The inclusion of an Electronic Visitor Management (EVM) solution is key in any comprehensive security program that focuses on identity management and tracking all persons accessing a facility. EVM solutions allow security staff to maintain a record of all persons entering and leaving a facility who do not have an access credential assigned to them. Such persons can include service technicians, interviewees, visitors on facility tours, single or multi-day event rentals, etc. For a number of reasons, it is critical that these people are tracked upon entry and exit to a facility, they include:
- Muster reporting during evacuation events
Active visitor lists can be combined with credential holders (currently being reported as in the facility) to provide a comprehensive list of all persons against which muster reports at designated gathering points can be checked.
- Liability waiver sign off
Most EVM solutions on the market today allow for a waiver to be electronically signed during the sign-in process. Examples of such waivers can include non-disclosure agreements for sensitive areas such as R&D sites, or health and safety waivers for areas of a facility that may be under construction.
- Contact tracing
This is particularly valuable in the environment in which we currently live. EVM solutions provide a rapidly searchable database of all persons who have entered a facility and are not in the access control system. In the event that a person known to be infected with COVID-19 has entered a facility, the date, time, duration, and persons visited can be quickly determined without requiring a labour intensive search of difficult to find, difficult find, read, and often incomplete paper records.
- Contactless visit management
Several EVM solutions offer a web-based visit management application or mobile application that can be used to schedule visits in advance of the required date. These visits can then be approved automatically or internally through a review process. Once approved, the visitor can be issued a credential that will permit them access to the facility on the specified date, for the specified period of time. This credential can be in the form of a QR or bar code emailed to the visitor, or an electronic credential pushed to their mobile device. This allows the visitor to schedule, enter, and exit the facility without unnecessary in-person interaction with staff.
- Compliance tracking and verification
The more mature EVM solutions allow for the tracking of license and/or certification information for visitors. This can be used to verify that a contractor is authorized to visit the site to perform specific tasks. In the event that a certification held by the contractor has expired and not been renewed, the visitor and visit host will receive a notification when the visit is scheduled indicating that the specific certification has expired and the visit will be denied until the certification is updated.
The EVM solutions available today fall into two categories, standalone applications or native solutions that are built by an access control manufacturer. Typically, the standalone applications will integrate with the major access control platforms. The top tier standalone EVM platforms often offer a wider range of supported features. Native EVM solutions developed by the Access Control Management System (ACMS) manufacturer have the advantage of providing a tighter integration with the ACMS and allow for a greater range of information linkage between the records in the EVM portion of the database and the access control portion of the database.
EVM applications also differ in the nature of how they can be deployed in a facility. Some products are cloud-based only, some are only available as an on-premise solution, and others either provide both options or operate as a hybrid with some data being hosted locally and some data stored in the cloud. It is critical that the IT and privacy compliance requirements for the data have been determined prior to deciding on which EVM solution is best suited for your organization.
The key aspects to be addressed when purchasing an EVM solution are the policies and procedures for how the EVM system will be implemented and operated by staff and visitors alike. A formal Visitor Management Standard Operating Procedure document should be written and reviewed by all stakeholders within the organization to ensure that all security, privacy, operational, and client-facing / brand perception issues are addressed. If a formal policy for the implementation and operation of the EVM solution is not defined, an organization runs the risk of purchasing a solution that creates operational roadblocks, creates security gaps, creates negative client/customer experiences, and increases operational and capital costs.
Zerobit1 works with clients to build resilience and formalize a security plan that encompasses both proactive deterrence and early detection methods, and adapt to changing environments, technology, and policies. Zerobit1 continues to evaluate proven solutions beyond the hype and limitations to help reduce risk and protect against losses. Need help navigating the best applications and solutions? We’re here to help.