Visitor Management and Regulatory Compliance: What You Need to Know

We write a lot on this blog about the benefits of visitor management systems for today’s offices, focusing mostly on productivity, brand image, and security. But for companies in some industries, a visitor management system isn’t just a great way to impress your clients and protect your employees from constant interruptions — it’s a key element of regulatory compliance. Here are three types of compliance that a visitor management system can help you achieve.

ITAR compliance

ITAR stands for International Traffic in Arms Regulations. It’s a set of export control laws to prevent sensitive information from getting into the hands of foreign nationals. All manufacturers, exporters, and brokers of defense articles, defense services, and related technical data are required to meet ITAR standards, which is also referred to as ITAR registered.

ITAR compliance is not a small task. Among other things, organizations must register with the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, follow certain import and export procedures, and screen suppliers, vendors, and subcontractors. One of the requirements is to keep records of everyone who enters a facility (and thus could be exposed to sensitive information). This is where a visitor management system comes in.

To be ITAR registered, companies must have a documented visitor management process that involves verifying whether visitors are United States citizens. Visitors may be required to sign an ITAR NDA and a technology control plan (TCP) briefing. Companies must also maintain comprehensive visitor records. A compliance-friendly visitor management system can help you meet all of these requirements. Learn more about ITAR on the U.S. State Department website.

C-TPAT compliance

The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program to ensure the safety of all goods entering the United States. C-TPAT is like TSA Precheck for containers arriving in the United States from foreign suppliers. Under this voluntary program, importers are responsible for implementing best practices for security across their supply chain so that they don’t run into any problems when the goods arrive at the border. Like ITAR, C-TPAT involves several processes, but its foundation is visitor management. The required best practices include taking photos of all visitors, issuing ID badges, and keeping records in a visitor database — exactly what a compliance-friendly visitor management system is designed to do. Learn more at C-PTAT on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.

FSMA compliance

If you’re in the food industry, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). These seven FDA rules set a new bar for food safety practices and procedures. The Final Rule for Mitigation Strategies to Protect Food Against Intentional Adulteration, aka the Food Defense Rule, aims to protect the U.S. food supply from intentional contamination. Like the other regulations on this list, the Food Defense Rule has many aspects, including requirements for visitor management. To help companies comply, the FDA has put together a database of mitigation strategies. Here are some of the strategies listed under Facility-Wide Security Measures:

  • Implement a check-in/check-out procedure at security or reception areas that includes verification of proper identification, screening equipment, and relinquishment of prohibited items
  • Implement a visitor policy which requires proper identification, escorts, and adherence to rules regarding restricted access
  • Implement a policy for driver check-in and vehicle documentation review

A visitor management system can help you achieve compliance, as well as ensure that the food supply is safe. Learn more about the Food Defense rule on the FDA website. If your company operates in any industry subject to ITAR, C-TPAT, or FSMA, don’t put compliance off until it’s too late. Especially for ITAR and FSMA, the penalties for noncompliance can be significant. Sign up for a free trial of The Receptionist for iPad to see how easy the visitor management piece of compliance can be.

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