Introduction – Why You Need It
This white paper provides a description of the integration process between EasyLobby
Secure Visitor Management (SVM) and a variety of access control systems. It is written to
present a description of the “why” and “how” of the integration process between EasyLobby
SVM and access control systems.
Organizations today face a myriad of security challenges at their facilities. Managing the access
of authorized personnel into a facility is a major concern. The primary challenge for many
organizations is to secure their facility from unwanted personnel while also allowing a free-flow
of people who have a legitimate purpose in engaging with the organization.
Complicating the issue is that guests, contractors, vendors, and business partners require and
expect certain levels of access to people within your organization. Organizations employing
enhanced visitor security are those organizations that establish guidelines and controls which
first provide authorization for entry, and then authentication of the identity of the guests.
Organizations generally handle the flow of visitors into their facilities in one of two ways:
- Visitors and guests are always escorted by an employee or host.
- Visitors and guests are allowed unescorted access to facilities.
Organizations that always escort visitors through their facilities do not need to integrate their
visitor management system with their access control environment. The employee or host will
always be able to gain access to any doors with his or her credentials.
The integration of visitor management with access control becomes necessary when guests are
allowed free access to a facility and are not always escorted by a host.
If you want to provide visitors with unescorted access to your facility, here are some reasons
for integrating your visitor management with access control systems. You want to be able to:
- Allow certain authorized visitors or contractors the ability to move through the facility
unescorted (when appropriate, or as an option)
- Limit unauthorized personnel from entering restricted areas
- Track activity of everyone – including visitors – who have entered and left the facility
An obvious solution is to integrate an organization’s visitor management system with its access
control system, allowing the two systems to work in concert to grant entry to authorized
An Environment Without Visitor Management
Before we explain the integration of EasyLobby Visitor Management with access control we’ll
first examine what has often taken place when there is no integration and no visitor
management system in place.
In many organizations – even those that use an access control system – visitors and contractors
are still being asked to sign a paper visitor log. It is estimated that as recently as 2008 no more
than 10% of access control systems were integrated with a visitor management system. While
the paper method of keeping track of visitors is perceived as quick and easy, it provides little
security and poses a number of other problems, including some of the following:
- Names are often illegible, or are false
- In an emergency such as a fire, it is impossible to quickly determine who is still in the
building (check out times are not always required or enforced)
- Information regarding who has visited the company is readily available for everyone to
see, but this information should be confidential (and in some environments it is
mandated by law to be confidential)
- The paper log, and hand-written visitor badges, presents a poor image to visitors and
communicates a message of lax security.
In an un-integrated scenario – regardless of whether there is a visitor management system in
place – visitors are normally asked to first sign in to a guest book, are given a sticky badge to
wear, and then are sent to the security office for a proximity card, or other access control
credential to allow access through various doors. This two-step process is cumbersome and
In an attempt to streamline the two-step process, organizations often provide a stack of live,
pre-programmed prox cards to the receptionist at the front desk. When guests arrive the
receptionist simply hands them one of the cards to allow access.
This procedure, while quick and easy, presents a number of security risks.
For one, cards can easily be stolen or unintentionally left unguarded. Anyone obtaining one of
the cards then has access to the facility.
Another security risk takes place when visitors leave the facility. Visitors can walk out of the
facility with the card, which means they now have a card with access to the facility. There is
typically no record of who was given a specific card. To remedy these problems, EasyLobby set
out to both streamline the multi-step process and safeguard a facility.
The integration between EasyLobby and most leading access control systems is a natural
development. It enhances the functionality of both systems. Although most access systems do a
great job of tracking employees, traditionally they have not done so well in tracking visitors or
Because EasyLobby Secure Visitor Management provides enterprise-class visitor registration,
tracking, reporting and badge printing, as well as web-based pre-registration by employees,
package and asset management, and employee time and attendance capabilities, it is a good fit
to augment the capabilities of access control.
Easylobby Integration With Access Systems
To address the security problems of handing access cards to visitors and/or contractors, both
large and small organizations have implemented a professional visitor management system and
integrated it with their access control system. From the beginning, EasyLobby’s goal was to
integrate with access control systems so that only one step would be necessary when granting
guests access credentials.
EasyLobby SVM is tightly integrated with over 30 of the most popular access control systems.
For the complete list of companies integrated with EasyLobby, visit our website at
The EasyLobby integration with access control is a one-step process. It does away with the need
to send people to the security office for access credentials. The proper access can be granted
right from the EasyLobby SVM because only a limited number of access groups are made
available, so the lobby attendant cannot grant access to restricted areas by mistake.
The EasyLobby integration allows organizations to grant temporary card or barcode access to
certain visitors or contractors directly from the EasyLobby SVM visitor form at the time of check
in. The information entered into EasyLobby is seamlessly passed to the access control system. A
proximity card for the visitor is activated in the access control system using the information
entered into EasyLobby.
When a visitor with an access card leaves a facility they will be checked out by EasyLobby. The
facility is secure even if the visitor mistakenly takes the card with them because our system
passes the expiration date and time to the access system. The access card will no longer be
valid after this date and time. If the card was stolen, it would not be able to open anything.
Employing EasyLobby integration with your access system eliminates the problems associated
with having a stack of live cards left at a reception desk to hand to visitors.
The EasyLobby database also has a record of all visitors that were provided an access card, so
there is a complete audit trail. Administrators can review the records of exactly who was
provided with a card and what dates and times the card was active.
How do all the pieces go together? The following diagrams shows how EasyLobby is integrated
with access control and how the various features of visitor management come together in one
How The Integration Works Together
EasyLobby Secure Visitor Management resides on a Windows computer, typically at the
reception desk, and automates the entire process of registering a visitor and printing a badge.
In some integrations with access control systems, the EasyLobby database must be resident in
the same SQL server or MSDE instance as the access control database. In other environments,
the databases can reside on different servers. A configuration and installation utility is provided
by EasyLobby SVM that allows users to install the integration between the two systems and
configure a variety of settings.
Once the integration is established, using the access control system GUI, customers can create
access levels appropriate for visitors and/or contractors, and then create matching categories
or clearances in the EasyLobby SVM GUI. When a visitor is checked in using EasyLobby SVM, the
integration trigger in the EasyLobby database is executed, which creates a new cardholder and
card in the access control system. The card number will be either the barcode number
automatically generated by SVM or the prox card number loaned and assigned to the visitor by
the guard or receptionist.
When using prox cards, the cardholder record is only created when the prox card field is
populated in the EasyLobby visitor form. EasyLobby supports USB attachable prox card
scanners. These can be used to scan the card number directly into EasyLobby, and also the card
can be scanned for check out, thereby simplifying the check out process.
When using barcodes, the EasyLobby software creates an id number that increases by one with
each visitor so that each visitor has a unique number; much like each employee card has a
unique number. The EasyLobby system also allows you to confine numbers to a specific range,
wrapping when it reaches the top.
When a visitor is checked out in EasyLobby SVM the integration trigger is also executed, which
deletes the visitor and badge from the access control database. If a visitor record is deleted in
EasyLobby SVM before the visitor has been checked out, this action also causes the trigger to
remove the cardholder and card from the access control database.
Integration with a visitor management system such as EasyLobby will ensure that visitors are
granted access to specific areas of your facility determined by the administrator, with the
specific access level assigned by the host employee or lobby personnel.
Convergence And The State Of Access Control Integration
A “hot” topic in Security publications over the past several years has been the convergence of
access control with other IP technologies, or the bringing together of physical and logical
security and identity management. For some, the term convergence is used synonymously with
the term integration.
Integration between access control and other systems is so prevalent today that it’s almost
hard to remember that only a few years ago it was not the case. It’s difficult to find an access
control system today that is not integrated with a variety of other systems – intrusion
detection, video and CCTV, intercom, wireless locks and other systems. Not that long ago CCTV,
access, and alarm management were traditionally separate systems. Not so now.
Today’s security managers routinely expect that their access system will have integration hooks
to these other systems, including their visitor management system. For most end-users, the
bottom line on integration equates to dollars – getting more functionality and economy of scale
out of their security equipment.
Business continuity, regulatory compliance, true risk mitigation, optimization of existing
security assets and operational efficiencies are all within reach when you deploy a
comprehensive and integrated access control solution. Stand-alone, non-integrated access
control systems and other security systems are a thing of the past. They are neither
operationally efficient nor cost effective.
By gaining control of your environment through highly integrated access control and visitor
management solutions, you can strengthen your overall security, improve user productivity,
reduce administration costs, enable regulatory compliance, and improve the image of the
organization as being more security-conscious.
EasyLobby’s integration with your access control system helps ensure that your organization is
controlling its security infrastructure rather than being controlled by it.
For more information on EasyLobby Secure Visitor Management and the integration with your
access control solution, visit our website at www.easylobby.com, or call us at 781-455-8558.