Supervise Internet usage

Many companies have Internet access, and IS managers would love to monitor and enforce proper Internet usage. JSB Computer Systems' surfCONTROL Scout 1.7 monitors employee use of your network (whether the traffic is Internet bound or not) and gives you a bird's-eye view of how and when users access the Internet.

surfCONTROL Scout has two components: server and client. The server component collects and records information about Internet traffic into a database, and the client component provides the user interface to view, manage, report, configure, and maintain the traffic-collection database. You can use the client component to access multiple servers or one server, depending on how you deploy surfCONTROL Scout.

surfCONTROL Scout lets you collect network traffic information with a great degree of granularity. You can configure it to monitor all network protocols for all workstations on the network, or you can configure it to monitor a specific system connecting to a specific site with a specific protocol. For example, you can track which Web sites employees visit and which pages they view.

A monitor can't collect information about traffic it can't see, so you must install surfCONTROL Scout on network segments that have traffic you want to monitor. Alternatively, a network segment's traffic needs to pass through a segment that has surfCONTROL Scout installed. Remember this location when you deploy the product, especially if your network uses Ethernet switches rather than hubs, because switches isolate traffic more stringently.

Like a packet sniffer, surfCONTROL Scout requires network cards capable of promiscuous mode. A network card typically listens for traffic destined for its addresses. In promiscuous mode, a network card sees all network traffic, regardless of its destination.

Installing the software is easy. I installed the server component on an NT server and the client component on an NT workstation. I logged on as an administrator, ran setup, chose which component to install, and then rebooted.

You can monitor systems automatically or manually. With automatic monitoring, the software monitors any system it detects moving traffic on the network. Manual monitoring lets you define monitoring scenarios (e.g., only Web traffic or only a specific workstation).

The software's reporting features are adequate for investigating network usage. You can view the workstations that moved traffic and the sites the traffic visited, as Screen 1 shows, and you can further investigate the activity that transpired.

You can generate clear reports if you create customized reporting categories. For example, you might not want to view traffic to your internal mail or FTP servers. You can eliminate this traffic to reduce database size and provide a cleaner report.

You can also use the surfCONTROL Scout client to perform quick research or discovery, without generating reports. If you notice a user visiting a questionable Internet site, you can examine the activities that took place (e.g., the protocol used and files the user sent or retrieved). This discovery process is easy: Right-click the site address in the Sites window and select Site Details to reveal the workstations that visited the questionable site. This process also works in reverse, so you can right-click a workstation in the Workstations window and select Workstation Details to reveal the sites the workstation visited.

surfCONTROL Scout is easy to use and powerful in determining how employees use your network. Most companies can benefit from surfCONTROL Scout's network usage reporting capabilities.

surfCONTROL Scout 1.7
Contact: JSB Computer Systems * 408-438-8300
Web: http://www.surfcontrol.com
Price: $99 (20 concurrent systems)
System Requirements: Windows NT Server 4.0 or NT Workstation 4.0, TCP/IP-based network connection, Ethernet or Token Ring card supporting promiscuous mode, 32MB of RAM and 1GB of data storage