The Final Push

The Final Push

Security’s role in vaccine management

It is the last push; the final journey as businesses begin to get back to work, and the office, after a lengthy pause caused by the worldwide pandemic. Companies across the globe are orchestrating strategic return-to-work plans with the goal of keeping employees, visitors and contractors safe upon reentry. Physical Security technologies are stepping into the role of vaccine management, providing security and access that’s healthy, frictionless and adds to a positive user experience and their overall well-being at the workplace.

Identity and access, converged across Human Resources (HR), Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) systems, stands at the center of effective Physical Security in a post-pandemic world. COVID-19 has already transformed access governance – automating across a broader, cross-departmental reach that includes security and now encompasses safety, health and wellness.

The new focus is on vaccination management and physical security again plays a critical role in the compliance monitoring of the newly inoculated in the workplace. As of April 2021, some 29% of the U.S. population was fully vaccinated, with 42% of the population receiving one dose and 231 million total vaccines administered. Which brings us to another challenge. According to a report in The New York Times, millions of Americans are skipping their second vaccine done and their numbers are growing. Reasons vary, including the fear of side effects or a pretense that they believe they are sufficiently protected with a single dose.


So how does all this translate to securing identities? Businesses need to know who has been fully vaccinated and other health statuses before allowing access into the general workforce population.

Vaccination records will become part of the digital identity and user profile, redefining physical access to spaces through automated controls according to COVID-19 policies.

Managing the workforce, how they gain access and controlling tenant populations will continue to be transformed in this new era of work. Some spaces will remain accessible, unused corporate work spaces may be outsourced to leased tenants and employers may implement a hybrid approach, with onsite and work from home policies.

Only a data-driven and automated method, converged within the organization and its operations, will provide the highest level of insights, safeguards and most seamless approach to this complex and ever-changing population mix.


Security convergence has emerged as a superior enabling technology approach during the pandemic, aided by the acceleration and proliferation of digital systems. Physical Identity Access Management (PIAM) can address all identities across the entire enterprise and is the cornerstone of a secure and compliant experience for workforce, visitors and contractors.

A converged solution that integrates with HR systems, IT, OT and Physical Access Control Systems (PACS), delivers the ability to assign specific roles-based logical and physical access – based on vaccination status or other health and compliance requirements. Companies have been headed down the pathway of Security Convergence and many accelerated its implementation with the realization that digital workflows can effectively automate critical processes, increase accountability and dramatically improve efficiency.


The logistics of organization and orchestrating the vaccination and inoculation of the public, including the workforce, is monumental and without digital workflows, can be error prone, costly and time burdened.

According to ServiceNow, “successful vaccine management from distribution to administration and monitoring are essential for health and safety. Digital workflows can help solve one of the biggest logistical challenges ever—vaccine management and administration.”

Digital Transformation and Security Convergence have proved as the best way to move forward and support enterprise returnto- work plans. A perfect example is the recent California law AB-685, which requires public and private employers to provide 24-hour written notice of COVID-19 exposure in the workplace.

Managing contact tracing data is time-consuming, costly and prone to error, which businesses cannot afford as they climb back into profitability. Convergence connects IT, HR and Physical Security, an absolute necessity as businesses work to deliver accurate and fast data-driven risk response so companies can return to facilities with confidence.


As vaccine distribution for COVID-19 ramps up with millions of inoculations planned, organizations need to gain accurate, realtime insights into the immunization status of their workforce.

Identity governance software centralizes and correlates immunization data with workforce identities and access, providing organizations insights and controls needed to meet stringent policies and compliance related to workplace health and safety.

Identity Access Management–based software takes on the heavy lifting of proactive policy enforcement, automating and streamlining the logistics based on immunization results. It enables employees and contingent workers to upload vaccination documents through the secure self-service web portal or mobile app, while the platform’s integration framework also provides the ability to securely connect to third party healthcare and vaccination applications for documentation upload.

Businesses will gain a full view of vaccination among the workforce population with analytics and dashboards, and automate physical security controls to deliver frictionless access to the workplace according to COVID-19 vaccination re-entry policies.

In the most common scenario, an employee, contractor or visitor will participate in offsite, remote self-attestation procedures via the smartphone and mobile app or another connected device. Automated email and text notification with self-service link capabilities are generated to remote workforce. Users provide information and documentation on their current vaccination or other health and well-being status, such as a completed follow up appointment with medical staff following a positive COVID-19 test, including health clearance documentation necessary to enter the premises. All information is centralized on the user profile for easy access, correlating to their permissions for access around the facility.

Here is what’s possible with converged identity access as companies get back to business:

  • Robust analytics and tracking across the entire enterprise – at a global, regional and individual facility level.
  • Employee self-attestation and vaccination record upload through mobile app and online portal, HR/Admin review with lobby screening and badge access management.
  • Health and safety self-service for pre-screening, temperature check of workforce during site entry with policy enforcements and access governance.
  • Vaccination dashboards provide critical analytics and insights of vaccination status across the entire organization. Health and Safety analytics track cases of exposed individuals and identify exposed employees by criticality as well as exposed areas for lockdown or sanitization. Software integrations provide an intuitive dashboard with data on potentially infected employees and real-time information on person-to-person proximity records.
  • Contact tracing, social distancing and quarantine dashboards, and location heat maps with COVID-19 positive and exposed cases and other actionable health and safety analytics for safer surroundings and increased situational intelligence. Proximity records for mobile devices in the workplace find close contacts and potentially contain outbreaks before they escalate.
  • The ability to control spaces remotely creates a safe, hygienic workplace that instills confidence in employees, tenants, and visitors by limiting access to specific areas when too many people are in one space.


There are other facets as we navigate this new normal of doing business, including the effect the process has on security for vertical markets and users involved in the manufacturing, transportation and distribution of the vaccine.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) created documentation in the COVID-19 Physical Security library that “encourages organizations involved in the distribution process to assess potential security vulnerabilities and implement corresponding risk mitigation solutions to reduce the probability of disruptions.”

The agency cites potential disruptions by anti-vaccination protesters, insiders, criminals or organized crime or terrorists. An infographic, COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Physical Security Measures, illustrates four stages of vaccination distribution activity and possible physical threats at these stages and potential mitigations.

CISA also created the COVID-19 Vaccine Points of Distribution Physical Security Action Guide. This document provides a list of potential resources available to the public to help satellite organizers and operators enhance their Physical Security to protect workers and individuals.


Technology has been put to the test. The Digital Transformation and Security Convergence have stepped up to COVID-19, with greater identity intelligence for the user and the ability to effectively converge and aggregate platforms, delivering proactive threat detection and prevention – including in the areas of pandemics and health and safety concerns.

Vaccination management as part of Health and Safety access governance and intelligence supports company return-to-work playbooks, preparing the enterprise for a final, successful push against COVID- 19 and the protection of workers.

This article originally appeared in the July / August 2021 issue of Security Today.


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