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With any security strategy, it is essential to implement physical barriers and access points, ensuring that only the right people can access a specific area. One achieves this goal through access control security, where authorized individuals can access distinct zones while restricting unauthorized personnel. Regarding comprehensive security coverage, tailgating and piggybacking are common threats.

But what exactly are tailgating and piggybacking, and how do each of these relate to access control security? Tailgating is where an unauthorized party follows closely behind an authorized person to gain entrance somewhere without proper credentials. Piggybacking is when an authorized user gains access to a restricted area and helps an unauthorized user enter the site. Both of these terms are considered a type of security breach.

Role of Physical Security and Security Personnel

Preventing these events from happening is where physical security and security personnel come into play. Physical security measures like optical turnstiles are effective methods used to support this responsibility.

5 Smarter Security optical turnstiles in lobby area

Defining Tailgating and Piggybacking

Providing effective physical access control requires understanding some methods used by those attempting to enter a restricted area with unauthorized access. Two of the methods that stand out are tailgating and piggybacking.


A “tailgating attack” is where an unauthorized person follows behind an authorized individual to gain entry without being detected by a guard or alarm system. Picture this: an employee swipes their access card at a security turnstile, and just as they walk through the gate, another person quickly slips through before the barrier closes. They accomplish this without credentials or the authorized person knowing about their entry.

However, someone might tailgate without meaning to, and you may need to make them aware of access rules and protocols in the building. Still, the aftermath can be dangerous when a person is tailgating with malicious intent. Being informed is the first line of defense for high-security locations, such as government buildings and educational facilities. It is essential to understand tailgating and implement measures for preventing these threats.


Piggybacking is where an unauthorized individual gains access to an area once the authorized person allows them to enter. One example is holding the door open for someone, not knowing they are granting access to a potential threat.

While the terms have only small differences, they are both ways of allowing unauthorized entry into an important and secure area. This leads to potentially dangerous threats in the building.

Best Practices to Prevent Tailgating and Piggybacking Attacks

Utilizing advanced physical access control systems is essential for combating the risks associated with tailgating. With comprehensive training and education, businesses can implement best practices for protecting their buildings.

Enhance Physical Security Measures

Additional layers of security, such as video surveillance, security cameras, and security guards, are common. However, optical turnstiles and physical access control systems are more effective and vital. This plays a key role in preventing tailgating or piggybacking attempts by making sure only one person passes through each access point at a time. 

Authentication and Credentials

Businesses must place importance on proper authentication to gain entry to secure locations. Every employee should understand the importance of not sharing credentials and access to highly restricted areas of the building.

Physical Barriers

Security mechanisms like optical turnstiles and speed gates can greatly affect building security. Implementing best practices while using access control technologies presents a variety of benefits for securing your organization from tailgating. You can better protect your business from unforeseen threats with an integrated approach and preventative mindset.

infographic detailing how smarter security's solutions function and benefit users

Innovative Solutions at Smarter Security

Smarter Security, a leader in physical access control security, provides innovative solutions to prevent the risks associated with tailgating. Our extensive knowledge in the field helps strengthen security at businesses, ensuring that their secure areas remain closed to unauthorized personnel. Several of our critical solutions include Fastlane turnstiles, Door Detective, and SmarterLobby:

Fastlane Turnstiles

We offer various optical turnstile models ranging from the Fastlane Glassgate 150 to the Fastlane Glassgate 400 Plus. With intelligent technology and design, these turnstiles are effective physical barriers to prevent tailgating attacks. Our turnstile gates are trusted by over 50% of the Fortune 100 companies, establishing us as a benchmark for tailgating security in the industry.

Door Detective

The Door Detective is a unique security solution that stands apart from conventional doors with locks. While traditional doors can only offer security when closed, the Door Detective secures the open door. It uses a network of beam paths and neural network intelligence to ensure that only authorized individuals can enter and do so in the correct direction. This technology is also helpful for tracking the number of people in a room, especially when there are capacity limits.

Have you heard of our latest product, the Door Detective SG? It has advanced Sidegate® detection technology, which takes tailgating detection to the next level. The Door Detective SG can detect side-by-side collusion attempts through wider single or double door entries. It’s a great addition to the rest of the Door Detective line of products.


You can equip your Fastlane Turnstiles with our exclusive software, SmarterLobby, which provides advanced analytics to enforce physical security compliance protocols. SmarterLobby can identify and guard against unauthorized entry by evaluating other critical data points and implementing anti-tailgating policies. The software can interpret suspicious activity, such as an individual waiting to tailgate behind an authorized person. It offers a holistic view of the lobby area, can meet unbiased screening objectives, detects surrounding risks, and creates efficiencies with the perfect combination of automation and personnel intervention.

A Commitment to Excellence

While our products stand at the forefront of defense against entrance control threats, our commitment extends far beyond. We aim to address existing security concerns and decrease potential future risks, ensuring our clients are equipped with the best tools and practices. Our goal is straightforward: protect your people, operations, and assets. By training employees on the best security practices and implementing security measures like Smarter Security’s top-of-the-line solutions, you build a strong defense against tailgating and piggybacking.

Enhance your Physical Access Control with Smarter Security

Addressing challenges like tailgating and piggybacking can be complex, but we make it simple at Smarter Security. From intelligent products like Fastlane turnstiles to Door Detective and SmarterLobby, we have the resources to improve access control measures and safeguard what’s essential for your business.

As security threats evolve, the approach to counteracting the risks associated with these threats also grows. By choosing Smarter Security, you’re opting for advanced technology and state-of-the-art solutions for elevating your physical access control. Reach out today to discover our dynamic solutions to fortify your entrance gates!

This article was reviewed for accuracy by Executive VP of Smarter Security, Clayton Brown

Clayton Brown serves as Executive Vice President at Smarter Security, the leading provider of hand-crafted optical turnstiles, and is a co-founder of ReconaSense, the only FICAM-certified risk-adaptive physical access control solution (RAdPACS) using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components. As a member of SIA’s Government Relations Committee and Data Privacy Board, Clayton proudly represents a next-generation of practitioners dedicated to bringing data-driven ideas to existing physical security challenges.


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  3. “Tailgating Has Evolved Into a Top Security Priority.” Smarter Security.
  4. “Smarter Security Solves ‘Sidegating’, New Optical Turnstile Technology.” Campus Safety.