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User Activity Monitoring

User Activity Monitoring

User activity monitoring (UAM) solutions are software tools that track and monitor end-user behavior on devices, networks, and other company-owned IT resources. Many organizations implement UAM tools to help, detect and stop insider threats, whether unintentional or malicious intent. The range of monitoring and methods utilized depends on the objectives of the company.

By implementing user activity monitoring, enterprises can more readily identify suspicious behavior and mitigate risks before they result in data breaches, or at least in time to minimize damages. Sometimes called user activity tracking, user activity monitoring is a form of surveillance but serves as a proactive review of end-user activity to determine misuse of access privileges or data protection policies either through ignorance or malicious intent.

The purpose of user activity monitoring is to protect information while ensuring availability and compliance with data privacy and security regulations. UAM goes beyond simply monitoring network activity. Instead, it can monitor all types of user activity, including all system, data, application, and network actions that users take – such as their web browsing activity, whether users are accessing unauthorized or sensitive files, and more.

There are a variety of tools that can be used to aid in or support user activity monitoring. These tools range from general security software applications to targeted tools designed to track sessions and activity, creating a complete audit trail for every user. There are also tools known as privileged account security solutions, which aim to monitor and secure privileged account activity and centralize the management of policies.

The best user activity monitoring tools include real-time alerting systems. These tools monitor user activity in the background in real-time and notify IT and security teams the moment suspicious activity occurs. Without the real-time element, risks may go unnoticed while your IT department addresses other known issues. Thanks to today’s technology, it’s not necessary to have entire IT teams dedicated to live-monitoring user activity; a good security solution that supports user activity monitoring can do most of the heavy lifting.

User activity monitoring is an important line of defense against data breaches and other cybersecurity compromises. Many IT security teams lack visibility into how their users are accessing and utilizing sensitive data, leaving them susceptible to insider threats or outside attackers who have gained access to systems. UAM is an important component of data protection for enterprises today. While there are dedicated “point solutions” for monitoring user behavior, organizations should look to data protection tools that can combine user activity monitoring features with data discovery and classification, policy-based controls, and advanced reporting capabilities.

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Characteristics

Monitored Platforms

Deployment

Websites Monitoring

Application Monitoring

File Transfer Tracking

Screen Recording

Screenshots on Demand

Remote Desktop Control

Multiple Live Remote Desktops

Search Details

Employee Productivity Analysis

Automated Alerts

Time Tracking

Keystroke Logger

Email Monitoring

Print Monitoring

Social Media Monitoring

Chats/IM

Network Monitoring

Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

Browser History Tracking

History Archiving

Web Console Management

User Behavior Analytics

Insider Threat Security

Website/activity Blocking

USB Device Blocking

Scheduled Reports

Stealth Mode

Database Cleanup

SIEM Integration

Ticketing System Integration

Remote Reboot/Shutdown

Open Remote Camera

Multi-factor Authentication

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  • Android
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  • SaaS
  • On-premises
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  • AWS
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F.A.Q about User Activity Monitoring

What does User Activity Monitoring mean?

User Activity Monitoring (UAM) solutions are software tools that essentially track monitor and alert on the activity and overall behavior of your users. The most common application of user activity monitoring tools is in the detection and prevention of insider threats.

The simple fact is; your users are the most likely source of a data breach in your organization (whether through negligence or malice) so they must be monitored.

Through the implementation of user activity monitoring solutions, enterprises can reduce the amount of time it takes to identify anomalous user behavior and take reparative action.

How does User Activity Monitoring work?

The purpose of user activity monitoring is to protect information while ensuring availability and compliance with data privacy and security regulations. UAM goes beyond simply monitoring network activity. Instead, it can monitor all types of user activity, including all system, data, application, and network actions that users take – such as their web browsing activity, whether users are accessing unauthorized or sensitive files, and more.

There are various methods implemented to monitor and manage user activity such as:

  • Video recordings of sessions
  • Log collection and analysis
  • Network packet inspection
  • Keystroke logging
  • Kernel monitoring
  • File/screenshot capturing

All of the information gathered must be looked at within the boundaries of company policy and the user role to figure out if inappropriate activity is in play. What constitutes “inappropriate user activity” is up to the company deploying the UAM solution, and can include anything from visiting personal sites or shopping during work hours to theft of sensitive company data such as intellectual property or financial information.

What are the Benefits of User Activity Monitoring?

Any level of monitoring can accumulate large amounts of data. The goal of any user activity monitoring program should be to find and filter out actionable information that’s valuable in data protection efforts. With effective processes in place, you can immediately detect and investigate suspicious user activity. You can also find out if users are uploading sensitive data to public clouds, utilizing non-approved services and applications, or engaging in any other type of risky activity while using the company network or resources. User activity monitoring tools are also helpful in ensuring that employees do not take any of your company's confidential information when they are leaving the company.

In order to make the data collected by user activity monitoring solutions as useful as possible, that data must be analyzed for several items, including:

  • Associated risk
  • Defined policies
  • Time of day
  • Identity context

It also helps to have real-time identification along with detailed reporting of historical activity. Questions to answer are: Who did what, when and where? User activity monitoring helps to identify abuse to help reduce the risk of inappropriate actions that can lead to malware infections or data breaches. It also helps to decrease the cost of compliance, while offering intelligence needed to improve security measures.

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