Access Control, Security

Vendors (Even the Familiar Ones) Must Follow Access Control Policies

It can be easy for vendors to get overly familiar with their customers and perhaps try to bypass security policies related to access control, waiting time, or entering parts of the facility they really don’t need to be. Therefore, all employees should be reminded to follow established protocols for vendor interactions.

vendor delivery

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At an airport, it’s easy for Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers or other contract security guards to not bother to check photo ID badges for air crews they see all the time. Since they may even be on a first-name basis with pilots, flight attendants, and ground crews, they may not think it’s necessary to check their badges every time these types of personnel want to gain access to a sanitized area at the airport. This is both a violation of policy and not a good security practice.

Similarly, security officers, reception staffers, and employees at your facility need to avoid this habit as well. Even for vendors they see one or even multiple times per day, the protocol should be the same: Sign in on to the visitor/vendor log at the reception desk or other entry point, like the warehouse entrance door; show current (not expired or old) company ID from their firm; wait for an escort before they make their deliveries, do repair, work, or pick up materials; follow the escort back out to the reception or main entry point; sign back out again; and leave the premises.

Of course, depending on the types of deliveries or locations of repair jobs, and the level of trust with the vendors, it may not be necessary to escort vendors the entire time. But giving them free access to the facility can become problematic, especially when substitute drivers or relief delivery people, who the security officers or the employees do not know, feel they don’t have to show identification and sign in because they’ve never had to or have never been told they had to by their colleagues before.

It’s easy for longtime vendors to feel like they’re “part of the team” and want to spend too much time mingling with employees, hanging out in the break rooms, or otherwise not doing their jobs and leaving. Some organizations with warehouses have set up driver “bullpens,” which allow delivery people to wait in a specified, secured area, without having full access to the facility.

As HR professionals will attest, some of their harassment cases involve jokes, language, touching, or other negative behaviors from vendors who may be overly familiar with their clients. Company leaders may need to ask the owners, managers, or supervisors of their vendors to tell their field personnel to be appropriate and professional at all times while on client properties, including following whatever security procedures they specify.