This is the header image for the BPS Security article titled, “How Visitor Policies Can Increase Security Risk.”

How Visitor Policies Can Increase Security Risk

When a visitor arrives at a company, both the visitor and employees have the potential to cause a security risk (oftentimes, this happens unknowingly). How does this happen? Ultimately, it comes down to the fact that a visitor is an unknown variable introduced into the company and distract employees. This is why not having visitor policies can increase security risk! Therefore, it is critical that companies adopt some kind of a visitor policy to help mitigate and/or quickly solve any issues that might arise.

Visitor Policy

This is an image of two binders, one labeled “policies” and the other labeled “procedures”. In the background of this image are an out-of-focus office plant, hands, a desk, and a phone. This mage is used for the BPS Security article titled, “How Visitor Policies Can Increase Security Risk.”

Business.com has a great definition of a visitor policy, “A workplace visitor policy is a comprehensive document that sets the rules and expectations for receiving guests of any kind at your facilities. It’s an important office policy for every member of the company to follow, regardless of their seniority or job title.”

What should the policy include?

  • A visitor record (some kind of timesheet that indicates the date/time a visitor enters and exits the building).
    • Some might require that visitors have an appointment
    • Some might require time caps
  • Release Forms. This will give the visitor an opportunity to learn what is and is not allowed, and acknowledge that they understand the rules.
    • What equipment can/cannot be touched
    • Various locations are off-limits
    • Photography and videography rules
    • Nondisclosure agreements in case they see sensitive or intellectual property
  • Identification. All visitors should have some kind of identifying badge/sticker that will quickly help employees identify who they are. Additionally, the stickers/badges should be different based on the type of visitor. (The easiest way to do this is by color-coding the badges/stickers.) Friends/family members should be one color, vendors should be another color, clients should be another color, and so on.
  • Guidelines for the employees as to who escorts the visitors to/from a particular location.
  • If your visitors need to access the internet, be sure to have a separate network and password.

Enforcing a Security Policy

This is an image of a man wearing a business suit checking in at a front desk at a company’s office.This mage is used for the BPS Security article titled, “How Visitor Policies Can Increase Security Risk.”

Based on its name, the BBC Good Food’s Toffee Apple Cake sounds simple. Technically, for those that follow the recipe, it is simple. However, since baking is finicky (and ultimately, a chemistry experiment), omitting a single step or poorly choosing ingredient substitutes will result in a Toffee Apple Blob… at best. A company’s visitor policy is the same!

So, it is critical that all employees (regardless of their seniority) are aware of the policy, and follow it because not following visitor policies can increase security risk!

Distributing the Policy to Employees

We strongly encourage companies to provide a copy of the visitor policy during their onboarding! Additionally, it is wise to review this policy with all staff at least once a year.

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Okay, there are two ways to do this — positive and negative reinforcement. Usually, we are huge advocates for adopting both, but in this case, employees eithe follow the policy or do not. That said, it is wise to have a penalty in place for the employees that do not follow the visitor policy.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, lack of or un-enforced visitor policies can increase security risk. So, it is wise to make sure your company both adopts and implements a visitor policy!
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