When considering the physical security of a business, the mechanical keys themselves play a major role. The rise of cybercrime has pushed many to focus their attention on improving Information Security and high tech security measures. Yet, it remains essential for every business to have a well-devised key control policy in place. Fail-safe key control policies and procedures protect employee lives, business valuables and the overall security of the facility.
Even when sophisticated security measures are in place, improper handling of mechanical keys can allow your facility to be vulnerable to key duplication. Businesses should have written policies in place to ensure that company keys cannot be duplicated without proper authorization. The only way this can occur is by implementing a patented key control system. The key blanks are only available to the locksmith dealer directly from the manufacturer, thus allowing complete accountability by the locksmith dealer.
Creating a comprehensive key control policy is most effective when working closely with a locksmith that is an authorized dealer of such patented key control products. Don’t be fooled by keys that are stamped “Do not duplicate.” The simple truth is, unless it meets the standards of a true patented key control system, the only security you have is perceived security.
Locksmiths are trained to do much more than just copy your keys. They are trained professionals who can work with you to design a keying system that can actually be enforced. You should ask yourself these questions to determine whether your facility requires the help of a locksmith to enforce your key control policy:
- Do you give out keys to your employees?
- Is it ok for them to make copies of those keys without your permission?
- Do you have a policy in place for issuing and recovering keys?
- Do you conduct routine key audits?
- When an employee loses a key, can they borrow a coworker’s key to have copied?
Setting Proper Protocols
If you don’t know the answer to any of the questions above, it’s recommended to create your own key control plan for your facility. Follow these steps to get started on a comprehensive key control plan:
Start with a patented keying system: Stamping “Do Not Duplicate” onto your keys doesn’t mean anything if you’re not monitoring their distribution. Instead, you should inquire about a product with a Utility Patent. By choosing a patented lock system, the keys simply are not available except through the originating locksmith and then only those personnel who have been authorized to have copies made.
Work closely with your locksmith: Meet with a trusted locksmith—such as one of our trained locksmiths with high levels of expertise in residential and commercial keying—to create a key control plan together. Your locksmith can help you design a master key system to create a set of keys with differing purposes. For example, you can work together to have keys created for the owner, employees, and night staff that will all have different levels of access to varying sections of your facility.
Provide your approved locksmith with a list of individuals who are authorized to create duplicate versions of keys for you. This will keep your keys from ever being copied at a local store by any random person with the blank.
Sign out new keys: You should always monitor who currently has a copy of your key and how many copies there are out there. This can easily be tracked by key management software designed to be compatible with your system.
All trusted key holders at your facility should have to sign a key holder agreement, in which they agree to immediately report lost keys and to return keys upon termination. In the case of companies with high employee turnover, you should implement a process to ensure that you always receive a key back from your previous employees.
Devising a comprehensive key control plan for your facility will require an investment of time and effort from you, your trusted locksmith and your team. In fact, Richmond Security has a pre-designed Key Control Policy that can be readily customized and implemented as a part of your company’s overall security program. The high level of security will be worth it in the end to have a master key system, restricted key duplication access, and peace of mind.
Have you identified gaps in your key control policy? Contact us to have a key control consultation with our expert locksmiths today!