Throughout this last year, most facilities and companies were forced to close down for an extended period of time. As places started opening back up and allowing visitors on site, companies were required to take a closer look at who was on site, where they were going and if they were safe to enter. This blog post focuses on ways a Visitor Management System can add an extra layer of security within your facility today.
Limit the number of visitors
Many facilities are required to limit their visitor occupancy due to new mandates in place. In order to adhere to these restrictions, there are a couple of ways you can follow these guidelines. First, you can set visit limits for occupants based on the number of visitors per host location which allows you to limit the number of people allowed in that particular location.
The next option is to limit the number of pre-registered employees and/or visitors based on occupancy. This is accomplished by setting a threshold for pre-registrations to limit the number of people allowed onsite per day, hour or your own unique visitation period. Once the occupant limit is met, you have the ability to send or display real-time notifications within the software.
Scan government issued ID
Requiring visitors to scan a government issued form of identification is always a great way to ensure extra safety precautions. By forcing a scan of identification, all visitors can be cross referenced in real time against any internal, external lists or third party watchlists.
Scanning this information also guarantees that you will have an accurate visitor audit trail with correct information. i.e. first name, last name, date of birth and spelling will be accurate. Within the software, you may pre-determine what information you need to populate in specific fields. If personal identification information (PII) is a concern, you can mask specific details and determine what information to display. Photos can also be captured and kept on file if required for security purposes.
Screen visitors against watchlists
A great way to guarantee the visitors coming on site are safe, would be to cross-reference people against any internal or external lists that have been pre-created. Anyone checking in will be flagged in real-time if there is a match and real-time notifications can be sent to specified personnel.
Some recommended watchlists to implement would be - BOLO, VIP, terminated employees, etc. Based on the threat level of this person, different actions and notifications can be achieved.
Cross-referencing visitors against external watchlists is also a great way to make your facility more secure. Some lists can include: Government denies parties, National U.S Sex offender registry and more. If a visitor is flagged, you can automatically block the visitor sign in, send pop-up alerts on the user workstation, and send email or SMTP alert notifications to predetermined group(s) with specific action to take.
Enforce user authentication
Should you have the option to use Single sign on, use it! Using Single sign on helps ensure the right people are managing the system and viewing the allowed information based on their own permissions in the system.
This will also help keep better audit trails using user credentials vs. generic logins, auto create user accounts for authorized users only, manage password and you can password rules from your own internal active directory system.
Use evacuation reports
An evacuation report is available on each data entry screen and in addition to being used in case of emergency, this is a popular tool to better understand who is one their site at any given moment The report requires one click to bring the report up on the screen from which the operator can automatically email to a predetermined list and/or quickly print the report.
Integrate with access control
Customers are adding additional perimeter access points, as well as integrating their visitor management system with their access control system for additional security. This will provide temporary access credentials to visitors for turnstiles, elevators, doors and more to further restrict visitors to only approved access locations.
Different credentials can be used such as RFID, barcode, QR code, smart cards, etc. Access can be granted or denied based on customer preference and permissions can also be predetermined based on visitor category or destination. This information can also be included on visitor badges.
Integrating the Visitor Management Solution with the Access Control system helps stop using pre-activated generic access cards for accountability purposes, gives the ability to activate and assign temporary credentials by enrolling the visitor in the cardholder database for full audit capabilities and can manage employees that forget their badges, temporary workers, and contractors.
Link to directories
Integrate directly with your own internal directory systems to automatically verify things like, host information against appropriate directory and make sure access levels are authorized and current.
This provides users with a real-time update to improve security and protect the building and clients against unwanted, unauthorized or unknown people. For example you can create a policy to limit that only active employees in the directory can be assigned to a visitor. Choose to integrate with LDAP, OBDC, HR and access control systems.
Send real-time, customizable notifications to streamline processes by creating different policies for who to notify for different events and determine the action to take when that event occurs.
Examples of notifications can be sent when the following happens:
- Web pre-registration visitor is approved / denied
- Host is notified when visitor signs in / out
- Internal or external watch lists - when a match is found
Deploy web pre-registration
Pre-registration provides access to employees to pre-register their visitors or group of visitors in advance of their scheduled visit to your facility. To further enhance the security of who visits your facility, you have the ability to set up an approval process to further vet visitors by management or HR personnel. Employees with this “approver role” have the ability to monitor the following:
- Manage recurring visits
- Approve or deny visitors based on details entered
- View audit trails
- Conduct real-time lookups against watchlists
- Designate access credential in advance
Another common trend we see when visitors are approved to come on site, is to provide them with a mobile QR code or barcode that they can quickly scan, improving the speed and experience during visitor check-in.
Badge every visitor
Design different badges to help differentiate visitors and to include data required. For example what you print on a contractor badge may be different than what you would print on a visitor that is coming to see a particular host. Also, it's very popular to color-code badges providing a quick visual of visitor type to ensure visitors are in the area they have permission to visit.
Many facilities are choosing to use self-expiring badges to force people to get a new badge every day since they are not reusable. The color change that bleeds through the badge upon expiration is clearly more obvious for security than trying to read a date printed on the badge.
As you can see there are many layers to a visitor management system and many extra layers you can add to ensure the safety and security of everyone stepping foot in your facility.