VSJ – June 2001 – Work in Progress

Phil Shrimpton, AMIAP has been working in and around IT for the past 11 years. He’s now Project Manager at Prometrics Software Ltd, a company specialising in enterprise system development, software driven hardware products and product-based services. Here he writes about PC STATS, a new product from his company.

Basically, PC STATS provides summary and detailed information about the characteristics of a company’s currently installed PC base, including portable PC notebooks used remotely. It also provides data on user characteristics. This gives IT and user department managers a set of unique and advanced tools with two main aims. First, they can get insight into information relevant to the formulation and evaluation of the effectiveness of PC utilization strategies. Clearly, these data can be used to improve the productivity and efficiency of the organization. Second, they can prevent activities that have a negative impact on the organization. The kinds of data that can be collected include the hardware and software specifications of each PC, usage patterns and productivity factors at the PC, workgroup and all other layers through to the enterprise level. Also, details of what, when, and how long applications are used for are captured. This includes underlying usage characteristics affecting efficiency and productivity. Further, PC STATS can collect usage patterns and characteristics for each user of ‘high-profile’ applications such as Internet surfing and e-mail with enough information to determine if each such use has relevance to a specific individual’s job responsibilities. Similarly, logging data file access and utilisation by each user can determine their applicability to specific job responsibilities. This leads to enhanced security over sensitive, confidential and proprietary information.

PC STATS provides business management with information relating to exceptional conditions requiring immediate attention, performance and productivity statistics at individual, departmental and enterprise levels and PC activities and transaction details required for audit trail purposes.

The use of PC STATS is entirely transparent in that it does not interfere with PC related activities nor does it noticeably impact on PC processing capabilities unless it is required to do so by company management.

The PC STATS ‘Immobiliser’ module additionally protects the PC environment against the use of unauthorised software. When any such attempted usage is sensed it shuts down the offending software before it can be used.

Blanket or limited usage (time, day of week, etc.) authorisations can easily be established via the company’s network at the enterprise level or for groups of PCs (such as departments or locations) and can even be established for an individual PC user. Any attempted software use on desktop PCs or notebooks, no matter where located, outside sanctioned usage parameters, as established by company policy, is recorded along with all relevant time stamps. Details of each such transgression are communicated to company officials via the PC STATS exception alert process.

Phil can be contacted at philshrimpton@prometrics.co.uk.

Interesting project or development? Let us know at eo@iap.org.uk!

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