As we live and work in an extremely data-centric world, information security is an important concern for many companies. And while both outside and inside threats become increasingly more sophisticated, security tools need to keep up with the pace.
You’ve probably had a chance to come across the term screen monitoring software or employee tracking software. In short, it’s a system that’s installed on every corporate computer and then it tracks user activity on it and compiles detailed reports based on this data. This way, you’ll know how to monitor employee internet usage and app activities to better evaluate their performance and overall digital behavior.
User behavior analytics (UBA), on the other hand, is a security software specifically designed to ‘learn’ employees’ typical behavior patterns and then detect anomalous activities that might be an indication of a potential threat. Managers are promptly alerted about any significant deviations so that they can review them and act accordingly.
A Claim to the Title of Ultimate Security Solution
Both UBA software providers and employee computer monitor companies stake the claim to a technologically advanced solution for increasing the company’s data security.
In user behavior analytics, this claim is supported by the fact that information security is, in fact, the primary and central focus of this type of software. The very purpose of analyzing users’ behavioral patterns and looking for deviations, as we have mentioned at the beginning, is to detect outside threats and send out alerts so that they can be responded to immediately. At the same time, there’s no reason why this technology couldn’t be applied to insider leaks as well since in that case, there would also have to be some unusual access or activity.
On the other hand, data security is only one of several functions of screen monitoring software. In most cases, it’s more likely to be used for increased asset control, performance evaluation and productivity analysis. Having said that, however, there are some features that let you monitor client PC in order to help with security, but more on that in the next section.
What’s interesting to mention, though, is that neither UBA nor screen monitoring software can actually prevent a breach from happening. They are both just a highly effective means to discovering the threat early enough so that it can be contaminated before any real damage has been done.
User behavior analytics is, obviously, a much more security-oriented system but screen monitoring software, even though it’s not primarily a security solution, still has some features for analyzing user behavior in detail that overlap with how UBA works.
For instance, app and browser tracking software let you monitor which programs employees use and which websites they visit. You can see whether this data fits within their job role, how often they perform certain actions and which tools they typically use. In order to find out more precisely what they do within those apps, there’s also a screenshot feature which can be either manually triggered or set to automatically take a screen capture at certain time intervals.
Since this system gives you the solution for how to track employee internet usage as well as app usage patterns in detail, its functionalities can help to map out each employee’s typical behavior and its clear reports make it relatively easy to notice any unusual activities.
What Else Does Monitoring Software Need?
There are a couple of areas where screen monitoring software differs from full-fledged UBA. The main point of difference is that the former can’t automatically recognize anomalous behavior and consequently alert you about it, while UBA can. However, as we’ve noted, a monitoring system can help you spot deviations if you look at real-time reports. Plus, if your tracking app has a categorization feature, the first time an employee accesses some app or website, you’ll be prompted to categorize it according to productivity, so you’ll be able to see every activity that occurs for the first time.
Another limitation of monitoring software compared to UBA is the fact that it can’t track what’s going on inside the apps and websites employees are using unless you use advanced screenshot or keystroke monitoring features. And even then, it can’t ‘learn’ what it’s supposed to consider normal behavior.
UBA or Employee Monitoring Software?
So, now that you know what each system does and what the main differences in functionality are, the question is: Which of these two options should you use as your go-to security protection measure?
If you need a completely independently functional sophisticated security solution, then user behavior analytics is what you should probably go with.
If, on the other hand, you already have an effective security protocol but you only want to boost it a little bit more, screen monitoring software will very likely be enough to meet your needs. Similarly, if an extremely high level of security isn’t a burning issue at your company but you could use an expanded range of functionality, a monitoring system will not only provide that extra bit of data protection but will also give you an opportunity to track productivity and performance.
Even though there is some overlapping between how UBA and monitoring software work, there’s also a fundamental difference between the intention behind using one or the other. While user behavior analytics is primarily a threat detection system, employee tracking software is oriented towards providing a more holistic overview or your employees’ performance. That’s not to say, however, that they can’t coexist in order to ensure both benefits for your business.