The recent coronavirus pandemic was a wakeup call for many organizations, highlighting how little solid data they had concerning the way people were using their facilities. Executives wanted to know exactly who had entered individual facilities each day, where each of those people had gone, where they had spent extended periods of time, and who they had come in close contact with. But because the data was often collected in stand-alone databases, and generally limited to full-time registered employees without including visitors, that management-level detail was just not available.
Weaknesses of Compartmentalized Data
With stand-alone access control systems, full-time staff is normally issued access credentials, along with authorities to match their need to enter specific facilities and/or interior areas. The data captured by such a system can be checked to see when a member of staff had used their access credentials to pass through a particular entrance at the start of the day, gather some dwell time information and what time they had left a building. Generally, that was the limit of the information available, and it was often only available on a site-by-site basis.
Such data sets don’t normally include everybody who had entered the building, because while most full-time employees were included, that still left large numbers of contractors, temporary staff and visitors being admitted using a separate system, in some cases still based on hand-written entry logs.
Because of the difficulty of gaining the value from these various separate data sets, senior management often just ignore them – losing the ability to gain insight from usage patterns, losing the ability to detect security issues, and losing the ability to improve operational processes ranging from HVAC management to maximizing the efficiency of shift changes.
To gain these benefits, savvy organizations recognized the need for more far-reaching changes and the value that could be unleashed by integrating visitor management with access control across entire enterprises.
Eliminating Security Gaps
Clunky and time-consuming manual processes, and siloed data systems in general, are more than just an inconvenience – they can allow more serious problems to arise. One serious issue associated with this approach is the security gaps that can arise from human error.
Integrated visitor management solutions liberate organizations from the difficulties of managing multiple premises and people using stand-alone, siloed systems. By integrating access control and visitor management, visit processes can be automated, and they can include not just full-time employees but all site users, including freelance contractors, temporary workers, cleaning and maintenance teams, visiting customers, VIPs and delivery drivers.
With an integrated system, contractors and guests are registered by the member of staff who is hosting their visit. Appropriate approvals are secured as directed by policy, and they are automatically sent confirmations, arrival instructions and QR codes needed for access. When the visitor arrives, they present the QR code to the IP intercom reader. Depending on the required security level, entry can be permitted via self-enrollment or following manual ID checks. At the time of entry, the relevant host will receive an automatic notification to come and meet their guest.
This approach to integrated visitor management reduces pressure on reception staff and saves employee time and frustration. It also ensures a more professional and frictionless experience for guests.
Enabling New Functionality
Integrating access control into wider visitor management solutions enables functions to be extended almost without limit, to meet the specific and unique requirements of every site. For example:
- Integrating LPR cameras and video analytics to allow rapid vehicle access and link automated signage or send notifications ahead of time to include parking space allocation.
- Including on-arrival messaging to guide visitors from parking to the correct entrances and optimize people flow.
- Security can dial-up or dial-down ID verification and screening processes to match the level of security and risk.
- Using the same processes to manage delivery vehicles and their drivers, directing arrivals to specific holding areas, reducing bottlenecks and ensuring the smooth running of loading bay operations.
- Facial recognition systems can be integrated at mission-critical sites where you need multi-factor authentication to restrict entry to facilities or sensitive areas, such as server rooms and other high-risk environments.
Integrate your Security Systems with Maxxess
Maxxess integrated security solutions are designed to provide the perfect combination of manpower and technology to best detect, monitor and remediate emergency situations, planned events and everyday operations.
Contact Maxxess Systems today to speak with one of our situational awareness, and event coordination and response experts today.
*Originally Published in March 2021 Issue of Security Journal U.K. Magazine