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The sign-in sheet is your office’s most overlooked security flaw

Here’s a common statement we hear about visitor management systems: Doesn’t this raise privacy concerns? Why should I have to share this information with a company when I’m just here for a short meeting? 

In an era of mass surveillance and frightening security breaches, it’s hard to blame some guests for feeling this way. As we’ll outline here, there are plenty of reasons why visitor management systems shouldn’t raise privacy concerns, but there’s a much simpler response to this line of thinking: Consider the alternative!

Hidden flaws of paper sign-In

The sign-in sheet or visitor log, long a staple of office front desks, may seem like an innocent method for tracking guests, but it is actually among the highest-risk ways to expose your data and information. Over the years, we’ve heard our fair share of wacky stories from facility managers and front desk staff who wished they’d moved away from the logbook sooner.

Would you want to find yourself in any of the following scenarios?

  • An ad agency who just finished presenting their proposal to a client and took a picture of the front desk logbook to see which agencies they were competing with.
  • A tech salesperson in a moment of desperation who walked into a competitor’s office to grab the logbook and run away with the intention of contacting their competitor’s customers.
  • A malicious guest who took pictures of a logbook and sold email addresses to mailing lists.  
  • An overly-curious set of employees who were able to surmise the company was getting acquired based on recent frequent visitors. 
  • An unwanted intruder who trailed someone into an office and collected their contact info from a logbook.  

Why ditch paper sign-in for a visitor management solution? 

In tech-forward cities, we assume that a majority of offices are using updated workplace tech, but the reality is workplaces around the world are still stuck in the past. A recent survey of IT and security professionals showed that 99% of security professionals say their company has a visitor management system. But for at least 47% of them, that system still revolves around a pen-and-paper logbook at the front desk, which is a security risk.

Digital logbooks are becoming more common as companies try to create more welcoming front desk experiences. Companies also want a better understanding of how many guests come through their doors. Our data shows more than two-thirds of companies plan to increase spending on security and visitor management in the near future, but it also suggests that nearly half of companies have yet to make that leap from pen and paper.

Could privacy concerns play a role in that hesitation? If so, they are likely misguided. Visitor management platforms eliminate the possibility of the dangerous scenarios above. And with compliance standards like SOC2 and ITAR, digital sign-in gives businesses a flexible way to collect data while remaining compliant. Sign-in apps also help companies stay compliant with privacy regulations like GDPR by deleting or anonymizing visitor data instantly upon request. 

Making the leap to digital sign-In

There are plenty of tech innovations that only make marginal improvements to the employee experience, but the transition from pen-and-paper to a digital sign-in system is not one of them.

The system takes care of several straightforward tasks and improves the workflow for your front desk employees. Instead of pinging hosts that their guests have arrived, those administrators have more time to work on other projects that provide more tangible value for the company. On top of the security issues discussed above, the logbook creates nightmares for compliance regulations.

Companies who haven’t made the switch are accepting the risks associated with maintaining the status quo in the workplace.

If you’re thinking about switching, visitor management tools are an easy way to combat these issues. Contact Envoy to learn more, and check out our 2020 Workplace Security Report for details on security and safety trends.