Visitor management systems play a bigger role in the post-pandemic era. They now include various features to ensure the overall safety and health of the end user entity. Additional points, such as security and privacy, should also be considered by users.
Visitor management systems
play a bigger role in the post-pandemic era
. They now include various features to ensure the overall safety and health of the end user entity. Additional points, such as security and privacy, should also be considered by users.
Even before the pandemic, visitor management systems had become a popular visitor management tool. They replace pen and paper logs, which may render visitor data illegible. They allow visitors to pre-register and sign in automatically, and their footprint in the building can be traced for security reasons.
Now, in the post-pandemic era where businesses return to work, visitor management plays an even more important role. Visitors who are sick should be denied entry. Social distancing and other rules must be maintained when more visitors enter the end user entity.
In this regard, end users turn to visitor management systems, which now come with various new and enhanced features to meet users’ post-pandemic needs. “They say the only constant in life is change, and this has certainly rung true in visitor management space in recent time. It's encouraging to see like-minded businesses deliver pandemic-focused features, providing deeper value to staff members where it's very much become an employee companion tool, too,” said Hadleigh Ford, CEO of SwipedOn.
So how can VMS’s today help end users with their post-pandemic needs? These are discussed as follow.
Facilitate health screening
Visitor management systems ensure that health screening begins even before the guest shows up. “It's now best practice to send pre-registered visitors a health screening questionnaire prior to their visit. The visitor management system would have logic to automatically allow or deny entry based on the visitors answers,” said Debbie Pendleton, COO of STOPware.
On-premises, additional screening systems can integrate with the visitor management solution to deny entry to guests who are high risks. “Today’s visitor management systems have integrations with thermal hand scanners for contactless temperature detection. The temperature captured from the visitor is automatically sent to the visitor management system to allow or block the visitor sign-in,” Pendleton said.
“Our customers use a combination of pre-registration, thermal check on arrival and contactless QR codes to manage health screening needs,” said Steve Barrett, CSO of Teamgo. “Ensure that the sign-in points provide options like contactless kiosks, QR code scanning or other metric like face recognition. Kiosks can be a great way to display additional health information and directives.”
Ensure social distancing
When more visitors come, social distancing
guidelines may become harder to follow. The visitor management system rectifies this situation. “Modern visitor management systems need to support an ‘invite first’ approach, limiting on-site presence only to those who have been appropriately vetted, while adhering to occupancy limit thresholds to manage the total occupancy of a space to reduce overcrowding and ensure social distancing,” said Roger Lall, VP of Product Marketing at Traction Guest.
The VMS may also include hot-desking and capacity alert features to ensure people are kept apart by a safe distance. “Office managers can determine which desks are available to reserve based on the office capacity and social distancing guidelines. They can easily add or remove desk availability at each office location as local ordinances change,” said Leela Voges, Director of Product Marketing at Envoy. “Capacity limiting allows for office managers or facility owners to safely maintain a space without fears of overcrowding or cross-contamination due to a lack of space.”
In the event a visitor is later confirmed to be sick, contact tracing
or knowing whom the visitor has been in contact with in the end user entity is important. “Individual organizations have a unique opportunity to effectively support this requirement; visitor management systems can provide accurate, complete, and real-time information on exactly who was where, when – including employees, contractors and essential visitors. This data supports automated emergency outreach to ‘everyone who was in the West Coast manufacturing plant on Tuesday’ to effectively communicate health outbreaks (or other emergency concerns),” Lall said.
“A visitor management system is almost purpose-built for contact tracing – allowing companies to see who's been on and off site in real time. Users should be able to not only view information on a singular basis, but this needs to be cross-referenced against other team members and visitors on site at the same time,” Ford said.
Security and privacy tips
In the post-pandemic world, the visitor management system should be highly customizable to local health requirements and interoperable with other security/non-security systems.
“A VMS needs to be tailored to an organization’s visitor workflows and workplace needs (compliance); choosing the right VMS will come down to scalability and customization to complement internal processes,” Barrett said. “Ensure, if it’s cloud-based, you understand how infrastructure provides security and if the software itself passes general audits like SOC1/SOC2 compliance.”
Indeed, the visitor management system must be secure
to protect company assets and earn user trust. “From an infrastructure perspective, to support the vast requirements, organizations should work with vendors that are enterprise focused and support robust cloud-based options (e.g. SOC2 certification, scalable architecture, single tenancy options, data retention policies, etc.). It’s important that security leaders engage with their IT counterparts to ensure deployments pass the appropriate security audits and that data residency and deletion policies are adhered to when the system is deployed,” Lall said.
The system must also ensure user privacy is protected. “Privacy is key to employees feeling comfortable sharing basic health information in an effort to keep the workplace safe. Our customers set criteria for who is allowed to work onsite based on answers to health questions, but can choose to retain or purge individual responses to sensitive questions,” Voges said.
“The visitor management system should allow organizations to choose which visitor data to capture and store based on their PII requirements and determine how long data is stored to meet GDPR requirements. Stored data creates a comprehensive audit trail for the visitor, host and visit details. Therefore, the system should have extensive reporting capabilities to include customized reports and automatic scheduling of report distribution,” Pendleton said.