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Tracking COVID-19 with physical identity and access management

Tracking COVID-19 with physical identity and access management
Knowing who is on a premises at any given time is more important than ever during the coronavirus pandemic. The use of physical identity and access management (PIAM) can help companies achieve this.
When it comes to identity and access management (IAM), the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted how a converged cyber-physical identity and access management solution may just be the way to go.

More demand for visitor management

Willem Ryan AlertEnterprise
Willem Ryan, VP,
Marking and Communications,
Visitor management is a great example of true convergence, according to Ian Lowe, Director of Product Marketing for Identity and Access Management at HID Global.

At the start of the pandemic many companies noted a big uptick in demand for visitor management solutions, coming from a wide range of market segments (i.e., banking and finance, technology, critical infrastructure, etc.). Growth was attributed to businesses looking to adopt more stringent visitor screening and wellness checking in advance of visitors arriving on-site.

Demand for visitor management, though, changed as we progressed through the pandemic. Businesses are now looking to use their visitor management systems and visitor management policies and processes to help them safely return employees back to their workplace. On top of this, companies are looking for help with managing occupancy, social distancing and contact tracing in the workplace. All things visitor management is well equipped to centrally handle.

“Some of our competitors have approached this by launching a new separate application to manage employees. At HID, we’ve taken the approach to expand our visitor management system to provide return to work policies and workflows for both visitors and employees; including, wellness checking questionnaires, touchless sign-in, automated access controls based on screening question responses, and reports that help customers assess occupancy,” Lowe explained.

Helping businesses comply with new laws

Willem Ryan, VP of Marking and Communications at AlertEnterprise, explained that COVID-19 has been a catalyst for the convergence of cyber-physical identity and access management. This awareness has come as IT, HR and physical security leaders realize the days of operating in silos are over.

“In this time of unprecedented change, security convergence is proving one of the most effective ways to protect the workforce, enforce company policies and maintain business resiliency through automated, cross-departmental collaboration,” Ryan said.

With new laws like the California Assembly Bill 685 (AB 685), California businesses will be forced to actively address and regulate workplace and workforce COVID-19 risk and provide ongoing data on exposure or “imminent hazards.” The law, which goes into effect on January 1, 2021, requires public and private employers to provide written notice to all employees possibly exposed to COVID-19, as well as notify the local public health agency of an outbreak. It also gives the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (CAL/OSHA) the power to shut down worksites posing “imminent hazard.”

In order to do this, California businesses will need an accurate, real-time, data-driven view of workplace and workforce COVID-19 risk. Ryan noted that managing the data manually takes too much time and is error-prone — two things businesses can’t afford.

As such, convergence and automation across systems is key. Companies like AlertEnterprise have teamed up with technology providers in new connected IT/HR and physical security identity and access governance solutions that automate and proactively enforce company COVID-19 playbooks. Solutions like these will be key in the coming years as businesses continue to navigate how to safely and responsibly operating during the pandemic.

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