Top Security Threat to Your Organization: Unscreened Individuals and Groups
Large organizations with extensive properties, many departments, and thousands of employees are especially susceptible to security threats. Additionally, companies dealing with sensitive data and valuable intellectual property are a bigger target for theft, violence, and other security breaches.
One of the most significant weak spots in an organization’s security is that of unscreened individuals and groups. Most large-scale operations include outsourced labor and deal with large contractor groups. Often, these external groups can subcontract the work themselves, moving down into the 2nd, 3rd, and even 4th tier sub-contractor. This extensive outsourcing creates more risks for you and your assets.
There are also other non-personnel members that may arrive on the property for any number of purposes, including delivery personnel, maintenance crews, janitorial staff, and other sub-contractors. Beyond subcontractors, new job applicants, interns, visitors (especially if your organization has a visitor’s center), potential business partners, and any other unscreened individuals or groups who arrive on the premises can create a security risk. Why?
Typically, employees are thoroughly vetted prior to the onboarding process. Before hiring an individual, your company likely has a rigorous HR policy in place, including background checks and other screening measures to ensure the trustworthiness of the talent in question. However, the aforementioned external subcontractors and non-personnel members are not subject to the same extensive screening before gaining access to your property and people.
Non-vetted individuals or groups gaining access to company assets like computers and laptops could lead to serious data breaches and other significant losses, threatening your company’s finances and reputation. Additionally, unscreened individuals pose a physical security threat to your most valuable assets; your employees.
Thankfully, your organization can significantly minimize the risk of security threats by updating your approach to visitor management. What can be done?
Three Ways to Mitigate Security Risks
Mitigating security risks boils down to what your organization does to ensure that only approved, thoroughly vetted individuals and groups enter your door.
1. Raise Awareness with a Visitor Management Policy
Implementing a comprehensive Visitor Management Policy is essential for all large-scale operations. Naturally, each organization’s visitor policy needs will vary based on the nature of its work. For example, the way a hospital handles visitors may differ from that of an aerospace engineering facility. Whatever the case, it’s your organization’s responsibility and obligation to create a comprehensive policy that meets the security needs of your operation.
A comprehensive Visitor Management Policy includes a protocol for:
Employees and associates – All associates – no matter their seniority – should be expected to adhere to pre-determined security standards, such as using badge ID clearance, only accessing the premises during on-duty hours, and not allowing unscreened visitors.
Non-personnel – All working non-personnel, including suppliers, couriers, maintenance workers, janitorial staff, hired drivers, and sub-contractors, should be issued a visitor’s pass after a pre-defined screening process before they gain access to the building. For regular visitors, such as delivery staff, your organization may choose to waive the need for a visitor’s pass, instead allowing them automatic access to a designated drop-off area.
Visitors – All visitors must gain authorization before entry by obtaining a dated visitor’s pass after a pre-defined screening process. The pass should provide clearance only for pre-approved areas of the premises. Visitors must return the pass upon sign-out.
SHRM offers a basic outline for Visitors Policy & Procedures documentation.
A thorough Visitor Management Policy not only prepares your organization to handle visitors securely and efficiently but also increases organizational awareness. Your employees, subcontractors, and visitors will notice and hopefully appreciate the fact that you do not take their safety lightly. Encouraging an industry shift to a more secure workplace starts from the top.
2. Institute a Security Education and Training Program
To create a more secure environment, people at every level in your organization need safety training. Implement a security education and training program to help your employees identify risks, learn what they can do to prioritize and promote security, and understand what they should do when facing a threat.
For example, FEMA, the Emergency Management Institute, offers a free, one-hour course on Workplace Security Awareness. “Employees are often the target of these threats as well as the organization’s first line of defense against them. Threats endanger the confidentiality, integrity, and security of your workplace, as well as your virtual workplace and computer systems. This course presents information on how employees can contribute to your organization’s security,” explains FEMA.
Of course, your organization may consider investing in creating customized training courses with mandatory refresher courses over time for all employees.
3. Implement an External Candidate Screening Policy
Since unscreened individuals and groups pose the biggest threat, implementing an external candidate screening policy is the primary solution.
Your organization should be verifying all visitors’ documents and checking their credentials against the most current restricted, denied, or prohibited party lists.
You may also incorporate a questionnaire into the check-in process, asking for additional information. For example, you may require visitors to outline details such as the length and purpose of their visit, health stats (e.g., are they displaying any cold or flu-like symptoms, or have they been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19), and other relevant data that may affect the security of your organization.
True, ramping up your security measures requires an investment of time and resources. Still, you likely agree that the safety of your material assets, and especially the people under your organization’s roof, is worth the investment. Plus, choosing the right visitor management tools can simplify the process and make your investment go further.
Powerful Tools for Maximizing Your Organization’s Security
OCR Global Trade Management offers a full suite of robust, web-based solutions to help large-scale organizations maximize security while simplifying the process.
Our Visitor Management Software includes:
An easy-to-use, paperless interface you can implement across your organization
Customizable screening with daily-updated watchlists
Biometric capabilities for the best and most efficient security measures
Configurable security questionnaires so you can collect the information that matters most
Auditable visitor tracking, so you have a pulse on the who, when, where, and why
Many more premium features
Download the factsheet to find out more about how our Visitor Management Software can change your organization’s approach to security for the better.