Tailgating: The Uninvited Intrusion in Physical Security

In the world of physical security, where safeguarding access to sensitive areas is paramount, “Tailgating” represents a persistent and often underestimated threat. Whether you are new to the nuances of physical security or a seasoned professional, this article explores the concept of Tailgating, its significance, and strategies to counteract this covert form of intrusion.

Unveiling the Phenomenon of Tailgating

Tailgating, also known as “Piggybacking” or “Following Too Closely,” occurs when an unauthorized individual gains physical access to a secured area by closely following an authorized person through an access point, such as a door or turnstile. Key characteristics of Tailgating include:

  • Unauthorized Entry: Tailgating involves individuals entering a secure area without proper authentication or authorization.

  • Covert Nature: Intruders often attempt to blend in with authorized personnel, making detection challenging.

  • Physical Security Weakness: Tailgating exploits weaknesses in access control systems and human behavior.

The Role of Tailgating in Physical Security Threats

Understanding the role of Tailgating involves recognizing its key functions:

  1. Bypassing Security Measures: Tailgating circumvents access control systems, rendering them ineffective in preventing unauthorized entry.

  2. Social Engineering Aspect: Tailgating leverages social engineering tactics by exploiting the natural tendency of individuals to hold doors open for others.

  3. Insider Threats: Tailgating can be used by malicious insiders to gain unauthorized access to secure areas.

The Significance of Counteracting Tailgating

Counteracting Tailgating is crucial for several compelling reasons:

  1. Data Protection: Preventing unauthorized access helps protect sensitive data and assets from theft or tampering.

  2. Physical Security: It ensures the physical security of employees, visitors, and assets within a facility.

  3. Compliance: Compliance with regulatory standards often mandates robust access control and security measures.

Strategies for Effective Defense Against Tailgating

To thwart Tailgating effectively, consider implementing the following strategies:

  1. Access Control Systems: Implement access control systems that include measures such as card readers, biometric authentication, and turnstiles.

  2. User Training: Educate employees and visitors about the importance of not allowing unauthorized individuals to tailgate them.

  3. Security Personnel: Deploy security personnel or guards to monitor access points and challenge individuals without proper credentials.

  4. Mantrap Systems: Install mantrap systems, which require individuals to be authenticated before entering or exiting secure areas.

  5. Surveillance Cameras: Use surveillance cameras to monitor access points and review video footage for suspicious behavior.


In the world where physical security and access control are of utmost importance, Tailgating represents an insidious threat that can compromise the integrity of secure areas. Whether you are responsible for protecting critical assets or an individual concerned about personal safety, understanding the nuances of Tailgating and recognizing its significance in the realm of physical security is paramount. In an environment where intruders continually seek to exploit weaknesses, counteracting Tailgating is the key to preserving data, assets, and the physical safety of individuals. By implementing robust access control measures, conducting user training, and leveraging security personnel and technology, you can effectively defend against the uninvited intrusion of Tailgating and ensure a secure and protected environment for all.

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