Interguard SONAR Review
Easy To Use Interface
Exceptional Filtering & Blocking
Higher Than Average Price
SONAR is the employee monitoring software solution from the company ‘Awareness Technologies’. The company has a reputation for producing high-quality software, including ‘Web Watcher’, which has also been reviewed on our site. SONAR is used by many police officials in the USA to increase efficiency and monitor workloads, so its got a big name to live up to. Lets find out if it does.
SONAR works across the entire network of an office or company, providing real time reports and controlling of computer activities. Most other employee monitoring solutions stop there, but SONAR has a remote function that allows you to monitor employees out of the office. This brings us to our first good point of the software and makes SONAR a great choice for companies who have sales teams and employees out of the office.
Installing and setting up SONAR is very easy and the software can even be set up on its own dedicated server. If your company does not have the resources to do this the software can be set up off network, on the internet on one Awareness technologies websites (at an extra cost of around $9). The software can be distributed to each computer on your companies network extremely easily and the installation can be silent so your workforce won’t know it’s happening. Once installed SONAR uses a very low amount of system resources and runs in absolute stealth mode, meaning no system tray or task manager process. In our tests on an average computer, you couldn’t tell SONAR was running.
Once the installation process is complete the software can be managed and the reports read from any supervisor machine. Everything is available remotely including filtering, reporting, alerts, settings and remote viewing.
The features of SONAR are more that comprehensive and include everything you’ll need to monitor your employees computer usage. The filtering function allows you to filter out certain websites that your employees shouldn’t be able to access including social networking sites like facebook, pornography sites and gaming sites. On the flip side, SONAR allows you to create an ‘allowed’ list of websites that could include just the sites that employees should be able to access at work. Alerts can also be set up to alert you of certain keywords typed or keywords that are contained in a visited website. You can also set up timed filtering so that computers owned by the company adjust to certain filtering options at certain times (eg within work hours).
With SONAR, when employees surf the web everything is logged and monitored. Supervisors can get real-time reports of keystrokes pressed, websites visited, search engine searches performed and more, including the date and times of the activities and the length of the website visit. This reporting function is not only limited to websites, it also includes applications. Chat and IM conversations can also be monitored with SONAR and both sides of the conversation are logged and saved in applications like MSN messenger and ICQ and chat websites like Facebook and Myspace.
The monitoring side of SONAR is a complete situation and I could write on about it forever. To put it simply, anything that happens on an employee’s computer – you’ll know about. File activities, P2P transfers and emails will all be logged. Even things that have been typed then deleted will be reported, this could be extremely handy for harassment claims, time-wasting and inappropriate behaviour in the workplace.
If your company does a lot of word processing then SONAR’s tracking of this is top of the range, as stated above all keystrokes and monitored and logged but not only this, the software keeps track of new files, saved files, opened documents, sent documents and printed documents so keeping track of numbers and workloads is very easy to do.
SONAR’s reporting and remote management interfaces are very easy to understand and very easy to use. The application itself is very user-friendly and we had no problem at all getting used to the software. Different reporting categories are listed down the side of the screen and everything you’ll need is no more that a few clicks away. Screenshots of everything that has happened on each computer are viewable in a slideshow, so you can literally see everything that’s going on.
The software support includes extensive help and FAQ files and a live one on one support system, available through the website. Additional VIP support is available for an extra fee but we don’t think you’ll ever need this. The software is so simple to use and self-explanatory that unless you have a major problem, support probably won’t be needed.
As you can probably tell by now, we hold SONAR in very high regards. The software has no problems that we came across in our tests and has everything you’ll need from employee monitoring software. It really is at the top of its game in this category and we haven’t tested anything that comes close when it comes to functionality and ease of use. The price tag is also reasonable for such a high end product and there’s a free 7 day trial that’s well worth looking at.