It might seem harmless, but streaming videos or surfing the net on office computers during work hours could cause a string of problems. It wastes the company’s resources and the employee might not be able to deliver on his work accountabilities. On the other side of the spectrum, employees can also use company computers in order to steal information or share company secrets. This could result in financial ruin for the company. These detrimental effects gave rise to the need for employers to install keylogger programs on their company computers.
What is a Keylogging Program?
A keylogging program is a type of computer monitoring software that records or logs any keystroke made on a computer. This is stored in an encrypted file. This type of software (some call it spyware) could record entire conversations, passwords, emails, and other types of information using any keyboard. Other keylogging programs will also record the websites visited by an employee or the email addresses that he uses.
The danger of this type of program, however, is that it could be used by hackers or other criminals to steal personal information if someone isn’t careful. There have been cases wherein bank details or credit card information were stolen because of keyloggers. There are no laws regarding the regulation or use of these types of programs.
Why Use It?
Despite the risks, a third of the companies around the world have taken to installing employee monitoring software on their company computers. This is because of the thinking that every single moment an employee spends in the office should have value to the company or the employer. Every resource must be utilized to make sure that the company’s goals are met. If an employee visits entertainment websites or yields to other such distractions, it clearly is a waste of the company’s resources.
Some employers use keyloggers to monitor employee loyalty and to reduce the risk of them exposing or handing out any sensitive information that the company has. Some employees may be backstabbing their bosses or harassing others through the internet. Though only two states in the US require employers to be transparent about whether or not there is a keylogging program installed in the office computers (Delaware and Connecticut), many other employers across the different states make it a point to still inform their employees that they are being monitored. These could be for ethical reasons and to ensure that they have their employees’ trust and it actually lowers any unwanted online activity (akin to the Panopticon).
By reviewing the reports logged by the keylogging program daily, an employer can not only nip any problems in the bud, but can also ensure that his employees are spending their time in the office wisely. Simple emails to praise or chastise an employee could modify their behavior accordingly. While there are still some who are hesitant and think that they are invading their employees’ privacy, it’s important to note that as an employer, a person has the right to look out for the company’s well-being.