Initially founded in 2001 as Access Control Software, SentryPC changed its name in 2005 and hasn’t looked back since.
Products include solutions for monitoring children and in the home. Today, we will focus on the business product.
SentryPC is designed for a wide range of uses, from blocking access to websites to enhancing productivity and conducting investigations.
Besides being competitively priced, it features stealth installations and a keylogger.
Would this be an effective surveillance tool for any job, or might it get IT, staff into hot water with the law?
Would you like to try SentryPC? Read Continue.
SentryPC’s features are dependent on the operating system that is installed.
SentryPC can be installed on Windows PCs (XP, 2000, Vista, 7,8 or 10) and Apple Macs (Mac OS X 10.6+ and all Macs). Mobile platforms are not supported, nor does it support Chrome OS or Linux.
We consider the PC version to be the full-featured version since it has several critical features that are not included in the Mac version at the moment.
Both platforms track user activity, generate alerts for web and application activity, log keys, and when movement is detected, a screenshot is taken as proof.
The PC version allows you to log chat conversations, clipboard activity, file changes, USB drives, and print jobs.
On Windows, the computer can also be remotely disabled, and a host of other features can be disabled, such as file copying and even the desktop.
As a result, the Mac release is much less helpful than the PC version.
Along with the activity that the agent code can detect and log on a computer, the system can be configured to filter and restrict access to apps and websites and filter specific words and phrases.
Filters can all be time-controlled, so businesses that allow private use outside of working hours can easily configure this.
The feature set of SentryPC fits within a specific category of surveillance software, but it can also be used stealthily to track people in a manner they are not aware of.
If the user crosses the red lines defined by the system, an alert will appear on the screen explaining their mistake, or that information will be logged so that others can address it.
The problem with the stealth approach is that the promised productivity improvements depend on the employees being aware that they are being monitored. If you configure the product not to do that, then you are unlikely to see those benefits.
Private emails and chats would undoubtedly foul out privacy rights in many countries since the screenshots this system makes are not blurred.
Considering this omission, you should seek legal advice before installing any software like SentryPC in your company.
SentryPC’s user interface was well designed, as it looks and works very well.
The good thing about the information panels is that most are graphic-based rather than burying the administrator in statistics. In graphs, abnormalities are immediately visible, and even in lists, colors are used to highlight critical details.
Most admins should find all the features needed on the side menu and configure the data capture effectively after a short period.
SentryPC’s interface scores highly on our usability and approachability index.
Developers of SentryPC spent a lot of time on the interface but not on the security of the system.
Logins and passwords are the primary protection mechanism. At the time of purchase, a random password (10 characters with lower, upper, digits, and special characters) is generated, and you are required to change this password after logging in to your account.
It is not possible to use two-factor authentication or any other independent verification method.
Our biggest concern about SentryPC is that while it will generate infinite reports about the activities of those it is tracking, it does little to record those who are administering the system. You must also install the agent on the admin machine and add the admin as a user.
In Teramind and ActivTrak, admins can log their views, which is essential to comply with HIPAA requirements.
Plans and pricing
There are three plans offered by SentryPC, namely Basic, Business 50, and Business 100.
It costs $59.95 per year for a single machine license and $19.95 for each additional machine.
It would cost $25.95 per seat or $2.16 per month for ten computers.
In terms of features or service, Business 50 and 100 don’t differ much. Basic and Business 50 will store 500 screenshots, while Business 100 will keep 1,000 screenshots. Other than this, the products are identical.
Costing $995 and $1,595, respectively, these plans bundle 50 and 100 licenses.
This works out to be $19.90 and $15.95 per license per year, which is less than $2 per month.
You can pay for additional storage space, but this seems to be an arbitrary control put in place only to generate revenue.
Business 250, 500, and 1000 are also available for larger companies, with lower prices per head per month.
In addition to being affordable, it is also very cheap for broad deployment.
However, there are several major flaws to this solution, not the least of which is that the Mac version lacks many of the PC’s better features.
SentryPC’s other problem is that customers receive no guidance on the legal and ethical issues surrounding the deployment of spyware.
We asked SentryPC for comment on the lack of guidance to customers regarding the legality and ethics of monitoring staff without their consent or knowledge, and SentryPC responded as follows;
It would have been nice to see some information about ethical use in the FAQ, but this isn’t available at this time.
Generally, SentryPC is a low-cost way to monitor user activity and restrict personal use of the system during work hours if you exclusively use the PC.
Our team would be very cautious about using the keylogger and screen capture parts of this product or deploying it without notifying staff and altering contracts to reflect the operational changes.
Also, tracking the admin machine is recommended so that the powers of this system aren’t used to stalk or harass staff without record.
SentryPC can be invasive, so we’d expect some push-back and a negative impact on employee morale if you use it entirely.