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For companies that needs to monitor computer usage by employees, what systems are usually set up to do so (monitoring software, hardware, etc.)?

What are the financial costs involved in setting up such a system?

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What do you want to track? Some systems can track internet usage, some can track information flow, and some can track usage of specified applications. Some can do combinations. – logicalscope Dec 28 '11 at 5:12
I think file and application access history, and internet browser history. – user023 Dec 28 '11 at 6:22
How many employees do you wish to track? How many employees will monitor the tracked employees? Given sufficient technical and human resources you will also need to define objectives like enforcing acceptable use policy. Depending on your jurisdiction you man not be legally able to monitor all employee computer usage. – this.josh Dec 29 '11 at 7:59
With the full backing of Legal and Human Resources, generally... or at the peril of lawyer attacks, criminal charges, and unemployment depending on the jurisdiction. – adric Aug 30 '12 at 17:14

This depends widely on the type of monitoring that is desired. Logs can be collected and reviewed. Proxies can be used to limit access to specific ips or domains. IDS devices can be used to monitor and if the devices are inline even reset connections that are a result of a violation of policy. Such as IRC,Facbook etc.. I think more details would be necessary to answer your question in a more effective way.

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What are some vendors out there that provide these systems? Basic things like: browsing history, application and file access history should be the basics. – user023 Dec 28 '11 at 6:21
@user023 - your easiest bet is to google that sort of thing as it changes over time so doesn't make for good canonical answers here on stack exchange – Rory Alsop Dec 28 '11 at 9:32
@RoryAlsop - I did initially do gooogle but there were a lot of sparse results and I just want to know if the market for this type of system is really this fragmented or is there is go-to vendor for this type of stuff for most companies? (the equivalent of "nobody gets fired for picking IBM") – user023 Dec 28 '11 at 19:15
There are many - all the big names in SIEM/SEM tend to have employee tracking options, and there are many more – Rory Alsop Dec 28 '11 at 20:59
@RoryAlsop: I see, go ahead and let me know some big names in the SIEM and SEM space and I'll pick your answer. – user023 Dec 29 '11 at 5:05

You might be interested in looking for WCF (web content filtering). There are SaaS companies that you can use. Also, you don't have to use it to actually filter, you can set it up to just filter.

Perimeter E-security is one such company that offers it.

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