There’s no question: visitor management systems for schools are critical tools for ensuring the safety of our students as they pursue an education. Such systems are a schools’ first line of defense, providing faculty and staff with the knowledge of who is entering the facility, when, and for what reason. Not only do these systems track the whereabouts of visitors, but they compile important information such as the duration of the visit, how often a guest visits the school, and much more.
But not all systems, and not all vendors, are created equally. And determining the best fit for your school, and its efficacy, is paramount to providing a safe, secure environment for your students.
Here are six questions to consider when evaluating potential visitor management systems for your school:
- Will the system seamlessly integrate with those used by your school district? Many security systems rely on scanners, printers, telephone support, and other specific equipment. Integration with a district’s existing systems is key to avoiding hassles and ballooning budgets. Ask prospects if their systems are proprietary in nature and requiring upgrades. That alone can add significant cost to your budget.
- Is the system customizable? Many systems are available as a package deal – including badges, equipment, and software for one cost. But consider – does your school require all of the bundled features? Some vendors allow schools to pick only the tools they know they will need initially, with the option to upgrade at a later date.
- Is the system easy to use for both faculty and guests? Visitor management systems for schools should be straightforward and intuitive, allowing guests to quickly and efficiently provide their names, addresses, phone numbers and other criteria; while also allowing staff to create and modify check-in processes and reports without frustration. Additionally, some systems offer “return visitor” functionality, allowing frequent guests to sign in more quickly on subsequent visits.
- Does the system offer background checks, and how effective are they? Many visitor management systems for schools can now offer a cursory background check of everyone who walks through the doors (if that’s what you opt for). But be sure to double-check: is a fee associated with each background check conducted? What will be the course of action if a visitor triggers your watchlist? At the very least, the system should notify the proper authorities and your school’s front desk.
- Does the system require a dedicated staff member? In other words, does someone have to monitor the system constantly? This could potentially result in a significant drain on school resources. What guarantees can the security contractor provide regarding the system’s uptime? If outages are frequent, faculty will also be responsible for calling the vendor for troubleshooting, maintenance, and repairs. Many quality systems are fully automated and can even run when a dedicated receptionist is not available.
- Is the information stored in the system secure? This is imperative. Most of your visitors will be law-abiding citizens, whose personal information must be protected under law. Visitor management systems storing sensitive data on a hard drive or in the cloud must safeguard this data using encryption and password protection. Some systems allow schools to wipe visitor data at regular intervals, such as the end of the day, week, or month.
Upfront costs for visitor management systems often include badges, equipment, and software, as well as recurring costs such as annual fees and routine maintenance. Make sure you receive a detailed list of all once and future costs before you sign.
Secom’s visitor management systems for schools streamline efficiency, allowing faculty to focus on primary office tasks while keeping tabs on everyone who enters the building. Multi-unit functionality, too, allows for seamless communication between buildings and staff.
Better yet, Secom believes in an open architecture approach to doing business. This ensures our clients are never trapped into operating proprietary equipment or software.
Find out how our systems can make your schools more secure. Call us at 301-210-0022 or request service online.