Articles by Paul Terschuren
Access control and visitor management are evolving and becoming more rooted in an organisation’s overall physical security structure Government regulations are driving increased security levels for visitor management. Private industry, where the need to manage and monitor visitors is an equally high security priority, is following suit. As a result, access control and visitor management are evolving and becoming more rooted in an organisation’s overall physical security structure. Other catalysts pushing this trend are increased integration capabilities of visitor management systems with a range of access control systems, new and ongoing software development that provides enhanced feature sets, and additional hardware offerings for turnkey visitor management solutions. Integration for simplified operation Advanced visitor management solutions allow true, real-time system integration, providing more user-intuitive registration and badging processes, among other benefits. They can integrate with existing IT infrastructure including SQL and Oracle databases, and ODBC and LDAP directory systems. The ability to populate calendars with vCards through Microsoft Outlook further facilitates overall ease of operation. Additional levels of integration further expand the utility of today’s more powerful advanced visitor management platforms. A combined visitor management and access control system allows users to consolidate entrance and exit activities onto a single system for improved management in a distributed environment. The single interface enables greater speed and accuracy in scanning and tracking visitors as well as greater control via user-defined security access privileges and real-time activation and de-activation of badges. As an example, the system can be programmed to automatically grant authorised visitors pre-determined access privileges. This is especially useful for high risk operations such as financial institutions and defence contractors, who use the application to enhance security and accountability. Enhanced features for turnkey and enterprise applications From an operations and tactical perspective, today’s more robust visitor management solutions offer numerous features for turnkey and enterprise applications. First and foremost is the ability to network multiple buildings on corporate campuses and/or multiple geographical locations, providing each location the capability of setting their own policies, with mass notification capabilities for informational or emergency purposes. For facilities with high-security areas such as government installations, power plants, and R&D facilities, incorporating non-disclosure agreements, safety agreements, and export control requirements provides an added layer of security and liability protection. Where visitor management is installed in a high-security, multi-tenant locations, the software can be configured for each tenant with customised entry requirement data and unique, self-expiring badges. And by communicating with watch lists in real time, advanced visitor management software can block flagged individuals from obtaining visitor and access credentials. The processing power of these platforms to perform ID matches in real-time can actually help thwart potential problems from happening by simply denying access from the start. Hardware solutions like self-serve kiosks and initiatives such as online pre-registration streamline visitor management Pre-registering visitors Another convenience is the ability for organisations to pre-register visitors, which speeds the registration process while also making it even more secure. The visitor is sent an email notification containing a barcode which can be scanned, either from a printed copy of the email or right from their smartphone. Check in takes only seconds. Advanced software can also send email notifications with the visitor’s photo to the host upon sign-in. Scanning drivers’ licences and passports using relatively inexpensive off-the-shelf devices also speeds up the visitor management process while ensuring higher levels of identification in the visitor management process. Feature sets found on today’s advanced visitor management systems also include the ability for schools and children’s hospitals to perform an instant sex offender registry search for every visitor. Additionally, healthcare facilities can utilise powerful HL-7 patient tracking capabilities, and government facilities can process PIV-compliant credentials in compliance with Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12), which is required for most government buildings. On a daily operations level, the processes of pre-registering visitors via a web browser, issuing parking passes, and customising unique badges for different visitor classifications further streamlines operations while improving security. New hardware solutions The days of home-grown solutions for visitor management are long gone thanks to the variety of automated systems now available. Hardware solutions such as self-serve kiosks are found in locations such as hospitals, schools and corporate facilities to enable a self-sign in process for visitors. Visitors simply scan their identification, enter the appropriate data and print a badge, complete with photo. The system notifies the host, via e-mail, of the visitor’s arrival and records all data in an easy to use format. Mobile tablet solutions also make it possible to verify visitors at any location including entry gates and checkpoints to create accurate audit trails. It’s convenient, it’s fast and it provides security management with an increased level of efficiency and cost effectiveness. Whether hardware or software based, today’s visitor management systems do much more than enhance “front door” security measures. From sophisticated integration capabilities to feature-rich functionality, visitor management systems leverage technology to improve management of physical security.
Part 4 of our Security in Healthcare series Secure visitor management integrated with physical access control systems (PACS) is increasingly popular Controlling visitors to hospitals and healthcare facilities can directly impact security. Traditional methods of visitor management, such as paper visitor logs and handwritten badges are insufficient given today’s variety of security challenges. A hospital using paper-based systems cannot easily cross-check information, confirm patient information, check visitor names against up-to-date watch lists, or visually confirm identity. For instance, one children’s hospital recently chose HID Global’s EasyLobby Secure Visitor Management solution to streamline screening/badging using driver’s licenses or other government-issued IDs. Integration with hospital databases enables benefits like accessing real-time patient feeds using Health Level-7 (HL7) standards. All visitor information Is seamlessly passed to the hospital’s access control system to optimise efficiency at nine stations badging more than 160,000 visitors annually. The example shows what technology can do in the area of visitor management. Today’s visitor management systems enable the screening, badging and tracking all visitors or, at a minimum, those visiting critical areas or “after hours” An increasingly popular and important application is secure and simplified visitor management, integrated with the physical access control systems (PACS). Today’s visitor management systems enable the screening, badging and tracking all visitors or, at a minimum, those visiting critical areas or during “after hours” periods, according to HID Global. Systems should support real-time patient feeds using HL7 integration, which ensures that no visitor is sent to the wrong location or to see a patient who is no longer checked in. Systems should also pre-register approved vendors and temporary employees through Status Blue integration, and support integration with access control systems for the most efficient badging. Barriers to visitor management "Due to financial limitations, many hospitals are trying to make do with older desktop technology, and have not been able to benefit from some of the newer efficient options, such as mobile tablet-based visitor management, "says Paul Terschuren, CEO, STOPware Inc. "And, some hospitals have the mistaken belief that the multiple entrances and complexity of a modern hospital facility pose a barrier to implement visitor management, or that managing visitors more closely will create an unwelcoming culture or environment," says Terschuren. "As a result, some hospitals only implement visitor management after hours, when the number of entrances and visitors is reduced." "However, neither of these ideas should be barriers", says Terschuren –" visitor management can be implemented at multiple entrances, including unstaffed entrances, and managed easily by the software. And, many hospitals have found that visible security improvements, when they are not overly burdensome, actually improve the feeling of safety and security with patients, visitors and families alike. Some hospitals with limited implementations are already realising this and changing their plans to implement systems hospital-wide." Visitor management can be implemented at multiple entrances, including unstaffed entrances, and managed easily by the software STOPware PassagePoint visitor registration STOPware specialises in visitor management, a critical element in physical security for hospitals and healthcare facilities. STOPware’s flagship software product, PassagePoint, provides visitor registration and pre-registration, visit approvals, identity confirmation, visit logging, and integration with access systems. STOPware also provides related hardware including self-registration kiosk, mobile registration tablets, credential scanners, and badge printers. As announced in March, PassagePoint software now integrates with HL7 to allow real-time patient location tracking for hospitals and healthcare facilities, as well as integration with more than 20 access control systems to help make the healthcare environment more secure. STOPware takes Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and all privacy regulations very seriously. The PassagePoint HL7 module only uses patient location data, and functions as a “listener;” that is, the data used by the module is not “stored” in PassagePoint. The HL7 integration only makes use of patient location data and does not collect or use any diagnosis information. PassagePoint is also designed to protect visitors’ Personal Identifiable Information – either by not capturing certain data or by encrypting information that is stored. By treating sensitive information of both patients and visitors in this way, STOPware Visitor Management system is designed to help healthcare facilities protect privacy in alignment with the letter and the spirit of their required regulations. Pre-booking and advance approval Tighter control of visitor and contractor management in non-public areas through pre-booking and advance approval are developing areas, says Dave Ella, Vice President of Product Marketing, AMAG Technology. AMAG has developed a new visitor management solution called Symmetry GUEST that allows visitors to be vetted to provide a safer and more secure environment for patients and staff, as well as the use of smartphones as identification and access credentials. "Guards, and general staff for that matter, need training on how to properly deal with unruly or inappropriate patients and visitors in such a way as to secure the situation" Staff training and turnaround processes are an often-overlooked element of a security plan in general, and a Visitor Management plan in particular, says Terschuren of STOPware. “It is well and good to put guards and checkpoints in place, but what should those guards do when they find someone that should be denied entry? Guards, and general staff for that matter, need training on how to properly deal with unruly or inappropriate patients and visitors in such a way as to secure the situation while minimising the chances of negative impact on the facility. “ STOPware expects that remote reception desk management, which makes use of an operator from another location and/or country who can greet and process visitors efficiently, will continue to grow and improve. Integration of Visitor Management systems with access control and other security-related systems provides for safety and an audit trail in such implementations. “We are also seeing a groundswell of interest in Mobile Visitor Registration and Kiosk Self-Registration and Sign-ins,” says Terschuren. “These systems increase efficiency, empower visitors, and provide for a better visit experience that many facilities find compelling.” Combining identity verification and visitor management “We are also seeing the growing importance of identity verification; and, in particular, the use of biometric methods to verify identity, ranging from fingerprints and facial recognition all the way to higher security iris readers,” Terschuren adds. “Identity verification can tie in with Visitor Management, both in terms of identifying visitors, but also in terms of verifying the authority of hosts and approvers, to improve the security of sensitive areas and facilities in general.” One other growing technology is the ability to link to internal or governmental watch lists, to quickly identify inappropriate visitors before they gain access to the facilities. For example, Visitor Management systems can be configured to perform a Sex Offender search in both Children’s Hospitals and Pediatric areas, further decreasing the likelihood that someone of the list could gain access. Read Part 5 of our Security in Healthcare series here
PassagePoint visitor tablet solution is designed to improve convenience and efficiency of visitor registration At ISC West 2016, STOPware™, Inc., a global leader in visitor management technology, is unveiling their enhanced PassagePoint Visitor Tablet Solution, now with new features and functionality designed to significantly improve the convenience and efficiency of visitor registration. The tablet will be on display at the company’s booth (#19125). Delivers convenience, effectiveness and cost savings “Recognising that mobile and self-service visitor registration are two of the fastest-growing trends in visitor management today, STOPware develops solutions to meet customers visitor security demands for high-quality, fully functional technology to enable both functions,” said Paul Terschuren, CEO, STOPware, Inc. “When combined with the advanced features and technology integrations of our PassagePoint® visitor management software, the PassagePoint Visitor Tablet provides end users with greater flexibility, efficiency, effectiveness and cost savings in their visitor management processes.” Pre-loaded with PassagePoint visitor management software The latest addition to STOPware’s popular line of ruggedised PassagePoint Visitor Tablets comes pre-loaded with the company’s advanced PassagePoint visitor management software and integrated with appropriate hardware to enable fully-functional mobile visitor check-in from virtually any location. A driver’s license scanner, camera and barcode scanner are built in to the tablet, and by adding a mobile printer, users can verify visitors at any location, including remote entry gates and checkpoints to create accurate audit trails. Some customers are shifting away from “behind the desk” receptionists and utilising the tablets to have “mobile greeters” welcoming visitors and signing them in as they enter facilities. In addition to this new trend, the tablet is ideal for use by security officers patrolling campuses, guards at contractor entry gates and checkpoints, and staff maintaining parking and dock entrances. VisitorShield Desktop Kiosk Also new from STOPware is a convenient VisitorShield Desktop Kiosk. This self-service visitor management and check-in verification solution is designed for countertop or registration desk use to allow visitors to quickly and easily self-register at a facility. With self-registration, organisations gain efficiency by controlling the flow of visitors while improving safety and security at their facilities. Additionally, end users can achieve savings by reducing the workload of front desk and security personnel.