Piggy Backing & Tailgating Security

What is Tailgating or Piggybacking in Security & Access Control?

It’s no secret that access control is vital to workplace safety, however, the act of “tailgating” or “piggybacking” is by far one of the most common security issues felt across industries. 

What is Tailgating Access Control?

Tailgating involves an unauthorized individual who enters a facility by slipping in behind someone with authorized access. This can be casual or pre-meditated, but both are equally compromising to a building’s security.

Tailgating usually occurs when an unauthorized person slips in through a door before it closes; there are two types of tailgating access control security to consider: the first is casual tailgating, and the second is pre-meditated or deliberate tailgating. 

What is Piggybacking?

Adversely, Piggybacking occurs when an authorized person allows someone to follow them through a door to a secure area. The term piggybacking is used to identify a situation where an authorized individual willingly enables an unauthorized individual to follow them through a secure checkpoint within a building’s physical infrastructure.

Tailgating Attacks vs. Piggybacking

Tailgating attacks and piggybacking are often interchangeable due to their similarities, as both involve unauthorized individuals gaining access to restricted areas by exploiting legitimate entry actions. However, organizations and cybersecurity professionals must understand their nuanced differences.

Tailgating is typically an opportunistic attack; it happens when an unauthorized person follows someone with proper clearance through a secure door without being noticed or challenged. It’s a passive approach where an unassuming attacker takes advantage of others’ inattentiveness or willingness to hold doors open for strangers.

On the other hand, piggybacking can be intentional or accidental but involves some level of permission—or at least perceived permission—from the authorized individual. In piggybacking scenarios, an employee knowingly allows someone into a secured area against company policy, out of courtesy or under the intruder’s false pretenses.

Both piggybacking and tailgating can be avoided by integrating specialized piggybacking security systems that use double-positive ID technology to verify single access, and include mantrap door interlocks.

Regardless of the action taken, both compromise the security of the site in question and open it up a variety of threats.

Thought needs to be given when considering countermeasures against tailgating and piggybacking security. The first consideration is whether the client needs to deter, detect or prevent tailgating – this is where Isotec comes in, as Isotec utilizes tailgating access control countermeasures in our security door systems.

Can I Prevent Tailgating or Piggybacking?


Deterring tailgating may be possible with employee training and follow-on enforcement measures for violators. This approach may be appropriate for some businesses.

Detecting tailgating can be accomplished by a simple infrared beam system with a dedicated card reader system attached next to a door with a sign that reads, “One person at a time.” This scenario will not prevent tailgating, but it may detect it and most likely deter casual tailgating. Tailgating may only be prevented if the proper piggybacking security systems and sensors are used in conjunction with mantrap door interlocks.

However, the only known countermeasure to prevent 100% of any tailgating act, whether it be casual, or an act of espionage is by incorporating a weight system with double-positive ID technology. Logging biometric data to authorized personnel restrict access and ensures 100% security compliance. This level of security is guaranteed to prevent tailgating or unauthorized access to a facility or secured area within a facility.

Custom Anti-Tailgating Mantraps


The tailgating access control system’s sensors are programmed to send signals to the system’s Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) when tailgating is detected. The PLC signals of the piggybacking security system keep access door(s) locked into or out of a facility when tailgating is detected. Annunciators within tailgating access control will instruct the occupants what to do. This configuration can be considered to be a mantrap or security vestibule.

Isotec is committed to controlling access and ensuring a safe environment in public, private, and government workplaces. A facility’s security requisites will determine the types of sensors used to either detect or prevent tailgating. Contact us today for more information on piggybacking security and tailgating access control.