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7 Ways Visitor Management Answers Physical Security Challenges

When it comes to physical access, a front lobby is an organization’s first line of defense. Yet, many modern organizations are still operating with the same unsecure and inefficient visitor processes from 10 years ago. Whether your organization still relies on a pen and paper logbook or you have started to digitalize your front lobby, common security challenges are likely to exist that can be easily addressed with an integrated visitor management solution.

1. Granting Visitor Access With No Prior Vetting or Background Checks

Employees are known identities within an organization, and it is likely that they pass through several checks and approvals before they are granted access to certain building areas. But what about visitors, who are unknown and could pose risk? If your visitor management strategy is too basic to include the necessary vetting and background checks for these individuals, your security is essentially compromised.

HID’s visitor management solutions can check a pre-registered or walk-in visitor’s information against national and local watchlists, sex offender registries, as well as in-house databases for potential matches.  These checks can also be configured to trigger additional workflows, such as automatically sending email requests to the appropriate personnel or departments for approval, or denying the visit if a visitor’s ID matches a high-risk individuals watchlist.

2. Issuing “All-Access” Visitor Badges With No Restrictions

Front lobbies can be stressful environments. In an effort to alleviate this situation, organizations often issue “all-access” visitor passes with no restrictions. This is likely done for ease of processes and time, or because organizations simply don’t have a solution advanced enough to easily grant specific access for passes or simply issue name stickers.

Instead, a visitor management solution with integration to your organization’s access control system means you can grant access to specific building areas and avoid handing out unrestricted badges, which if kept or lost by the visitor, can pose a big security risk.  If preferred, you can utilize mobile QR codes or electronic ID cards, which can be sent to visitors via email and simply scanned on turnstiles throughout their visit.

3. Little Transparency of Visitor Actions and Insight Into Security Threats

Limited knowledge of visitor data outside of a logbook or spreadsheet results in a lack of security intelligence which causes undetected risks. Furthermore, the alternative processes to identify these risks become siloed rather than standardized across an organization.

It’s often thought that having an insight into visitor data beyond check-in date and time, is only achievable with complicated and expensive technologies that are only realistic for large-scale organizations. The truth is that collecting usable and impactful visitor data is an achievable reality for all organizations, given the range of solutions available — from affordable, easy-to-deploy solutions such as HID WorkforceID™ Visitor Manager, to highly scalable and specialized solutions like HID SAFE™ Visitor Manager.

Integrated visitor management solutions provide organizations with live dashboards of current and upcoming visitor capacity, entry, location and exit times, as well as visitor and host details. As such, security managers can retrieve useful visitor data whenever they need it, and make instant decisions based on information such as identification of suspicious activity which may provoke termination of access.

4. Cumbersome Auditing, Reporting and Compliance

For many organizations, collating access reports for both regulatory or ad-hoc purposes is a huge and daunting task. This only hinders physical security further, since it involves lengthy manual processes which are prone to human error and inaccuracies. Not to mention that if audits or general reporting is not carried out, potential risks or unusual patterns can go unnoticed.

With HID’s visitor management solutions, organizations can maintain audit trails in addition to continuous, intelligent reporting for easy auditing and access to reports based on time, location and other factors. In the case of an emergency within a building, receptionists can retrieve a report in a matter of seconds that lists all onsite visitors before evacuating.

5. Lack of Data Security

Using pen and paper logbooks increases the chances of forgery and data breaches, since all data (or lack thereof) is visible for everyone to see. Instead, deploy a visitor management solution that digitally captures and stores data which can be retrieved from anywhere and at any time — especially for an audit or emergency. This means your visitor logs have the security intelligence to function at an enterprise level.

6. Manual Processes Which Are Prone to Human Error

Countless manual processes inevitably increase the chances of mistakes. But when receptionists or security staff are faced with other tasks that need their immediate attention, like dealing with a visitor, the risk increases, and administration tasks can remain unfinished or incorrectly executed. These human errors compromise an organization’s first line of defense.

For this reason, automation is key. Deploy a solution which can automate and simplify visitor processes, such as pre-registration, screening, alerts, ID checks, approval workflows and more. Not only does this reduce manual effort, repetition and errors, but it augments an organization’s emergency response strategy.

7. Lack of Integration Between Internal Business Systems and the Digital Lobby

Security is compromised if there is no connectivity between security systems and other systems in your organization. For a fluid approach that provides complete coverage, utilize your front lobby as an extension of your business and security strategy. HID’s visitor management solutions integrate seamlessly with various data sources, such as PACS, directories, HR, IT databases, physical security departments, calendaring applications, external lists and more, to create a physically and digitally unified approach to security.

For the ultimate digital lobby, utilize integrations that seamlessly combine security software with user-facing hardware — such as HID SAFE Visitor Manager with Vpod Solutions’ Vgreet front lobby kiosks. These impressive, multiuse consoles extend HID SAFE Visitor Manager by providing visitors with a whole host of additional services at a single and secure point, including voice activation, wayfinding, virtual concierge, room booking and more.

Now that you know integrated visitor management can address physical security challenges, explore HID’s visitor management solutions and discover Vpod’s front lobby solutions. Or learn how to select and employ a new visitor management solution with our extensive guide.

Nitin Parihar brings over 12 years of experience in the identity and access management spaces. For the last 6 years, Nitin has provided product management and product marketing leadership for HID Visitor Manager and PIAM products. Prior to joining HID, he led a team managing IAM products at Thomson Reuters. He is based in Fremont, CA.