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How To Manage Visitors

Visitors to your facilities come in many shapes and sizes. They may be business guests, employee family members or potential new hires arriving for an interview. Delivery personnel can range from uniformed USPS or FedEx drivers to bicycle messengers; they can be carrying food that has been ordered for a meeting or by an employee for lunch; they can be surprising an employee with flowers or a singing telegram. Contractor tradesmen can be scheduled to work on an interior construction project, to repair a copier, to clean a carpet, to install a new phone or to implement a new network in a sensitive IT server room. Some of these visitors may be regulars, and others may be first-timers.

Regardless of their access needs, all visitors need to be processed quickly, efficiently, accurately and with a sense of welcome and friendliness.

Although employees and building staff with a permanent building or company credential usually represent the majority of people entering a facility, visitors require a different type of processing to keep security at an optimum level. That optimum level often depends on the security profile of the host facility; and the assets (physical or intellectual) to which the visitor will need access.

Some facilities may require visitors to be pre-screened for identity and be escorted while on the premises; others may accept the presentation of a business card or a driver’s license from an appropriately dressed individual. Most visitor management strategies will range somewhere between these extremes and it is important for the security director to determine the appropriate level of implementation.


Crafting a Visitor Management & Security Plan

In all cases, there are four major elements that should be considered for well-managed visitor control:

1. Verification of identity: Who is the person seeking access to the facility and can they prove that they are who they say they are?

2. Validation of the visit: Does the person have a valid reason to visit the facility? Do they have a scheduled meeting with a trusted person within the facility? Is their host expecting them or prepared to accept a delivery?

3. Screening for contraband: Do building or company policies require screening for weapons or explosives? After the Sept. 11 attacks, many commercial high-rise operations instituted the use of package x-ray and walkthrough magnetometers for employees and/or visitors.

 [SecurityInfoWatch, article by David Aggleton] 

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