people in lobby

How to Establish a Secure Visitor Management System

Despite everything else going on globally, business hacks and data breaches are still a big concern — so it’s not surprising that many people are focusing on cybersecurity to defend against virtual attacks coming over the internet. This overlooks an important point: robust physical security is still as essential as online protection.

Strong physical security accomplishes several goals, including:

  • Ensuring that only authorized employees, customers and other visitors can access your buildings
  • Protecting against criminals and social engineers that may try to talk their way onto your premises or use other means to gain access
  • Protecting your physical devices, servers, workstations and other systems from being physically compromised and having data stolen. This is more important than ever when there are fewer people — and eyes — inside your building right now.
  • Preventing unauthorized people from physically adding hardware hacking tools or listening devices to your networks and systems

You’re already investing in and focusing on robust digital security; it makes sense to expand that to your physical security and visitor management systems.

What Is Visitor Management?

Visitor Management is a vital part of your Identity and Access Management (IAM) security. Visitor management has several key aspects:

  • It allows you to welcome, verify, process and monitor employees, contractors, partners, customers and other visitors
  • It should be used on all worksites, campuses, buildings and other facilities
  • It can be applied in various ways, including badging visitors, access controls on sensitive areas, surveillance scanners, biometrics and more
  • It can track the location of visitors in your facilities
  • It allows for a guest to be banned from future visits or flagged as a VIP to make guest management easier

What Are the Different Types of Visitor Management Systems?

There are several different types of visitor management systems. Although some of these are locally installed, businesses are increasingly moving to cloud-based IAM. This cloud-based visitor management approach has several advantages, including:

  • Easy integration across your various security solutions
  • Continuous updates to integrate best practices and remove vulnerabilities
  • Simple configuration provided on an as-needed basis
  • Reduced upfront cost for implementing visitor management compared to a local install

You will also want to integrate your visitor management system with other parts of your IAM solution, for example:

What Are the Benefits of Visitor Management Systems?

An integrated visitor management system allows you to provide a low-friction, high-security environment that supports your business and brand while protecting your premises and systems. You can:

  • Create high-quality visitor experiences and keep wait times to a minimum through automating visitor management for a good first impression of your organization
  • Allow visitors to easily check-in at self-service kiosks
  • Customize each experience according to the unique factors of each visitor and what they require access to
  • Easily manage regulations, from security protocols through to risk management and external compliance requirements
  • Set simple or detailed visitor access rules and policies and implement them quickly and easily
  • Understand exactly how visitors are using your facilities and get alerts if anything unusual is happening

Another vital aspect of visitor management, especially in the age of COVID, is touchless access. Self-service kiosks can implement no-touch screening and allow scanning via a QR code or similar. Some visitor management systems can even screen employees with daily wellness questions, report on facility occupancy and more.

How Do I Choose a Strong Visitor Management System?

Here are some of the areas and features you should look for when you’re deciding on the best visitor management system for your needs:

  • Touchless, self check-in that allows for fast and easy visitor processing
  • Notifications and alerts that automatically inform hosts when visitors check-in and out
  • Customizable workflows that allow you to configure access and visitor management precisely
  • Pre-registration of visitors that lets hosts add visitors in advance and send them invites
  • Real-time reporting for up-to-the-minute information on how many visitors are in your facilities, where they are and more
  • Directory management to help you capture and store identities, making follow-up visits a breeze
  • Watchlists to check for individual visitors and receive notifications

For more guidance on choosing a visitor management system, see our executive brief: Visitor Management: A Guide to Selecting and Employing a New Solution.

Visitor Management Solutions from HID Global

HID Visitor Management Solutions offers a range of powerful yet flexible visitor management options for your busy lobby. Organizations big or small can provide a great first impression to their visitors and even manage extended identities like contractors and vendors. Create a total view of who’s in your facilities by connecting your identity, HR and other systems through a wide range of integration options. With 25 years of experience in the visitor management space, you can trust HID as your partner to set your organization for long-term success.

Kate Kim brings over 15 years of experience in access control and visitor management spaces. For the last five years, Kate has provided product marketing and product management leadership for HID Visitor Solutions and the EasyLobby SVM product. Prior to joining HID, she led a global team responsible for card access and front lobby support across a variety of environments at Target Corporation. She is based in Minneapolis, MN.