Getting started with Web Usage policies
NOTE Depending on your Absolute product licenses associated with your account, Web Usage policies may not be available.
Web Usage policies control the collection of web usage data from the Chrome browser on your
IMPORTANT The Web Usage policy collects sensitive information about a user’s web browsing activity. Web usage data may be subject to privacy laws in your jurisdiction. Before activating the Web Usage policy, review and understand the applicable privacy laws. Also ensure that you activate the policy in only those policy groups that contain the devices you want to monitor.
You can activate Web Usage policies on supported
- The Absolute for Chromebooks extension is deployed and activated on each device.
- The system time on each device is correct.
- Windows devices:
The devices' Absolute agent is regularly connecting to the Absolute Monitoring Center.
- The Chrome browser is installed on each device.
In the current release, Web Usage policies can collect data from the Chrome browser only.
NOTE Web activity that occurs while a user is browsing in Incognito mode is not detected.
For Chromebooks, the Web Usage Collection (WUC) component of the Absolute for Chromebooks extension is responsible for collecting web usage information. When you activate a Web Usage policy, the WUC component is activated on each device after its next successful connection to the Absolute Monitoring Center. Going forward, the component tracks web usage on each device and uploads the collected data every hour using a secure connection. You can view the last 7 days of data in Absolute reports.
For Windows devices, a browser extension is responsible for collecting web usage information. When you activate a Web Usage policy, the Web Monitoring Agent (WMA) component is deployed to each Windows device. The WMA component adds the extension to the browser's extension configuration, which prompts the Chrome browser to install the Absolute Analytics extension from the Chrome Web Store. Device users will see an Absolute icon to the right of the address bar. The Absolute Analytics extension will also show on their browser's Extension page but they can't disable or remove it. Going forward, the extension tracks web usage in each device's browser and uploads the collected data every hour using a secure connection. You can view the past 7 days of data in Absolute reports.
IMPORTANT Data is available for all web activity that occurs after the activation date of the Web Usage policy. The collected data is available in Absolute reports for 7 days only.
The Web Usage policy collects the following information about each visit to a webpage:
- URL and title of the webpage
- Time spent with the page in focus
By default, the Global Policy Group includes a preconfigured Web Usage policy, which is set to Inactive. Although you can activate the policy in the Global Policy Group, best practice is to create custom policy groups and activate each policy group's Web Usage policy, as required.
If you use tools like Windows Group Policy
The Absolute Analytics browser extension is installed by adding an entry to the browser's extension list. This entry is applied at the device/machine level to ensure the extension is installed for all users. If you use other tools to enforce browser extension policies, and those policies are applied at a different level, a conflict will arise and the other extensions will be removed. For more information about Google's browser extension management, see Understand Chrome Policy Management.
To review the policies that control your device's currently installed browser extensions, log in to a managed device, open the Chrome browser, and go to chrome://policy. For more information about how to interpret this page, see View a device's current Chrome policies. If you identify a conflict, contact Absolute Technical Support to activate Web Usage with a self-managed browser extension.
After you activate a Web Usage policy, the extension begins to track web usage on the devices associated with the applicable policy group and uploads it to the Absolute Monitoring Center every hour. A nightly job compiles the data collected over the last 24 hours and recalculates the average web usage over the past 7 days. You can view your devices' web usage in the Web Usage (Last 7 Days) report and the Web Usage (Trending) report.