5 Reasons You Should Monitor Your Employees’ Computers – The Necessity of Remote Desktop & Session Recording
And Not Just to See If They’ve Been on Facebook
1. Audit User Activity
Employee monitoring software is useful to find out what your employees are doing while logged into their desktops. While it may be important to monitor their productivity, the real concerns are when it comes to insider threat management.
Did Linda from HR open a phishing email? Did the new intern share a secured file they should not have? It is important to understand what your employees are doing and educate them on best practices.
Many industries have data and employee monitoring requirements, requiring log collection and monitoring systems which provide an audit trail of all access and activity to sensitive business information.
One of the most well known is HIPPA, the US healthcare industry legislation which provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information. American financial services are regulated by SOX, a series of regulations enacted in response to a chain of high-profile financial scandals that occurred in the early 2000s which rattled investor confidence.
In addition, there are many other industry specific regulations which cover fields from education to the US federal government: NERC, FFIEC, FISMA, and FERPA. If any of these acronyms sound familiar, it’s probably a good idea to ensure you are adhering to your industry’s regulations.
Recently China enacted similar requirements to SOX which puts them in line with worldwide practices as it accords with Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation.
3. Unethical User Activity
While insider threats can be accidental or negligent, they can sometimes be malicious. Though protecting devices and servers is necessary, organizations should not overlook the importance of protecting against personnel and contractors and consider employee monitoring.
Did a disgruntled employee who was recently fired extract sensitive data on their way out with the intent to sell it or release it publicly? When it comes to cybersecurity, an ounce of protection goes a long ways.
“The threat of insiders is real and what can happen is you have amazing defenses to protect your intellectual property and other secrets from those who are trying to obtain them from outside your company’s walls, but you forget sometimes to have a program where you are watching those who you trust,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin after the FBI arrested and charged an individual with theft of government secrets.
Computer monitoring software can identify the employee and record their actions.
4. Monitor Third Party Vendor
Giving external vendors such as outsourced call centres and managed service providers, access to your internal systems greatly increases the risks of theft of intellectual property and/or damage to company infrastructure (mistakes made while deploying code, configuring systems or assigning user permissions, for example).
Even trusted vendors with no malicious intent can potentially damage your systems or leave you open to attack. One of the most infamous instances of this type of breach occurred in 2013 to the American chain store, Target, when a supplier caused a network breach. Before Target’s network admins could react, it was too late. Their network security was breached and sensitive financial data was stolen.
This issue is particularly acute in the healthcare field. On average, hospitals have about 1.5 times the amount of vendors than employees.
Third party monitoring is a way to ensure external vendors stay within their scope and are only performing their assigned tasks. This allows for more flexible access without sacrificing security. Having monitoring software eliminates “who did what?” doubts, confirms SLA agreements and eases vendor billing verification.
If there has been unethical user activity, it is likely there will be consequences for the employee or contractor. Ultimately, punishment could range from a slap on the wrist to formal legal proceedings and dismissal. User activity recordings are admissible in court and can provide powerful evidence if litigation becomes necessary. Making it well known that employee and contractor activity is being recorded can in itself serve as a strong deterrent and prevent transgressions before they happen.
In the spirit of preserving your data, session recording software offers a way to protect your organization.
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