Access Control vs. Visitor Management Systems

A primary concern for educators and parents alike is a threatening intruder entering a school and endangering the lives of students and staff. Two key tools districts rely on to stop intruders are visitor management systems and access control systems. Although both systems help provide a safer environment by helping to keep intruders out and streamlining security processes, there are multiple differences between the systems.

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Access Control Systems
Access control systems allow your staff with digital access cards to enter a secure area, restricting anyone without a card from entering. Although this is a generally reliable system to restrict access to certain areas of your building and track cardholders, security is immediately compromised if a threatening individual gets hold of a staff member’s access card. Moreover, made typically for staff use, access control systems do not provide a means to screen and track visitors, vendors, or volunteers coming into your schools.

Visitor Management Systems
Visitor management systems, on the other hand, were designed to screen and track every visitor. A comprehensive system, such as the Raptor® Visitor Management system, does more than just help keep out intruders. The system lets schools screen and track every individual who enters the building, including contractors, vendors, guardians, and volunteers. The best visitor management systems screen a visitor’s state-issued ID against sex offender databases and any custom databases the school implements, such as banned lists, custodial and guardianship orders, etc. With the Raptor system, this screening is instant, so your front desk employees will immediately know whether the person attempting to visit the building is safe. If a visitor is determined to be dangerous, instant alerts are sent to a customizable list of recipients, such as building administrators and key district security personnel, to inform them that an unwanted intruder is attempting to enter.

Once a visitor is approved in a visitor management system, he receives a printed badge with his name, photograph, and reason for visit/destination at minimum. By requiring visitors to wear a badge, staff can quickly determine if any individual seen in the hall was approved in the screening process or if they are unapproved or somewhere he does not belong.

Which System is Best for You?
Access control systems restrict anyone without a card from entering, helping to keep a school or office premises safe. But access control systems do not have the added level of security that comes with screening and tracking every single visitor. It is impossible to know how safe an individual is if that person is only required to sign a visitor log at the front desk. By using a visitor management system, such as the product offered by Raptor, schools can be confident that each person who enters a school or administrative office is screened and deemed safe.

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