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09 Jan 2017

Dispelling myths about effective visitor management

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Reprinted from Asis Boston

Visitor Management is a hot topic in today’s security-focused climate. Unfortunately, incidents continue to occur that force organizations to take a look at their Visitor Management and security procedures and wonder, “Are we doing enough?” Inspired by recent events, many organizations have started to look at implementing a Visitor Management program for the first time. There appears to be a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to Visitor Management. In the interest of helping to clarify the murky Visitor Management waters, we’ve compiled five “myths” and the truth behind each of them.

Myth #1: All Visitor Management solutions are the same. Truth: Visitor Management solutions are as unique as the sites that use them.
All Visitor Management solutions have the same goal: to increase site safety by effectively processing guests. However, that doesn’t mean the solutions themselves are the same. When someone new to the concept thinks of Visitor Management, complex software installations or “we don’t need all that!” type programs come to mind. Truthfully, Visitor Management solutions come in all shapes and sizes.

Each of the examples below is a Visitor Management solution:
• Sign-in log book
• Simple handwritten guest badge
• Web visitor registration and processing
• Expiring visitor badges

See how varied they are? While the goal of, “keep people safe” applies to every installation, the solutions used to achieve that goal are diverse.

Myth #2: Visitor Management is only necessary for large organizations. Truth: Organizations of all sizes will benefit from a secure Visitor Management program.
Safety is important to all organizations, regardless of size. However, one of the more common Visitor Management myths is that systems are only required at places like giant corporate offices that see a hundred guests per day. The truth is a Visitor Management system will benefit sites of all kinds.

Consider the following situations that illustrate how an organization is benefiting from a Visitor Management program:
• A start-up real estate office issues guest badges to visiting home buyers, giving the entire office a more professional look.
• A neighborhood school requires all parents to sign in, easing concerns about student safety.
• A small store has a digital sign-in station at the front door, discouraging those with bad intentions from entering.

Myth #3: When it comes to Visitor Management, “one size fits all.” Truth: A Visitor Management program can be scaled to meet specific needs.
When first researching the idea of a Visitor Management program, many smaller organizations are overwhelmed by the scale of what they encounter. Computer installations, ID scanners, servers… Where do I begin? It’s enough to cause some organizations to say, “Never mind. This isn’t for me.” However, while these enterprise-level systems are great for large installations, small organizations shouldn’t be discouraged: not all Visitor Management solutions are massive, technology-laden modern marvels. In fact, one of the best things about the Visitor Management space is the flexibility of the solutions. Organizations can start small, with something like a visitor badge log book. If the visitor demand requires an upgrade, the organization can then move up to entry-level software, web-based software and more. The point? No organization should ever feel overwhelmed by shopping for a Visitor Management program. There’s a solution out there that’s perfect for you.

Myth #4: All Visitor Management systems require complex software installation. Truth: Many systems can be quickly implemented, even by beginners.
While it’s true that some Visitor Management systems can require some technical expertise, others are extremely simple and extremely effective.

Consider the following:

• Sign-in sheets
• Visitor log books
• Guest badges
• Log books with expiring visitor badges These solutions require little more than a pen or pencil, yet they achieve one of the ultimate goals of Visitor Management: to identify and track visitors to your site.

Myth #5: Visitor Management is unaffordable for small organizations. Truth: There are effective options for all price points. Similar to some of the other myths about software and technical skills above, many organizations assume a Visitor Management solution is going to blow the budget. In fact, some companies claim they’ve never looked into a Visitor Management system because they thought it was too expensive. The truth is that Visitor Management solutions range from a few dollars up to thousands, with solutions at every price point in between. That’s the beauty of a Visitor Management solution: an organization can spend what it’s able to afford and still end up with an effective solution. If your organization has a small budget, start with a visitor log book that features expiring guest badges. If your budget is bigger, consider a Visitor Management software installation. While the goal of “keep people safe” applies to every installation, the solutions used to achieve that goal are diverse.

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