Every industry has its own technical terms and common phrases that are understood by those who work in the industry but can be confusing for outsiders.

The term “sallyport” could be considered one of those terms that is not always familiar to everyone, but once its use is explained, is quickly understood. The term “sallyport” is a generic term that is used to describe a method for security to limit entry or exit into a space by allowing the release of only one door at a time.  

Security sallyports came into use in the 17th century to control entry into a prison or a detention facility. They usually incorporated two sets of doors or gates to delay entry or allow only one-person entry at one time. 

Sallyports are still used today in prisons or detention facilities and may include doors, gates or other physical barriers to control the access of people (or even vehicles) to a secure area. They also are frequently used in high-value transfer sites such as armored car depots, casino truck docks, and more. They can also be found in many commercial and industrial facilities such as banking, data centers, airports, and high-end retail shops. Also, many military facilities use sallyports to control vehicle access onto the base.

In exterior locations, automated swinging or sliding gates along with barrier arm devices are used to restrict vehicle access. Sometimes these also include wheel control devices that shred tires and disable the vehicle if there is an attempt to push through the gate. High-speed overhead doors can also be used to secure car and truck access points.

Another way to use a sallyport to control vehicle access is with automated barrier arm gates for faster throughput. For example, a garage that houses FBI agents’ automobiles is protected by a high-speed armored overhead door. While some vehicle portals are controlled remotely from a guard station, others may be automatically controlled by an access control system.

There are many key drivers for using security sallyports. They include the ability to detect and prevent tailgating and piggybacking incidents, to meet regulatory compliance standards (such as HIPAA, GDPR, PCI DSS, HIPPA) by restricting access to critical information systems, and to protect against other security concerns such as insider threats, espionage, terrorism, theft, vandalism, protests, and more.

A security sallyport can come in various sizes, shapes and aesthetics, with multiple options for finishes and colors for the doors, gates or other physical barriers that they use. They may be manual or automatic, manned or unmanned, and can be pre-engineered or built from the ground up.  

In addition to controlling doors and gates, traffic lights may be incorporated into a sallyport design to provide feedback to the system users as to when they should wait or proceed into the sallyport. Other options and features for sallyports include metal/weapons detection, vehicle bollards, left object detection, tailgating/piggybacking detection, network interface capabilities, video surveillance cameras, intercoms, biometrics, manual releases, and inputs/outputs for alarm monitoring.  

When security sallyports are being considered to mitigate unauthorized entry, it is important to establish clear goals and objectives for the equipment, use and the environment. Then, review and evaluate the proposed solution based on form, fit and function. Goals and objectives can be determined with a security risk assessment for your facility or site.

Your risk assessment should take into consideration the physical layout and intended purpose of your facility. Both vehicle sallyports and personnel mantraps may be used to provide the necessary level of security. Some facilities may require a fenced perimeter, plus restricted vehicle access and controlled pedestrian doors into the facility. Pharmaceutical plants, and Microchip fabrication facilities have special environmental and security concerns that must be addressed using a combination of controlled vehicles and pedestrian portals. For these applications, airlocks are recommended, and usually include swinging or sliding doors with maglocks or other electric locks or overheard roll-up doors.

Your security risk assessment should include a strategy that mitigates risk to people, property and information systems, and, for security sallyports, the primary goal is to prevent unauthorized entry. The security risk assessment process should begin with asset identification, followed by evaluation and analysis of threats, vulnerabilities and the potential loss of a security breach.  

For today’s high-profile environments where a data breach could be catastrophic, standard measures of access control and security clearance are sometimes not enough. A sallyport can provide safe, secure, and environmentally-controlled access for the most security-sensitive environment.