The right visitor management system is the foundation of a strong security program
by Caroline Ramsey-Hamilton
The year 2021 is shaping up to be the Year of Visitor Management. It was always difficult to identify exactly who was in your facility, because people are coming in and out, through a variety of different entrances and exits, including the loading dock.
But, by mid-2020, COVID-19 did what legions of security professionals couldn’t – it made everyone aware of who was around them, and who was in their facility at any point in time.
There are many reasons to switch from a three-ring binder system to a fully automated digital visitor management system.
Here are the top three reasons to switch:
1. Improved Efficiency. It takes about 10 minutes for a person to fill out a manual form upon entering the lobby of any organization. The receptionist has to spend time checking each entry, and manually writing their name on it. We have all seen the long lines of people queuing up to sign in.
2. Improved Security. Having a computerized record of everyone who came in and out makes it easy to see who was in a particular place at a particular time. It also ensures that everyone gets a badge, in a system that can be tracked. And, in a catastrophe, like an airplane crashing into the building, it allows rescuers to know exactly who was in the building, so they can make sure to rescue everyone.
3. Capturing Data on Visitors. Being able to look back in time and see who was in the building at a particular day or time can be critical. In 2009 when a young woman, Annie Le, was murdered in a Yale University lab, it was the access control system that identified who else was in the lab at the time she was killed, and made it possible to apprehend the killer.
Now that cloud technology has made it easier to keep large amounts of data readily available, it has also given visitor management systems new capabilities: for example, the ability to link multiple records and see how many people are in any room, at any time, which is an important feature when you are checking social distancing guidelines.
Another consideration in exploring how to add a visitor management system, is how welcoming it is to a visitor. The desk where you pick up a visitor badge is often the first thing a visitor sees about your organization.
eVisitor Software by THRESHOLD Visitor Management Systems is a program we examined because they stress this “welcoming” aspect, making it a good experience for visitors, instead of an aggravating, time-consuming exercise. At the same time, eVisitor is a true, state-of-the-art, cloud-based visitor management system that is both easy to use and affordable.
All you need to run eVisitor is a high-speed Windows computer, and it’s possible to get up and running in less than an hour. eVisitor also includes a small app which connects your computer to the cloud.
If you have never used a visitor management system in your organization, you’ll be relieved to know that the initial installation and training usually takes less than an hour. Assistance with the initial set-up, training, and support is all provided remotely.
Even though eVisitor is easy to use, it is also flexible, so you can customize the features you want to use. For example, you can print out a variety of visitor badges, including time-expiring visitor badges, which turn bright pink when it expires.
VALID today... ...VOID tomorrow
Other areas that you can customize within eVisitor include:
- Adding your company’s logo
- Customizing the different categories of “visitors”
- Adding a list of the hosts (being visited)
- Choice of having a photo, or no photo
- Ability to add visitor flags, and notes
eVisitor Software by THRESHOLD, can create a variety of reports, including:
- Visitors log of all visitors or a single type of visitor.
- A detailed report on a single visitor
- An evacuation list
- A list of flagged visitors (including sex offenders – the cloud environment makes it possible to search these large databases).
The eVisitor Visitor Management program was the most affordable program we reviewed, starting at $950 for one terminal.
It has everything you need to be up and running in one day. You’ll be ready to see how much easier it is to use an automated visitor management and give visitors a high level welcome when they visit your company!
Caroline Ramsey-Hamilton, Principal of Risk & Security LLC, is an active shooter and security risk expert.
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Posted on 3/23/2021