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Tailgating, the passage of an unauthorized person behind authorized personnel, is one of the most common physical security breaches. Also known as “piggybacking”, tailgating often results from a random act of kindness such as holding the door to a stranger. It can be seamless and a lot less suspicious to follow an authorized person rather than breaking into a building. Those with criminal intentions are well aware of this.

In high-traffic settings like large facilities, companies, or residential complexes, the risk of tailgating is higher. Tailgating can expose people and companies to perils like loss of revenue or goods, reputation, and even physical danger. Hence, it’s not a surprise that tailgating is among the top three security concerns of Fortune 1000 companies.

However, it’s possible to mitigate the risks of tailgating, and here are four ways to do so.

1. Managing Access Control

One of the most efficient ways of mitigating tailgating risks is to install appropriate access control systems and manage them methodically — a suitable solution as such is turnstiles. As the entrance control method of choice for bustling facilities, turnstiles allow only one person at a time, and only after the visitors present the appropriate entrance credentials.

Depending on the needs of a building, it’s possible to operate the turnstiles either with or without the assistance of the front-desk or security staff.

2. Video Surveillance

Integration of video surveillance in key security spots on a building, and particularly the main entrance, not only deters criminals but also helps law enforcement authorities to identify the tailgaters in case of a crime.

Thanks to technological advancements in biometrics and machine learning, some modern video security systems can even differentiate between people passing in the foreground and tailgaters.

3. Visitor Credentials

Wearable identification, such as badges, ensures that anyone who carries it is authorized to be in the building. This includes all permanent staff and visitors, as well as temporary workers.

While visitor badges are inexpensive and ubiquitous, other tools such as a QR code generated from a mobile app or biometric credentials can also help to prevent the risk of tailgating.

4. Build a Culture for Security

While appropriate measures such as turnstiles, credentials, or surveillance can reduce the risk of tailgating, security is a collective effort.

“The simplest way to deal with tailgating is to build a culture of the challenge principle,” says Warren Rosebraugh, director of operations, Security Center of Excellence in the Buildings Business of Schneider Electric. “[This requires] making people aware of the risks and empowering them to challenge unfamiliar faces.”

To achieve this, companies and facilities can benefit a thorough security awareness training. They must also have an open dialogue about risks, and empower everyone to take personal responsibility.

While random acts of kindness often make someone’s day, a security breach can ruin many.

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