on their Internet usage, their conversations and the time spent working.
Artificial intelligence is used to analyze employee behavior and automatically identify instances of suspicious or potentially malicious activities.
The software is designed to automatically provide prompts and alerts when any such activities are detected or suspected, enabling administrators and security teams to react in real-time where preferable.
Screenshots and full video replays of employees’ screens provide the most accurate possible insights into what they’re doing at the time, or what they were doing at the time suspicious or prohibited activities were detected.
Whether looking to clamp down on simple timewasting or collecting evidence for legal action, Veriato Cerebral provides you with the data and insights you need to react quickly and in any way you deem appropriate.
In addition, its developers state that Veriato Cerebral can be used to detect and address a variety of important issues, including but not limited to the following:
- HR issues such as inappropriate communications
- Theft of corporate data or compromised data security
- All types of onsite and offsite employee misconduct
- Compliance violations and breaches of policy
Again, all of which are watched-for by the system’s sophisticated AI-based coding.
In terms of sophistication, features and depth of monitoring, it’s almost impossible not to be impressed with Veriato’s software. At the same time, its subscription services across the board do seem to err somewhat towards to more ‘suspicious’ and ‘pessimistic’ side of the spectrum.
Of course, there’s a time and a place for the kind of heavy-duty employee activity tracking that literally monitoring their every move. If you’re intent on conducting in-depth employee investigations, you won’t find a suite that can track their activities nearly as precisely as Veriato.
But at the same time, the most effective employee monitoring software tends to be that which improves the output and productivity from a more positive angle. Veriato making it pretty clear that detecting and addressing poor employee performance is more their priority – as highlighted in those alarming (though entirely true) statistics mentioned at the beginning of this review.