Reception Desk Office Building

Shopping for a Visitor Management Solution: What You Should Know

Find the right visitor management solution that meets your security needs

Read Time:  4 Min

In today’s world, physical security is crucial in all environments. An increasing number of industries are ditching the paper visitor logs and turning to more sophisticated visitor management platforms to secure the point of entry. While such systems can offer advanced identity verification features for the most secure facilities, there are solutions for all environments. Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for a visitor management solution.

Visitor Management Defined

Visitor management represents the practice of welcoming and monitoring visitors and guests at residences, businesses, worksites, hospitals, schools, events, and other facilities. To ensure security and ease of use,  tools are used at the check-in point or the front desk to check people in. 

Why Visitor Management?

The old way of processing and monitoring visitors that used logbooks is replaced with more advanced software systems. Today’s computer-based visitor management systems are much more efficient, especially when combined with surveillance cameras, lists of banned visitors, or biometric scanners. 

Creating an environment where people feel safe is of the greatest importance, particularly when we talk about schools and the workplaces. Parents feel more comfortable knowing that any visitors or strangers at school have been screened and processed through a visitor management system. In addition to tracking the visitor’s stay at the premises, the advanced visitor management systems also collect visitor’s information against local and national criminal databases. 

 Meeting Your Needs

The most important thing to consider when shopping for a visitor management system is to find one that meets your needs. First, consider why you are looking for a visitor management platform; what is your top priority? If you manage a secure facility, for example, then cost and visitor wait time are not as important to you as taking every step to verify an individual’s identity. If you’re shopping for a solution for an office tower, then your tenants and guests would not be happy to have long wait times. Environment is also a factor: if your security staff sits in a guard shack, a mobile solution could be the best fit. 

Available Features in a Visitor Management Solution

Once you identify your needs and priorities, you can evaluate which features you need. The following are several features to consider, among many others. 

How the Check-in is Initiated

How is the individual’s information entered into your visitor management platform? Does your security or front desk personnel type it in? Do they ask for an ID first? ID scanning—the technology specializes in—automatically creates a record of the individual, or updates the record if they have been there before. It also catches fake IDs, adding another layer of security. 

Data Storage

Advanced visitor management solutions feature electronic record-keeping of visitors and their visit history, but where the data is stored is up to you. Data can be stored locally on the device that you’re using to check people in. Or the data can be shared and accessed across locations using by storing the data in the cloud or in your company’s private server.

Self-Serve Check-In

Many visitor management solutions offer both self-serve and full-serve functionality. Self-service can speed up the process, but is it secure as having an individual check in the visitor? Controlling a guest’s access once they are checked in is also important, which leads us to…

Alerts & Notifications

What happens after the guest is checked in? Particularly for self-service solutions, how does the person they are visiting know they are there? Many visitor management solutions offer email or text alerts that provide notification of the guest’s arrival. 

Managing the Banned List

If your organization keeps a list of banned individuals, how does your front desk staff know not to admit them? Do they compare the name and/or image of every visitor to the banned list? An optimal solution is to compare every name entered (or every ID scanned) to a digital banned list. This reduced the chances of an individual on the banned list entering the premises. 

Visitor Badges

Visitor management systems are a must in professional settings today. Large corporate offices and government buildings welcome a large number of visitors daily. Expiring visitor badges can be used as an added layer of security that ensure guests don’t overstay their welcome. 

Enhanced Security Features

Third-party checks and the use of biometrics are easy ways to further verify a guest’s identity and to learn more about them. Many solutions can process background checks and other third-party database calls in real time. Once you have enrolled a guest into your platform, facial recognition and fingerprinting can serve as an easy and secure way for them to check in during future visits.

Visitor management solutions offer a lot of options, and there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. You choose the visitor management system exclusively based on your needs and preferences. However, no matter your environment and industry, your goal is likely the same: screening the visitors to ensure the safety of the facility and the people.   

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