Workplace monitoring increases in the Middle East

NetCare unveils Spector 360 solution.

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By  Derek Francis Published  June 18, 2008

An increasing number of companies in the Middle East are adopting workplace monitoring software to save hours in lost productivity, according to IT consultants NetCare System Services, which this week unveiled a new software package.

"More and more companies anxious about lost productivity, inappropriate activity by their staff or just plain theft are monitoring what their employees are up to on their terminals," said Balakrishnan Balasubramanian, general manager of Netcare, the regional distributors of Spector 360 monitoring software.

"This is a relatively new phenomenon in the Middle East but we are seeing an increasing interest in the region in line with much of the rest of the world. For example, a survey in the US recently found that three-quarters of employers monitored their employees' website visits in order to prevent inappropriate surfing and 65% used software to block connections to websites deemed off limits," he continued.

In addition, around a third of employers tracked keystrokes and time spent at the computer, the survey said. Eighty per cent of employers currently disclose their practices to employees, and Balasubramanian said educating employees to company practices was a vital part of the pre-employment conditions.

He also addressed fears that Spector 360 amounted to nothing less than an unethical ‘Big Brother' software, saying: "It is actually a management tool, designed to protect companies from data evasion, unethical use of company information or material, time management of company work - as opposed to personal activities conducted during work hours."

"It's as ethical is the CCTV cameras in the shopping malls and large business houses. Even if you were not recording anything in the backend the presence of the camera ensures compliance," he added.

Spector 360 has the ability to bypass proxy servers to discover if employees are accessing questionable content. In addition, if employers force employees to log off when they're away from their desk, the software can reveal the number of breaks each user takes during the day.

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