SpectorSoft touts less threatening employee monitoring software

SpectorSoft today unveiled software that records every action an employee takes on their PC or Mac, just like the firm's flagship Spector 360 product does, but also uses techniques to better meet corporate privacy policies.

Spector 360 Recon, instead of immediately removing what it records on an employee machine and sending the mass of content to another machine for possible review, keeps the content stored on the employee's machine in encrypted fashion for a month and then records over it if an insider threat is not detected.

If a policy violation appears to occur, Spector 360 Recon sends an alert to the designated corporate personnel. At that point, the encrypted content that's been recorded can be removed from the employee desktop for review.

[FTC:Facebook privacy policy reviews part of regular monitoring

SpectorSoft is offering a way to set up a two-person system to de-crypt the content, too, if the company using Recon wants to have at least two people in the loop when the content is unscrambled. Recon is designed this way because some companies feel there's a security risk in putting just the system administrator in charge of moving and decrypting content, says SpectorSoft CEO Jason Judge.

Some companies have been hesitant to widely deploy the Spector 360 "black box" approach due to concerns about employee privacy, Judge acknowledges. There are many things that employees do in the course of their workday, such as shopping and online banking, that would be considered intrusive to be storing as surveillance data.

It's only following a policy violation or suspicious event -- such as an employee suddenly quitting after accessing a lot of sensitive data -- that an alert would be sent. SpectorSoft described the policy enforcement as largely dependent on keywords that would flag certain events.

SpectorSoft acknowledges this all leaves the mobile and "Bring Your Own Device" question unanswered, but expects to have more on this at a future date.

The Spector 360 Recon edition works with the same management console as the SpectorSoft 360 product, which SpectorSoft says it will continue to offer as well. Recon, available now for the PC and Mac, costs about $20 per endpoint.

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: MessmerE. E-mail: emessmer@nww.com

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