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How Tailgating and Piggybacking Can Crush Your Security

Posted by Eric Nauta on Apr 1, 2020

Your organization wisely invests in perimeter and physical security. You have a security policy and plan in place. You even send employees to training.

All that can fall apart in one fell swoop.

All it takes is one incident of piggybacking or tailgating.

What Are Piggybacking and Tailgating?

Piggybacking and tailgating are not interchangeable terms. Nonetheless, both affect physical security.

  • Tailgating: When an unauthorized person sees a door open and sneaks into the building.
  • Piggybacking: When an authorized person opens the door for an unauthorized person to enter.

Both can be avoided.

With tailgating, employees would learn to immediately make sure the door closes behind them. Don’t swing the door open so much that it gives someone wide berth to sneak in. In some cases, a building may have an entry door where the speaker or access control system is located. It may also have multiple doors located a few feet away from that.

In this case, teach employees to go out the door furthest away from the access control system where most people enter. It makes it harder to tailgate or piggyback. The exit door is usually too far from the entry door for this to happen.

Most employees don’t piggyback on purpose. It’s a social engineering problem. They want to avoid an awkward encounter with a stranger. So, instead of telling strangers to use their badge and close the door, they prop it open to let them in.

It also challenges people who follow etiquette. Many people have learned the nice thing to do is to hold the door open for others. That might work at a home, a shopping center, or a restaurant. However, it’s not appropriate for an apartment, office building, or any place requiring a badge to enter.

Why does security come mostly undone when you allow tailgating and piggybacking? It gives unauthorized individuals who enter the building the opportunity to steal, vandalize, or cause violence.

Even employees can be piggybackers. It’s different if the employees know each other. If an employee lets another employee piggyback and they don’t know each other, it creates an unsafe company culture. Small acts like these can breed more risky behaviors. Besides, it’s easier to set a zero-tolerance policy for piggybacking. No one will feel awkward for not holding the door open. They can learn to say something like “It’s against company policy for me to open the door for anyone. Let me close the door and you can let yourself in.”

Vehicles can also piggyback or tailgate other cars into a parking garage or gated community. They sit back and wait for someone to access the gate, then follow them in.

Ed Batchelor tells Propmodo that tailgating prevention is one of the top physical security priorities for security executives at Fortune 1000 companies. The story reveals that many businesses are investing heavily in cybersecurity. Yet, they’re neglecting physical security issues like tailgating.

Why Security Guards Won’t Solve Tailgating and Piggybacking Problems

Companies fight tailgating and piggybacking with security guards. Unfortunately, this can cause more problems than it solves. First, it’s common for security guards to let anyone enter without asking questions or requesting an ID. It may be due to lack of training, forgetting the training, ignoring processes, or failing to communicate during shift changes.

Just like every department has strong and weak employees, every security guard won’t follow security processes and procedures the same way. Security guards are human. They get tired. They get sick. They will often show up for work regardless of how they feel. This makes them less attentive, which increases the chances of not following procedures.

They’re also one of the most expensive security options. One security guard may not be enough. The cost of security guards rises exponentially with every guard you hire. They’re human and that’s why security guards are a liability risk. They’ve created bigger problems that come at a high price.

For example, a licensed Nevada security guard accidentally shot an employee. He meant to target the robber. In another instance, two security guards working opposite 12-hour shifts in Montreal missed an open window in the building’s daycare. The pipes froze and burst. It flooded the building causing $1.5 million worth of damage. The City of Montreal is suing the guards and its workers’ union.

Security guards not only cause problems but also open the door for crooks. Criminals approach security guards for assistance with a crime. It’s easy for a smooth criminal to get to know the security guard. Perhaps they may already be friends. It turns out that internal thefts that occur in a building with a security guard tend to involve the guard who helps commit the crime.

It’s possible for guards to involuntarily play a role in a theft. They could be talking to friends and family. In doing so, they reveal information about the property that a thief overhears. The security guard does not realize the information shared can be useful for committing a crime at the workplace.

Guards may be complicit in your theft, either voluntarily or involuntarily. Whether it’s a threat of violence or proceeds from the crime, criminals may contact your security guards and convince them to participate in the theft. When the security guard is involved, it removes the largest barrier for thieves.

In the past, guards have even staged the property to make it easier for the criminals to steal. In some cases, guards may have friends or relatives who are criminals and they may not be aware they’ve given someone the idea to steal from your business.

Security guards don’t receive much training compared to police officers. The reason police trainees undergo tremendous training is to learn how to respond as a police officer instead of a human being. In some states and companies, security guards aren’t required to get training or enough to overcome fight or flight mode. Don’t wait for an incident to happen to find out how your security guards respond.

Security guards are considered passive or reactive security. They rarely catch something before it happens. They’re not always around when something happens because intruders know where the security guards are located. They pounce as soon as security guards patrol other areas of the property.

How Video Surveillance and Access Control Fight Piggybacking and Tailgating

A more affordable security solution that gives you the biggest bang for your investment is an integrated security solution. One that has access control and video surveillance. With access control, employees wear badges. Those badges can get them into the parking garage, the building, and specific areas of the building. Yes, tailgating and piggybacking can still happen with an access control system.

That’s where video surveillance closes the gap. Remote video surveillance puts eyes around the property including the entrances and exits. Someone watching the cameras can report incidents of tailgating and piggybacking. Management can respond by training the employees.

Here’s how remote video surveillance works. A trained security operator watches the monitors in a safe location away from your property. This removes the element of danger that security guards face. It also makes it virtually impossible for anyone to connect with the security operator and try to commit an inside job.

The cameras’ visibility act as a deterrent. More so when you add “Area under surveillance” signs around the property. Not all criminals are put off by such deterrents. Video surveillance adds another layer of security by including an audio speaker.

The speaker allows the operator to warn the trespasser he or she is being watched. If the intruder ignores the warning, the operator can call the police while following the intruder’s movements until they arrive. Often, the police officers show up on the property and arrest the suspects before they cause damage.

The video surveillance system records 24/7. It provides the needed evidence for criminal and liability cases as well as false claims. The footage can be used to train employees to improve security.

Video Surveillance Benefits

Video surveillance is considered a proactive security solution. It combines video analytics and human intelligence to maximize around-the-clock security. The system can watch for specific scenarios and alert the monitoring operator. The operator checks it out and acts as needed.

Here are more benefits of video surveillance:

  • Faster response times: Trained operators can catch something before it happens. They contact the police and provide real-time updates. Some companies like Stealth Monitoring have a relationship with law enforcement. The police officers treat calls from Stealth as a higher priority.
  • Liability protection: Provides evidence of incidents related to damage, accidents, and injuries for insurance lawsuits and claims.
  • 24/7 monitoring: Daytime monitoring ensures no one is piggybacking or tailgating. At night, monitoring can deter prowlers and avert damage.
  • Complete site coverage: Cameras can see more at once including areas where security guards can’t venture.
  • Delivers savings: Deters crime, boosts productivity, cuts risk, and saves on insurance premiums. It costs up to 60 percent less than security guard services.

You’ll gain peace of mind having eyes across your entire property and everything is saved on a recorder. When you work with Stealth Monitoring, you have a variety of security options available. Our team works to customize a security solution that meets your requirements and addresses your biggest security challenges. To learn what options are available to you, please contact us.