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Most frequent questions and answers
Yes, our agent can track usage of the Lotus Notes client by monitoring whether or not this executable is actively running on a machine. If the Lotus Notes client is detected as running, the agent will automatically track whether the Lotus Notes client is being looked at and whether the Lotus Notes client is being interacted with.
The SoftWatch agent (called CollectIT) is the same agent no matter which one of our services you choose. In every different service the agent will receive a new configuration package from our servers so you don’t have to worry about that, but as far as the way it works and the addresses it will connect to on the web – they are all the same.
There is one thing that we expect you to take care of and that is providing a working internet connection to the agent.
The agent sends out information to the cloud using the system account. You can configure it to work with a different account than the system account but we advise against that. Once you install the agent you need to make sure that the system account is able to POST to https://collectit.softwatch.com (to port number 443). If your organization uses a proxy server please make sure that the system account can access through the proxy.
We understand that this is sometimes quite difficult to change proxy configurations so we suggest that you bypass the proxy for our address altogether. If you can – that would be the easiest option. Simply add https://collectit.softwatch.com to the exclusion list and the connections to that address will not be proxied.
If you can’t do that, please note the following points:
- Once configured to work through a proxy, the agent will not detect when the user is outside the proxied environment (e.g. the user took the laptop to work from home) and will always try to connect through the same proxy. If that proxy is not available the reports will be purged and data collected while outside the proxy will not reach our servers.
- The agent can detect the proxy configuration automatically during the installation only if a user is logged in on the machine that’s installing the agent and the credentials for connection will be the user’s only. If there will be other users logging in to that machine chances are that the authentication will not work for them.
Our lightweight agent supports Internet Explorer(IE) and Google Chrome. IE don’t require anything but the agent, but Google Chrome analysis requires installing a simple Chrome extension. The easiest way to accomplish this is by using a group policy that will enable you to gain control over several Chrome settings, including pushing out Extensions and making sure they stay enabled on the users’ browsers. If you are just testing the agent on several machines and would prefer to manually install this Chrome extension please do so from this link.
SoftWatch generates real usage analysis as opposed to a simple inventory, or open/close information on MS Office applications.
SoftWatch distinguishes between four categories of users:
Those who never ran the application
Those who ran the applications but used it for viewing purposes only
Those who use it only for very light editing
Those who are heavy users
SoftWatch is a standalone tool that doesn’t require, or rely on that Active Directory, such as SCCM and SMS
SoftWatch is deployed very straightforwardly and quickly
SoftWatch collects usage data through a non-intrusive software agent
The only way to track real software usage is with an agent. It is the only way to successfully track focus, keyboard and mouse activities.
On average, the thin client’s CPU’s usage is ~0.00001%.
The agent collects:
Inventory of installed software
Data running applications:
Application name and ID
CPU and memory values
Keyboard movements (no key logging)
Window focus information
The agent does not scan the registry. It reads a set of specific keys. This dramatically reduces network load.
Running processes are constantly monitored and are reported on every eight minutes by default
Hardware and software inventory is reported every 24 hours and only if the agent detects changes
The agent has minimal interaction with the operating system. This ensures virtually no adverse effect on performance. The average report size is only 10KB once every 8 minutes. All the reports, analyses and calculations run on the server. Nothing is done on the agent side in order to keep the client as thin as possible.
Yes. The agent’s unique inner topology consists of two elements. One will run on a system level, once per machine, and will provide data on all the running processes. The other will run once per logged on user, and provide data on usage, such as mouse, keyboard and focus information. This means that no matter how many users are connected to a single machine every session is monitored separately. Once the information is parsed by the SoftWatch server, it will be broken down according to user for each individual process.
Yes. We use SSL encryption to secure the data in transit and we offer optional MD5 encryption for data at rest.
Here’s how the data encryption works:
To encrypt the data (username, machine name, domain name) we:
1) capitalize the data (so User and UsEr == USER)
2) MD5 the capitalized string and send that data to the system from the agent. The result is that instead of username / machine name / domain name we will have some encrypted string and the web UI will show that string as the username / machine name / domain. No one will be able to make sense of it.
Now all the data is encrypted even before it leaves the agent.
In order to make sense of the data the customer can create a spreadsheet with a list of usernames in column A and then another column with an MD5 on the capitalized data from column A. The customer can download the data from our web UI to a spreadsheet and run a vlookup to cross-match based on the MD5 strings that should be identical in both Spreadsheets.
Most frequent questions and answers
Yes, Softwatch is compliant with GDPR rules as we do not track personalized data. With the agent and Chrome Extension installed, Softwatch does not track the contents of the files used with these apps. For more info see Softwatch Personal Data Protection Guidelines.
Yes. You can disable data collection for specific users and / or machines by using our Admin page.
We do not collect the Active Directory Organizational Units information, however,
groups can be imported via the admin page and used for results filtering purposes.
Yes. Organizational groups or any other groups can be imported by using a simple CSV file via the admin page. Sub groups (organization “tree”) can also be imported.
After the expiration date, we put the account into ‘sleep’ mode (inactive) – there is no need to uninstall the agents.Should you decide to reactivate our service in the future, we will reactivate the company on the server side and restart the data collection.
If you decide to uninstall the agent after all, you can do so using the uninstaller supplied with the installation package.
Active – The amount of time the application was running
Focus – The amount of time the application was the active, front screen
Interactive – The amount of time that the user interacted with the application using the keyboard and/or mouse
SoftWatch transforms every desktop, laptop or server – real or virtual – into a self-monitoring platform to deliver an aggregate view of actual software usage. SoftWatch maps software, monitors actual usage and analyzes end-user interactivity.
First it generates software inventory, usage and functionality reports by performing in-depth usage metering across internal and cloud environments. It identifies running applications and focused applications, and analyzes end-user interactivity to determine exactly how users are using software. SoftWatch is very easy to use and requires no ongoing maintenance to accurately map corporate software licenses and monitor users’ actual usage without adversely affecting productivity.
You can disable data collection for specific users and / or machines by using our Admin page.
SoftWatch enables organizations to create plans that are based on actual usage levels and measure the success of new business applications by comparing usage levels and how they shift in real time. With SoftWatch, IT managers can make informed, educated and fact-based decisions regarding software purchases and decommissioning unutilized software.
SoftWatch services are a collection of SaaS solutions that help companies effectively move their business applications to the cloud by uncovering real business application usage patterns and effectively manage and optimize licensing. By analyzing real software usage data SoftWatch services provide unprecedented data to organizations and are the only SaaS-based solution that enable corporations to:
Assess the magnitude of moving business applications to the cloud
Examine real working patterns of groups and individuals
Track transition management
- Optimize licensing
Yes. SoftWatch’s Assessment Modules automatically map applications and collect usage data. Based on this data, SoftWatch’s services identify group working patterns, classify users as either Heavy or Light, based on their individual working patterns. Heavy users are those who used a certain application more than X minutes per time period. You can configure value of X, and the time period is flexible, i.e. per day, per month, per quarter. Light users are those who did not use local applications at all; or only used viewing or editing functions for less than X minutes per time period.
The default threshold for becoming a heavy user on Word and Powerpoint is 12 minutes per day, while the default threshold for becoming a heavy user on Excel is 18 minutes per day.
No. The service uses the SaaS (Software as a Service) model. This means that Whatever solution you choose to use, the associated data will be hosted in the SoftWatch’s cloud.