How Does It Work?

ActivTrak is the powerful tool it is today because we’ve spent years consistently improving the data collecting process. We collect data, slice it, store it, and deliver it in different reports that are quick and easy to access. Constant fine-tuning makes our system capable of instantaneous reporting on a large scale. An enterprise company can run a report on thousands of users and get those results in seconds, not 30 or 40 minutes.

Getting started is easy. In four steps, you’re up and running.

step 1

Create an account

step 2

Login to your newly created account and download the ActivTrak agent

step 3

Install the agent on computers you want to track

step 4

Gain insights immediately in the web application

Our secure and efficient data collection and delivery process could be explained using technical terms and advanced concepts, but let’s start with the simplest explanation. ActivTrak is made up of two parts: the Agent and the Dashboard.


The Agent

The Agent

The entire data cycle begins with the ActivTrak Agent. The Agent is a robust and reliable piece of software with a low system profile. The Agent collects data and executes responses to user activity while running unnoticed in the background of tracked computers.

The Top Applications and Top Sites windows indicate how the team spends its time. A pie chart displays the usage percentage for each application and website. Alternate views break down the percentages of app and website usage by productive and unproductive categories.

ActivTrak senses mouse

ActivTrak senses mouse and keyboard movement and determines if a user is inactive. Workstations with no user input for 2 minutes are considered idle and that time is categorized accordingly. The Agent tracks the active window of the monitored user’s computer (the active window is usually the one that’s in front) and logs details about the program in use like title, URL, executable, and description. ActivTrak collects lots of other key pieces of information, such as activity duration, IP addresses, date, and time.

Each ActivTrak account has its own uniquely coded Agent. The Agent contains encrypted details about where it should send data: back to your ActivTrak account.

As the user works, data is collected and sent through a secure channel to a set of backend servers in the cloud. Information about web and application usage are stored in a database dedicated to each account. The database storing this information is optimized to provide lightning fast search results. This makes the entire experience, from login to viewing of the dashboard and reports feel instantaneous.

For larger accounts

For larger accounts, this data is also written to a separate cloud-based distributed database. These databases can dynamically scale to process very large amounts of data quickly, providing quick responses for even the largest accounts.

The ActivTrak Agent continues to work when offline. During offline periods, it stores all data and screenshots locally and later sends it to your account. This information is reported back to the cloud when a secure connection is available. If there is no internet connection due to an outage, travel or any other reason, the Agent keeps a local copy of the captured activity data on the device until a secure network connection is re-established, at which point the Agent uploads all activity since the last upload.

This ensures continuity of data from monitored device to ActivTrak’s cloud, maintaining a consistent record of all activities you want to capture.

In addition to storing the user’s usage information, the Agents periodically request the current set of alarms defined for the account from the backend server. As the user works, the Agent compares the current state of activity against the conditions defined in the alarms.

When there’s a match

When there’s a match, the Agent initiates the alarm action: taking a screenshot or video, sending an email alert, firing a webhook, etc. If the alarm includes screenshots or images, then this image data is sent through a secure channel to the backend servers, where it is stored in encrypted cloud storage segmented for the specific account.


The App

The App

You need a command center to view all those screenshots, videos, and data. We designed the ActivTrak Desktop and Mobile Apps to display all of the insights collected from an account’s Agents in an intuitive and simple-to-understand way.

The application talks to a separate backend server in the cloud that receives the requests from you, the user. The server takes requests like viewing screenshots or running custom reports, retrieves the requested data from these databases. The databases themselves do most of the heavy-lifting of aggregating the data exactly the way the user requested to quickly return the summarized data to display in easy-to-read reports.

Instead of viewing data in a database or spreadsheet format, you see clear insights displayed in charts and graphs. See the most productive users, productivity over time, most used applications, and a complete history of web activity details and screenshots, including instances of users browsing in incognito mode.

The rapid response

The rapid response of the backend system gives ActivTrak the ability to relay data in real time. Account administrators can consult the Real-time Monitoring reports to get a clear understanding of how employees are currently spending their time by viewing activity data, and real-time screen viewing.

The app doesn’t just

The app doesn’t just display data. It’s also where you configure account settings, invite fellow team members, create alarms, and customize ActivTrak to work in step with your policies. Set tracking schedules, block websites, create groups, and classify activities as productive or unproductive. Create user aliases, tell ActivTrak who not to track, and categorize applications and websites.


The Free Plan

The Free Plan

From the very beginning, ActivTrak has offered organizations a completely free monitoring solution. ActivTrak’s free plan accommodates three users, provides three gigabytes of data storage, and includes our core features, like real-time activity monitoring, productivity tracking, screenshots, and activity alarms.

We’ve seen all sizes of businesses take advantage of our free plan for their own unique purposes. Small teams make ActivTrak part of their daily operations, while larger businesses use the free plan to test the waters before a company-wide rollout. No matter your budget, you can have the insights you need to understand what your in-office or remote teams are doing at work.

ActivTrak Privacy and Security

You own your data. ActivTrak does not view or have access to the private information collected by your account. Our policy is to take a ‘least-privilege’ approach, meaning we only have access to a limited view upon request for support from an authorized administrator for your account.

We’ve put this information together to explain how we handle your data, and the steps we take to maintain privacy and security.


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