Blurred, People Walking

Visitor Badge Management — Your Questions Answered

Protecting physical access to your buildings and facilities is a vital part of strong security management. Issuing, tracking and revoking visitor badges helps you reduce the risk of unauthorized entry and protects your employees and systems. An integrated Identity and Access Management (IAM) system gives you an easy way to manage visitor credentials and badges so you can use fine-tuned policies and protocols to secure the physical environment.

We know you have questions about visitor badges, and we’re here to help.

Why Are Visitor Badges Essential?

As we covered in our article How to Establish a Secure Visitor Management System, badges matter as part of an integrated IAM because they:

  • Ensure that only authorized employees, customers and other visitors can access your buildings
  • Protect against criminals and social engineers that may try to talk their way onto your premises or use other means to gain access
  • Protect 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.
  • Prevent unauthorized people from physically adding hardware hacking tools or listening devices to your networks and systems

What Is a Visitor Badge?

From a visitor management perspective, a visitor badge is a one-use object that is tied to a particular person coming to your company’s premises. Visitor badges are distinct from employee badges, although they provide similar functions such as: 

  • Providing ID verification
  • Authorizing people to access certain parts of your premises
  • Tracking where visitors are 

A visitor badge can be physical or virtual.

What Information Is Included on a Visitor Badge?

The information on a badge can differ according to your security needs, but typically includes:

  • The visitor’s name
  • The visitor’s photograph
  • The date, time and duration of their visit
  • The person hosting them on the visit
  • A scannable QR code to gain access

Badges could also include the dates of previous visits, whether the visitor is part of a larger group, the visitor’s credentials and other important information.

What Are the Differences Between Physical and Virtual Visitor Badges?

A physical visitor badge is typically printed on-demand when a visitor checks in at your facility. They will then wear this badge for the duration of their stay. A virtual badge can be sent to the visitor’s mobile device and can then be presented like a physical badge. 

Can Visitors Get Their Own Badges?

Yes. A strong IAM platform will provide functions like self-service kiosks where visitors can register, confirm their identity and collect their badge.

Can a Security Team Control Badge Access Once the Visitor Badge Is Issued?

Yes. Integrated badge management means that physical security teams can add to, change, or revoke a visitor’s rights to enter specific areas in your facilities. These updates can be made instantly.

Can You Re-Use a Visitor Badge?

Yes, some access cards (such as HID Seos cards) can be reused, as long as they are assigned only for the required visit time and returned at the end of the visit. In the case where you might issue a re-usable PVC card, it may also make sense to print a paper or sticker badge that specifically identifies the visitor. Both credentials can be slipped into a clear holder for both identification and access purposes.   

What Are the Benefits of Visitor Badges for Visitors?

  • Visitors can pre-register, making it even faster to get badges on the day of their visit
  • Visitors can get badges quickly and easily, via a self-service kiosk, making the process friction free and reduce wasted time
  • Visitors do not need to sign into a physical logbook
  • Touchless check-in means there’s no risk of touching contaminated surfaces
  • Visitors with access badges can seamlessly move between authorized areas of the building, eliminating the need to designate a host to escort guests, open doors, turnstiles or operate secured elevators
  • Visitor badges elevate guest experiences by serving as a visual cue to employees to provide a VIP experience to that guest

What Are the Benefits of Visitor Badges for Security Teams?

  • Security can be confident that visitors have been ID-verified and asked the correct screening questions to get into the facility
  • Security can protect sensitive areas by only granting visitor badge access to low-risk locations
  • Security can add to, revoke and change permissions on visitor badges immediately
  • Badges can be set to automatically expire after a certain length of time
  • Badges are immediately issued as part of the check-in process, with available integration capabilities to sync active visitor badges with existing identity and access management systems
  • Badge issuance creates an audit trail, which is essential for compliance and meeting regulations

What Are the Benefits of Visitor Badges for Others?

  • Facilities management can track where visitors are, which is very helpful in emergency situations
  • Reception staff can focus on providing value-added, helpful services to visitors and others
  • Employees can gain the access they need for the day, should they forget or lose their employee badge
  • Issuing a visitor badge can limit the need for hosts to escort visitors in low-risk areas of the building, while still tracking visitor access

When Are Visitor Badges Not Enough?

Visitor badges are primarily for, as the name would imply, visitors. Organizations issuing badges to employees, contractors, vendors and other extended identities may want to consider a broader solution for credential management.

Is It Possible to Get Custom Visitor Badges?

Yes. Badges can be designed to exact business specifications, including branding. 

HID Visitor Management Solutions provide the power and flexibility to manage any visitor workflow, allowing you to make a great first impression and reduce visitor wait times, all while preventing piggybacking and security breaches. HID Visitor Management solutions:

  • Ensure correct access provisions for every identity type on every visit — at the front desk or through an automated self-service check-in
  • Reduce the burden on front desk staff for tasks around onboarding, vetting, pre-approval and termination for visitors or even large groups
  • Enhance the safety of everyone within your facilities in emergency situations

Rest assured that you meet current compliance and meeting regulations, learn more about HID Visitor Management Solutions.

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.