Understanding the Gap Between Risk Recognition and Solutions Adoption

March 9, 2020
A Boon Edam survey sheds light on an opportunity for education

It’s worth taking a closer look when a notable gap is discovered between the risks that people identify when asked about their fears, and the actions they take (or don’t take) to allay their concerns by addressing those specific threats. When it comes to security, this kind of discrepancy can signify a serious shortfall in protection and risk mitigation.

In June and July of 2019, Boon Edam Inc. asked 188 security end-users, integrators and security consultants to share their perceptions about security risks related to access control for their facilities. The responses from both groups illuminate some interesting gaps in information and education when it comes to reducing the risks associated with access control – in particular, with tailgating.

Security Professionals are Aware of Tailgating

The survey responses demonstrated that there is a healthy level of awareness about the growing threat of tailgating. When it comes to risk awareness, a solid 69% of all respondents surveyed said that they believe that security breaches from tailgating are either rising or remaining at the same level. When asked about the likelihood of a security breach occurring at their own facility as a result of a tailgating incident, 71% of end-users believe that it is likely to very likely. These threats are not going unnoticed; professionals are highly conscious of the issue.

Security professionals are also not ignorant of the costs associated with this threat. End-users generally reported that they felt that violent crime or theft due to tailgating would burden their organization with a significant cost. The perceived price of a breach was quite high; 54% responded that the cost would be from $500k up to “too high to measure.” Security advisors (integrators and consultants) took this threat even more seriously, with 72% making the same claim.

These are all very high numbers, indicating just how seriously security professionals do take tailgating. There is very good reason for this. While tailgaters may simply be authorized persons who have lost or forgotten their credentials, they could also be any other kind of person – including a thief, a spy or a violent criminal. By slipping through a doorway unseen by access control technology, they are not subject to an identity check, watch list matching, or any kind of oversight.

Illuminating the Solutions Gap

And yet, even with that recognition of the dangers inherent in tailgating, over 64% of the survey respondents reported that they are not tracking tailgating occurrences on a regular basis. More than 10% of security professionals did not know if tailgating was even being tracked.

Despite these high concerns, when it comes to the solutions that are currently in place, for the most part the survey shows that they are not preventive. Thirty-nine percent of end-user respondents, reported using access control systems, but if these are being used with traditional swinging doors, at best they will only alert authorities to tailgating that has already taken place. The same can be said for video surveillance systems. While 25% of end-users reported having security guards in place to increase security at entrances, the effectiveness of this approach could be questioned as clever criminals have proven they can easily pass through guarded checkpoints using a variety of well-documented ruses and social engineering.

These statistics tell a surprising story. While security professionals know that they are vulnerable to tailgating, and understand the high cost associated with this kind of a breach, they are doing little to reduce this danger proactively. In part this may be due to a simple lack of awareness that there is a better way to keep tailgaters from entering a facility. If this is the case, the statistics clearly point to a need for more education. There are answers available, and products such as security entrances will provide a true solution to a very real problem.

Fortunately, it seems the tide is turning. Security advisors are providing consultative services to their clients, with over 60% consistently discussing the benefits of security entrances. Even beyond their ability to proactively mitigate the risk of a physical breach from tailgating, security entrances are being recommended to help users maintain compliance with industry regulations.

Advanced Solutions for Advanced Markets

By taking a closer look at where security entrances are being deployed, industry by industry, it becomes clear that this solution is gaining traction beginning in the locations where security is the most sensitive. The survey showed that deployment of security entrances surpassed 61% within the technology, data center, pharmaceuticals, and government verticals. In these industries, where security concerns are at their highest, response has gone beyond recognition to adoption of this solution. So far, deployment has been much less prevalent in industries such as manufacturing, retail/distribution, and insurance.

History has shown that new technologies are often adopted in a cascading process like the one just described. From email to eCommerce and bitcoin, disruptive new concepts initially take hold very slowly starting with the most advanced or highest value applications, then gain traction over time until they reach widespread use. The same is certain to be true for security entrances. Because security experts recognize their value in preventing tailgating, their use will continue to grow over time as their overall ROI becomes better understood.

Tailgating needs to be taken seriously. Overall, both end-users and security advisors see tailgating as a serious issue, and there is a high level of perceived vulnerability at their secure facilities. A strong majority of the market believes that the currently deployed entrances, which are not security entrances, are not enough to prevent physical intrusion, and they understand that physical barriers are the best approach (with supplemental guards when applicable). Security entrances are credited as the most effective way to curtail tailgating by security professionals today because they recognize their importance in mitigating the risk and liability associated with unauthorized building entry. 

About the Author: Tracie Thomas is VP of Marketing for Boon Edam. She has more than 15 years of experience in marketing and public relations and joined Boon Edam in 2008.  Tracie has focused her team on developing thought leadership to help all security professionals, integrators, consultants as well as architectural communities learn the best practices around the use of security entrances and architectural doors at their facilities. Her goal is to develop a brand reputation that embodies the Boon Edam tagline, “Your Entry Experts.” Tracie resides in the Raleigh, North Carolina area.