Office Building Security: 5 Steps to Make Your Lobby More Secure

Your lobby is the initial point of entry and contact for your visitors. It’s where the first impression happens. It’s also the center of your security system. Securing your lobby means protecting it against breaches. It also protects the privacy of your customers.
Installing a visitor system is an essential part of securing your lobby. A Visitor Management System (VMS) is, in part, a software solution that captures visitor information and monitors visitors to an office building.
Read on for more about VMS and securing your lobby.
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Why a Visitor System in the Lobby?

A VMS in the lobby of a building accomplishes several things. It strengthens the security of the building. It also automates and streamlines the process of checking in and tracking visitors.

1. Make the Lobby the Sole Entry Point

Employees of the building can enter the building from various points. But, visitors should only enter the building through the front lobby. A visitor system demands that you control entry to the building.
If everyone is familiar with the policy, then employees will follow protocol. They will direct visitors through the front lobby.
They will refrain from holding open side doors for unknown guests. They will also refrain from accompanying guests through without signing them in.

Secure Entry to Office Areas

Part of a strong visitor system is to control access. This protects employees, the company’s physical assets, and proprietary information. To accomplish this, restrict access to office areas beyond the lobby. Only employees and designated visitors should have access to office spaces.
ID badges and keypads aid in this added security measure. Smart doors are another emerging technology. It works in conjunction with smartphone apps for automatic access.

Issue Visitor Badges

Besides employee ID badges, distinct visitor badges strengthen security from the lobby. It allows you to identify visitors clearly.
We recommend unique visitor badges. Each person wears a badge that includes their name, photo, and date.

2. Require Visitors to Sign In and Out Digitally

Handwritten logbooks are obsolete, to say the least. An automated visitor system eliminates handwriting errors. Plus, the system stores the visitor’s identification data.
If need be, the VMS can also screen guests for felonies and other offenses on official records.

Maintain Digital Logs to Heighten Security

Digital visitor logs are key to securing visitors as well as maintaining security. Visitor logs are detailed records of who is in the building and at what time. Guests check in and note who they are meeting with.
Upgrading your visitor system to include digital sign in logs can reduce errors. Visitor logs ensure that you know who’s in your office, when, and which employees they’re meeting with.
A paper log can risk a customer’s privacy. On that other hand, a digital log eliminates that risk and keeps a more accurate record for future reference.

Use Digital Logs for Emergency Management

With a visitor system in place, security can account for all visitors during an emergency. A complete log would be available immediately.
Without a VMS, security would be rifling through paper registers to get a headcount. Not an optimal procedure for a building fire or other emergency evacuation.

3. Capture Photos and Signatures

When you use unique badging and digital sign-in together, you record visitor photos and signatures. You can use this data to maintain records and verify a visitor’s identity.
Whether you have a concierge, receptionist, lobby security officer, or a standalone kiosk for self-check-in, you can capture all this data at the entry point, your lobby.

4. Collect Privacy Agreements

When we speak of security, physical security comes to mind first. However, your company needs to keep its information secure as well.
You can require your visitors to sign privacy agreements up front. They can do so, once again, in the lobby, before they enter your main office.

5. Take Advantage of Alarms and Security Cameras

Alarms and security cameras can fortify the security in your lobby or reception area. This applies to business hours as well as off-hours. Security cameras can give your lobby or reception desk personnel some flexibility.
For example, a security camera can free up front-office staff. They do not have to remain at the front door, where they must work, make phone calls, and greet visitors at the same time.
Some systems include what’s called a “virtual concierge” for off-hours. Security can handle front desk services from a remote location.
An alarm system can also aid security guards. They have a backup method for detecting unauthorized visitors. Such visitors may try to slip by while the guards are badging an authorized guest into the building.

Designing a Lobby with a Visitor System

The lobby is a bridge between the public area outside your building and the private workspaces beyond the lobby. For this reason, the physical design of a lobby should be welcoming but also provide strategic security points.

Public, Private, and Semi-Private Zones

Outside is called the public zone. Workspaces are called the private zone. Only authorized personnel and invited guests can enter the private zone.
Because much happens in a lobby, it is a semi-public zone. Anyone can enter from the street. Though, employees and guests can conduct business in the lobby.
Thus, a lobby has a layer of security from the public zone to the semi-public zone of the lobby. There is an additional layer between the semi-public zone and the private zone within the building.

Make Reception the First Stop

As you can imagine, outer doors to the lobby remain unlocked during business hours. So, a visitor’s first stop must be a reception desk. From there, personnel can sign in the guest. The guest can then enter the private workspaces. In many cases, an employee escorts the visitor for the duration of the visit.
If a person enters the lobby buy has no legitimate business, the security guard or the receptionist will turn him or her away. That person will not gain access to the private zone.

Add Barriers to Prevent Unauthorized Access

To support this, design the lobby with physical barriers to prevent unauthorized guests from passing to the private office spaces. An unwanted guest should find it difficult to force his or her way past the reception area.
They should find it equally difficult to pass the area unnoticed.

Install Employee Passes

Often, the lobby is also an employee entrance. In these cases, the VMS should include a keycard or other form of automated entry.
That would allow employees to cross into the private zone without involving lobby personnel. This system would pass employees in while keeping unauthorized guests out.

Step Up Your Visitor Management System Today

Your lobby is a critical base for security. A VMS streamlines the entry process for visitors, making their time in the building welcoming and productive.
Contact us with questions about setting up, or stepping up, the visitor system in your lobby in the Philadelphia area.
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About OPS

OPS Security Group has over 80 years of combined experience protecting executives, businesses, residents, guests and government officials throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington D.C. and New Jersey. As a regional security alternative with a service-first approach, we offer a level of customer service that international providers are too big to deliver. If you’d like to learn more, contact us!


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