Jumping the queue? Using biometrics help prevent tailgating

Almas Team

One of the biggest issues with tailgating is the potential for crime to be done by someone who you didn’t even know was in the building. Tailgating can expose you to domestic violence, theft, sabotage and terrorism.

Tailgating is one of the most common security breach methods. It starts out innocently, an employee opening a door and holding it open for others, visitors without badges or the passive acceptance of an un-uniformed worker. The problem with these lax situations is that they open your business to undocumented and unauthorised entry by individuals who could intend harm to your property and occupants. Anti-tailgating strategies ensure that only the people who are meant to be in your building are allowed access – approved users go in and unauthorised people are blocked.

Open to unknown threats

One of the biggest issues with tailgating is the potential for crime to be done by someone who you didn’t even know was in the building. Tailgating can expose you to domestic violence, theft, sabotage and terrorism. Not all threats are external though, internal areas may need to have restricted access too. Think of a laboratory, pharmacy, operating suite, equipment room, or data centre. You may want to restrict and track who can access valuable equipment, sensitive files, or toxic chemicals. Inaccurate headcounts during an emergency can also lead to occupants unknowingly left behind or emergency personnel needlessly searching for people who were never on the premises.

What security do you use? Is it effective?

You may already have a security system in place which uses keys, smart cards or pin numbers, but these are open to being lost, forgotten or stolen. Employees may even give out their means of access to someone, either knowingly or unknowingly. It is not unheard-of criminals to resort to extortion, and in these cases, it would be very easy to acquire a key, smart card or pin number. When a breech takes place, it may then be necessary to instigate the recall and replacement of all forms of identification and/or make major changes to your entire security system to ensure that security is not compromised. All of this is very time consuming and expensive.

Anti-tailgating strategies

A variety of anti-tailgating strategies abound. Which system is right for you is dependent on the specific entry point you want to secure, the layout of the entrance, the reason for controlling access to it, and the flexibility of your budget, says Crenshaw.

Tailgating strategies are easy to retrofit and complement most existing security systems. Use one or a combination of these 10 systems:

  • Smart cards house multiple credentials on one card.
  • Security guards can visually confirm a badge matches the holder.
  • Turnstiles serve as a physical barrier and are good for high-volume traffic.
  • Laser sensors can detect multiple people.
  • Biometrics deter employees from sharing credentials.
  • Long-range readers can be used in parking lots and garages.
  • PIN numbers can be added to card readers.
  • Camera analytics enable remote facial recognition.
  • Visitor badges ensure temporary guests are documented.
  • Man traps or air locks require a double set of identification.

The benefits of switching to biometrics

A biometric access control system, based on fingerprint recognition, offers a reliable, simple and very secure way to prevent tailgating and manage access to buildings. Human fingerprints are detailed, nearly unique, difficult to alter and durable over the lifetime of an individual, making them very suitable as a marker of personal identity. The convenience, security and performance of fingerprint recognition systems have made them the most widely used biometric system on the market.

Biometric systems have major advantages over keys, smart cards or pin numbers:

  • Improved security: the individual accessing secure areas is not just an individual holding the proper credentials, but is, in fact, the person who has been granted access
  • Hard to fake: the personal information collected is unique, is extremely difficult to counterfeit and rarely changes over time. Log-ins can be linked directly to a specific action, meaning that if there is a security breach from within the organisation, the person who is responsible can rapidly be identified
  • Increased convenience: no need to remember codes, passwords or tokens

Biometric control systems are very flexible and suitable for use throughout a wide variety of settings including hotels, sports centres, hospitals, offices, warehouses, retail, sports venues and airports. Biometric access turnstiles are commonplace in settings such as music and sports venues, where they are being used to actively prevent tailgating and increase overall security. For example, in Cleveland, Ohio, nine baseball teams have partnered with CLEAR to create a new express line where fans can use a biometric identifier to verify their identity and skip conventional queues. At the CN headquarters in Montreal, a contactless system has been installed at all perimeter access points, as well as at the entrance to the corporate child day-care centre.

The anti-tailgating strategy (or strategies) you choose depend on many factors, including the specific entry point you want to secure and its layout, the reason for controlling access to it, and, of course, your budget. If cost is an issue, you may wish to selectively target entrances that pose the greatest risk for — or history of — tailgating. Obviously, multiple levels of physical security techniques work best, but the simplest and most affordable strategy is repeated communication. Make sure employees know the risks of tailgating, remain alert at entry-points, and feel empowered to challenge unfamiliar faces. Biometric turnstiles help to ensure a flow of passage (the numbers of people who can move through the turnstile with ease) with the confidence that only authorised people will be granted access.

As market leaders, innovators, manufacturers and installers of biometric access control systems, biometric turnstiles and video surveillance systems Almas Industries are well placed to help businesses with all aspects of biometric control and security. Our systems are effective, highly secure and easy to operate. You can arrange your free, no obligation security survey by calling us on 0333 567 6677. If you prefer, you can always send a confidential email via [email protected].