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In Defense Of Tailgating

February 16, 2018

Hey, Rodney. How’s it going?

Great, thanks.

Could you badge in.


Could you badge-in the door.

I work in a very secure environment. I have to walk through 3 security doors to get to my office. There are multiple cameras all over my building. Every entrance and exit has a camera. Our production floor has virtually 100% camera coverage. We have onsite security.

We take safety and security very seriously. So, why was I annoyed that someone asked me to badge through the security door instead of tailgating behind him?

Card readers on security doors have two purposes. First, is to determine who is in the building. Some of our more secure areas have anti-passback lockouts. That means if you badge into the room, you must also badge out of the room. If you don’t, the system will flag your account and you’ll find the next time you attempt to badge into that room, your badge is disabled and you need to go talk to security to get it reset.

The policy is important for very secure rooms. We want to know, we feel like we need to know who is in that room at any time. For secure rooms, tailgating is strictly prohibited. It doesn’t matter if it’s the company president. She will badge in and then out of that room.

The second purpose of security doors and badge readers is to keep people out of areas they are not supposed to be in. If you are already in a secure space, we don’t track when you leave. We figure that if you made it into the building you’re no longer a risk. This lower security is for most of the building other than our very secure areas.

Of course, people can tailgate into these lesser security areas. And it’s not unreasonable to ask someone who might tailgate behind you to “please badge in.” In fact, it’s a great practice and one that as an IT manager, I encourage.

So, why was my situation different? Because, personal identification is better than a card reader. At times we’ve had to quickly open a new center and the security features were not ready when we moved in. We placed a security guard at the door and he manually checked each persona’s ID. Eventually, we replaced him with an electronic badge reader.

As I was going through the door toward my office, my coworker positively identified me. He knew I understood I had access to that space. And since we don’t track anti-passback for the office space, it didn’t matter in the least if I badged or not.

In today’s world of hyper-security, it’s never a bad idea to go the extra mile to practice good security measures. And honestly, I wasn’t annoyed. But, I did recognize that we were not making the building any more secure by having me badge in after being positively identified.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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