Besides the software we review that enables families to monitor internet usage in the home, there is another market devoted to monitoring and analysing how employees use the net at work. WebSpy is one of the most established applications in this field, and WebSpy Analyzer Standard 4.3 is the latest version which allows an administrator or manager to view and report on all users connected to your network.

WebSpy Analyzer Standard 4.3 can run on a number of Windows operating systems, including Vista, but requires a proxy server such as Windows Server (which we used in this test to generate log files) or a hardware proxy (not tested here).

When those log files are imported into WebSpy Analyzer Standard 4.3, a very wide range of reports can then be generated to view such things as which websites users visit, how long they spend and allocate them against profiles of certain types of activity.

WebSpy Analyzer Standard 4.3 is not an especially easy-to-use application, but it is extremely comprehensive in terms of allowing you to drill down to particular types of data or in terms of allocating user types. This is particularly important for larger companies which will probably wish to analyse data according to different departments or user groups.

Likewise, the reporting options offered by WebSpy Analyzer Standard 4.3 are huge, so that with one or two clicks you can ascertain whether browsing habits are productive or unproductive.

Typically, WebSpy Analyzer Standard 4.3 will be run from a network server, but IT managers will also wish to view information elsewhere across the network. As such, it is possible to publish reports to the web by creating a specific task.

Indeed, setting up automated tasks is one of the main benefits of this application, most of which can be customised by means of Wizards. Should a manager wish to have the software running on his or her PC, however, WebSpy Analyzer Standard 4.3 can be run from any workstation and monitor all computers - all that's required is access to log files.

When generating and viewing reports, the main focus of WebSpy Analyzer Standard 4.3 is obviously on monitoring internet usage. However, the extensive profiles section allows you to set up rules for accessing different types of site: for some, such as adult or gaming sites, policies for blocking access are relatively straightforward, but there are also - more contentious - options for such things as web mail access.

For live reporting, however, you will also require the (appropriately named) WebSpy Live.

OUR VERDICT

WebSpy Analyzer Standard 4.3 is particularly impressive in its range of reporting tools, but to get the most out of these you will need to be prepared to put in a considerable amount of time and effort setting up the required profiles.