Tailgating is fun, right? Football, food, family, friends… forgive the alliteration, but what’s not to like?

Rewind back to real estate mode and you’ll see that tailgating doesn’t reference weekend football pleasantries, but instead the potentially dangerous outcomes of undocumented building entry. This sounds like it should involve stealthy espionage activity on behalf of the intruder, but undocumented entry can be the result of something as innocent as holding the door open for the person behind you.

There are strategies, though, to protect against undocumented entry. According to an article in Buildings magazine by Jennie Morton (10 Strategies to Prevent Tailgating), there are three categories undocumented building entry can be broken down into:

  1. The Problem,
  2. The Solution
  3. Building the Culture

The Problem is simple to understand. Tailgating can expose your building to things such as domestic violence, theft, sabotage, and terrorism… to name a few. Additionally, think about the areas inside buildings that require restricted access. There are some places where you really do not want intruders such as laboratories, pharmacies, operating suites, equipment rooms, and data centers. Morton explains how you may want to restrict and track who can access valuable equipment, sensitive files, or toxic chemicals.

Still not convinced that tailgating is a problem? Morton says to “consider the security measures you’ve already implemented.” For example, Warren Rosebraugh presents the idea that if you already have a security system installed, you think that the building’s contents are important enough to protect in the first place. So then why would you let people move around the property freely anyway?

The Solution is made to seem simple by Morton as well. Building owners can choose to implement one, or a combination of, these ten security solutions:

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

Finally, Building the Culture can be the most difficult category to implement. Installing the most advanced security systems on the market is all well and good, but what if the occupants of your building aren’t on-board with your enhanced security plan? This can detract from every measure in place. Morton says you need to “create a secure building culture.” Use clear expectations and consistent communication in order to shape behavior.  Make sure your occupants are aware of tailgating risks and keep them empowered to challenge any unfamiliar faces.

If you’re looking at all of this and feeling overwhelmed – take a deep breath… Jennie Morton is here to save you again. In another Building’s article (4 Tips for a Corporate Security Plan), Morton gives 4 clear-cut steps to installing or updating a security plan.

  1. Provide a Standard. Ensures that a location hasn’t overlooked a security concern.
  2. Circumvent Liability. You need documentation in place to prove you’ve taken appropriate action.
  3. Avoid Micromanagement. Make sure your plan’s requirements are broad enough so they can be adjusted.
  4. Rely on Experts. Don’t forget to take advantage of security professionals who interact directly with your buildings.

Thinking about making your building secure doesn’t have to feel like a heart attack. By following simple steps and implementing plans that your occupants can respect and uphold you’ll be able to keep everything under control and, most importantly, safe. Think about it this way: confusing your building lobby with the parking lot of the “big game” is probably not what you want to happen.