Who has not done it in their life, an unknown person walks into a building right behind you and you hold the door open for them. But do you know what this person’s intentions are? As human beings, we often have a high degree of trust in other people and are inclined to help others. In some situations, this can turn out to be unpleasant for you and your business. In this article, we will discuss the meaning of tailgating and the dangers thereof.

1. What is tailgating?

Tailgating is one of the most common and unnoticed security problems that companies face today. Tailgating, or piggybacking, involves unauthorised people walking with an authorised user into a secure or locked area.

Deception can range from the following someone through locked doors to dressing up in a costume to deceive others. The list of people who can trick others into opening or holding doors is endless, including delivery people, maintenance people, and so on.

Social engineering tactics can also play a role in persuasion. For example, an attacker can fake a company card using staff photos on social media.

2. The difference between tailgating and piggybacking

These terms are used synonymously, but there is a subtle difference. Tailgating assumes that consent has not been given by the authorised person, whereas piggybacking generally assumes that consent has been given.

3. What are the potential dangers of tailgating?

Hackers and fraudsters may want to gain access to a company for various reasons. Some may simply be interested in stealing pricey items such as laptops and smartphones. On the other hand, some may try to steal data or money by placing spyware in the ports of certain PCs or routers. Finally, one may also try to gain access to the server room to build a backdoor into the entire network and steal sensitive data.

Tailgating can be harmful in several ways. There are various consequences, ranging from simple material loss to financial loss and significant damage to a company’s reputation, as well as a serious injury to individuals. As part of a strong culture of awareness, employees are often taught to refuse access to those who do not belong.

4. Protect your organisation against tailgating

Tailgating can be countered in several ways by companies and their employees. Companies should have proper protocols and access controls for all entrances and restricted areas. They should then train their employees to be aware of their surroundings and take responsibility for their behaviour at work. When it comes to security challenges, employees are also stakeholders. Through cyber security awareness training, you can significantly increase awareness among your employees.

Tailgating occurs more often in larger organisations. Due to the size of the company and the fact that many of the employees work on multiple floors or in multiple buildings, not everyone knows each other. Moreover, these companies often hire freelancers and have large offices with many entrances. This increases the chance that employees do not know each other personally and paves the way for tailgating.

5. Measures to discourage tailgating

Here are some simple measures companies can take to discourage tailgating:

  • Use smart cards and badges;
  • Invest in security personnel;
  • Access control via biometrics;
  • Setting up pin numbers to restrict access;
  • Visitors should be required to wear an ID badge;
  • Mix and match one or more of the above.

Finally, companies should train their staff to use and respect access controls. They should be regularly reminded that it is their responsibility to confront people who do not belong and to discourage pursuers from following them through open doors. After all, even the most sophisticated and expensive security system becomes inefficient if employees leave access open to everyone.