Cybersecurity, Facility Security, Security Hardware and Technology

Security Breaches and the Dangers of Tailgating

A couple of years back, Boon Edam surveyed a large group of security executives to gauge their understanding of how big a risk tailgating is to their enterprise security and organization overall. The study uncovered something that shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise to any of us, especially as the light was starting to shine on the associated risks of tailgating during this time.

Tailgating is when an unauthorized person enters a facility or area by following, or being let in by, an unsuspecting authorized person. A large majority of the surveyed security executives (74%) believed that they weren’t tracking tailgating enough at their organization, and it’s likely something that will lead to a security breach. Interestingly enough, that same group of security executives also felt that guards and barriers and unmanned barriers were the most effective at mitigating tailgating. Yet, only 18% had this access control in place to prevent tailgating.

Human Engineering: A Cybercriminal’s Way in

Tailgating is primarily a risk in facilities and institutions that have a high volume of expected traffic. Cybercriminals know this and see this as a cheaper alternative to spoofing access control cards or team member IDs. They exploit the good manners most of us are instilled with from a very young age, as naturally, many of us won’t even second-guess holding a door open for the person behind us. However, in doing so, an organization’s access control system is rendered completely useless, and we’ve opened the door for potential threats.

After tailgating and entering an office, an attacker may compromise the organization’s network and access confidential documents, which might be used to target and carry out a critical cyberattack on the organization—one that can cost millions of dollars. Once inside, an attacker could connect a device to the organization’s network and steal sensitive information or even upload malware into an unlocked computer. 

Nonetheless, no matter how much money it costs an organization, any breach can’t compare to the amount of damage done to an organization’s reputation. According to a report by Aon and Pentland Analytics, the impact of cyberattacks on shareholder value can be substantial—with some companies showing a fall of 25% in their market value over the year following an attack.

Prevent Tailgating with Autonomous Access Control

Because of this, an organization shouldn’t simply rely on their employees or even legacy access control systems to make sure unauthorized users do not gain access. Legacy systems such as security guards, cameras, card readers, and biometrics alone may no longer be enough to secure premises. New and dangerous threats emerge daily, and only the right access control system can ensure organizational safety and growth. Tailgating is a dangerous offense that analog video surveillance and outdated access control systems may have difficulty detecting.

Luckily, frictionless and secure physical access control solutions now exist that utilize 3D facial recognition and artificial intelligence (AI) to enable highly secure entry into physical locations. This access control technology offers a suite of features designed to make institutions safer and more secure, such as facial authentication and tailgating detection. For example, Alcatraz’s AI-powered access control solution uses passive sensing, machine learning, and continuous training to identify authorized users accurately. 

Additionally, Alcatraz Rock’s 3D imaging technology is designed to identify employees in real-time and track them as they move, scanning their faces and granting access as they reach the door. By using facial authentication, the solution will only give access to those registered in the system and deny access to those who are not, thus circumventing human engineering and leaving us all with our manners intact.

Blaine Frederick has 20+ years of experience in the physical security industry with specific expertise in the biometric space. He currently serves as the VP of Product at Alcatraz, where he leads the Product and Engineering teams. Prior to his work at Alcatraz, he served as Co-Founder and Principal of BDIS, VP of Product for EyeLock, and Director of Product Management at STANLEY Security, a global division of Stanley Black & Decker. He received a B.S. in electrical engineering from Purdue University.