Review of Spector 360 - Enterprise Employee Monitoring Software

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What is Spector 360?

Spector 360 is centrally managed enterprise employee monitoring software of top quality. The flagship product of SpectorSoft tells you what your employees have been doing each and every second, and provides screenshots, keystrokes typed, Web sites visited and much more.

System Requirements (5 out of 5)

Spector 360 components can be installed on recent Windows Desktop operating systems including XP and Vista (the client computers being monitored) as well as on Windows Server 2003 and 2008. As the management and backend components can be installed in a distributed manner so that they integrate in your infrastructure it is recommended your check the vendor’s detailed prerequisites.

On the other hand, as was done during the evaluation of Spector 360, you can install Primary Server, Control Center, WebFilter Server and Data Vault Server onto one Windows Server computer for example. If you have less than 1000 clients Spector provides Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express for you, otherwise a Microsoft SQL Server 2005 instance has to be used.

Install (4 out of 5)

The small installation file pulls the large setup files from the vendor’s server, and brings up various installation wizards which lead trough the install and setup of Spector 360 which is straightforward for IT professionals which familiarize themselves with the software components, e.g. by visiting the vendor’s Web site, before kicking off the install.

Setup (5 out of 5)

Spector 360 can be setup in a Windows Workgroup or in a Windows Domain / Active Directory Forest according to the vendor (As I didn’t manage to make it work in a workgroup, on the next attempt I installed Spector 360 in a Windows (2003) domain with the client computer being Vista-based and all went well).

Spector 360 was able to detect the client and make a remote install of the monitoring agent; yet the computer initiated a restart without warning (which can be prevented in the last configuration option in the client deployment utility) and the last thing I noticed on test computer desktop was that my antivirus / antispyware software quarantined a program.

So when I saw in Spector 360’s control center that the monitoring software lacks client information I only had to remove the Spector 360 component from the antivirus program’s quarantine and restart the client computer.

Interface (5 out of 5)

The console like interface of Spector 360 Control Center is a standard GUI which lets you easily manage and configure client computers. The Spector 360 Dashboard, where you can view and analyze your employee’s computer usage, is also of high quality, thereby reducing the learning curve.

Features (5 out of 5)

The Spector 360 monitoring software provides you with a view on how your employees are using the computer, and their online activities. For any computer, or specific users, you can see details such as keystrokes typed and websites or chats visited, captured in screen shots and logs. This can be useful if you suspect an employee of leaking confidential information or if you want to know what employees are searching for on Google for example. Spector 360 can also be useful for enforcing your acceptable use policy by blocking websites or programs. On top of that can the software set off an alert triggered by keywords.

Performance (5 out of 5)

Spector 360 employee monitoring, surveillance and investigation capabilities are second to none. Its (distributed) components interact seamlessly and without problems which will greatly reduce administrative efforts and is very beneficial towards the total cost of ownerships.

Help & Support (5 out of 5)

Spector 360 contains an Administrator’s Guide as well as Deployment guide of high quality with lots of information. On the vendor’s website you find additional information such as FAQ’s for example. Technical support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via email and by telephone. When I have written to their support they responded promptly and to the point.

Price to Value (3 out of 5)

Spector 360 licensing starts at $1,995 for 15 installations, but he vendor has a ROI Calculator on its Web site making the case that your employee’s higher productivity outweigh the cost of the software. The first twelve months after the purchase of Spector 360 include premium maintenance.

The Bottom Line

If you want total monitoring of your employee’s computer’s usage enterprise wide then implement Spector 360, clearly the number 1 product on the market. I wouldn’t call myself a fan of the product, but its capabilities and the quality of the software are impressive.

If your organization is small, or if your budget is tight and you don’t need all the features of Spector 360 then you may want to check out Bright Hub’s review about System Surveillance Pro.


  • Author’s own opinion