Rawstream – New Internet Monitoring Software Services Lets Employers Manage Internet Use

If you’re considering enabling an internet monitoring software  services for your employees, there’s a new service, Rawstream that you might want to check out.

Rawstream gives businesses peace of mind by identifying how much time employees spend on Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, even downloading movies overnight with office bandwidth (it actually happens).
Rawstream also identifies shared docs which infringe company policies. Rawstream doesn’t just track Dropbox, but also users who share files via Google Drive, OneDrive or Cubby. As Rawstream’s founder Brian Azzopardi says “we’re for facilitating the use of powerful consumer IT in business, while other vendors, and some IT Depts – want to block them.” Rawstream gives managers transparency into office related online activities (including remote workers) to increase productivity.
I asked Brian a few questions about Rawstream and he gave me a bit more input.
How Rawstream Works

Agent-Deployment: depending on the OS, the Agent uses the appropriate method to hook into the internet activity to be able to monitor and filter internet traffic. On Windows/Mac Agent acts as a local proxy. On ChomeOS, the agent is a Chrome Extension that cannot be removed or disabled by end-users. Agents enable per-user policies, wherever the device is located.

DNS-based filtering: Rawstream supports monitoring and filtering based on DNS. Set the DNS config on the WIFI or internet router to use Rawstream DNS.

Hybrid Monitoring and Filtering: This is where Rawstream is innovative: you can have both DNS and Agents on the same network. The Agents override the DNS filtering. This allows an organisation to have a default network-wide policy for any device on the network, including guest devices. This makes BYOD simple and without adding to admin workload. For known devices, install the Agent and those devices will get their own policies.

This hybrid approach is innovative, unique and simplifies IT management.

ENDPOINT SUPPORT

Windows 

Rawstream Agent for Windows is a lightweight application. Can be deployed using existing deployment tools such as Active Directory Group Policy, WSUS and other third-party software deployment tools.

Chromebooks and other ChromeOS devices

Rawstream Agent for Chrome is deployed via the Google Apps for Business, or Google Apps for Education Management console. Deployment is completely automated – whether to a few devices or to an entire school.

Mac Support

Public Beta by June.

Why Rawstream Works Like It does

Speed

Other cloud-based competitors are either proxy based or VPN based. The problem with both of these is that all the traffic has to go to the vendor servers which is a potential security issue. Secondly, due to the extra hops, browsing speed suffers. Sometimes massively: a leading competitor’s support forum had one customer complaining of a 50% speed reduction.

Rawstream does not suffer from any speed problems: by pushing out filtering and monitoring out the endpoint, there are no speed or privacy problems (we do not see your web-email, we merely know you visited gmail.com)

Better data

All the other competitors show incorrect, inaccurate data for time spent on websites by users. They merely count all web traffic, including background traffic and all web traffic, not just the web page an employee is currently looking at. This makes all the reporting unusable for business use.

By having an Agent on the endpoint we can collect high quality data to deliver on the productivity promise. We show the business reliable accurate, reporting for how people spend their time online, correctly accounting for background tabs, background traffic, etc.

Consumer IT 

By having agents on the endpoint we are in a better position to shine a light on consumer IT in a business, and to be better able to secure it. Our Dropbox/GDrive/OneDrive reporting is the tip of the iceberg.

BYOD

Hybrid deployment makes protecting guest devices simple and automatic. None of the proxy-based competition can offer this.

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Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com . Editor and Founder, Smart Hustle Magazine Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook

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