Five Frequently Overlooked Security Measures

security measuresSecurity is one aspect of property management that often leaves something to be desired. Many organizations think they have their bases covered, yet there are a variety of factors that are often overlooked, and these factors can have lasting impacts if exploited.

With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of five frequently overlooked security measures. Here we will examine the risks and offer some advice on how to address said measures.

1. Physical security

The use of traditional lock systems can be a great way to secure your units, buildings, and equipment; but what happens if the key goes missing?

To prevent physical keys from falling into the wrong hands, the use of an electronic key control system like HandyTrac is highly recommended. In addition to safe storage, electronic key control systems offer a variety of features designed to prevent key loss and theft including real time reporting, multi-factor authentication, key anonymization, randomized rotation, and audit trail maintenance.

2. Handling and disposal of paper records

Documents containing sensitive information are often disposed of improperly or left lying around in the office. Although these documents and bits of information may seem insignificant to some, they have the potential to hurt the company if discovered by a skilled criminal.

To ensure that all sensitive documentation is properly handled and disposed of, consider implementing a company-wide policy. Doing so helps to provide a standard for employees and promotes a culture of accountability. A great place to start is a company-wide shredding policy.

3. Network security

Much like your buildings, your network has various access points that must be protected. Effective network security targets a variety of threats and prevents them from accessing sensitive information. To determine the state of your network, consider conducting a network audit. An audit can help to uncover vulnerabilities within your network and improve overall security.

4. Breach Planning

Data breaches can hurt your brand, customer confidence and reputation, so it’s important to establish a breach response plan ahead of time to minimize the damage. To be effective, a data breach response plan should include the following:

– A definition of a breach
– A list of response team members
– The action steps for handling the breach
– A follow-up procedure

Once your plan is in place, educate your employees and test it often to ensure its effectiveness. A little bit of preparation can go a long way!

5. Security education for employees

People have quickly become the largest security vulnerability in any organization. Employees are frequently targeted  by hackers through various phishing attempts, and with over 90% of cybersecurity issues originating from human error within an organization, an investment in security education is worthwhile. Not sure where to begin? Here are some training best practices to get you started.

What Are RFID Key Cards and How Do They Work?

rfid key cardsIn an age when building and community security are more important than ever, many facilities are doing away with physical, mechanical keys in favor of electronically-read RFID key cards. These key cards are programmable, customizable and far more secure than mechanical keys, for a variety of reasons. Let’s explore this technology to see how it can make your apartment community, campus or facility more secure.

What Is RFID?

RFID stands for “Radio Frequency Identification,” and as with most modern technology today, it is associated with a chip. Specifically, objects equipped with RFID contain a small chip programmed with data, along with a tiny antenna that transmits that data via a weak signal to nearby receivers. As a more secure technology, RFID is rapidly replacing barcodes and magnetic strips that used to contain similar information to be read by scanners. We see it on our credit cards which are now trading the familiar magnetic strip for enhanced chip technology. We also use RFID in key cards which can be programmed to unlock doors when the card is placed near a receiver at the entry point. In the context of key control, the RFID card replaces the standard lock-and-key system for entry. You place the card on or near the reader, the reader identifies the signal as belonging to an authorized user, and the door unlocks.

How Are RFID Key Cards Safer?

RFID key cards offer many advantages over physical keys and even barcode technology — both of which can be easily copied. Here are just a few of the advantages replacing conventional lock-and-key systems with an RFID key card system:

● Difficult to copy or hack. A radio signal can’t be “copied,” and the signal itself can be encrypted so other devices can’t decipher the data.

● Customizable and programmable. An RFID key card can be programmed to open only specific doors (or only one) for a specific amount of time. (Hotels use keycards to authorize their guests only to access their hotel room and the fitness center, set to stop working the morning of checkout.) This system allows management to restrict employee access only to specific authorized areas of the facility for certain amounts of time.

● Anonymous. With no identifying marks on the key card, only the authorized user and the computer may know which door(s) the card will unlock.

● Easily deactivated. If a keycard is lost or stolen, the system can easily deauthorize its identification signal — or the card may simply be allowed expire.

● More cost-effective security. When physical keys are lost or compromised, the lock must be changed to restore security. When a key card is lost, it can be deauthorized, making it effectively disposable. No need to change the locks!

A Management Solution for All Key Types

While RFID keycards are generally more secure than physical keys, their implementation is meaningless without a secure electronic key control system. Acting as a reinforced shield for your keys, HandyTrac offers two secure key control solutions that are accommodating to keys of all types. In addition to keeping your keys secure, HandyTrac archives an audit trail, and streamlines reporting to provide property managers with a complete key management solution.

For more tips on effective key control or information about our systems, contact us today.

Why Your Building Security Package Should Include a Key Control System

building securityIf you’re working to improve safety and security in your building or multifamily property, be careful not to overlook the most vulnerable point of potential breaches: the door. Any building security package that doesn’t include some sort of key control system is leaving at least one gaping hole in their net.

A property can have the most high-tech cameras, the most robust gate security, the strongest locks, and the most diligent staff; if the keys to the property aren’t properly inventoried, monitored and regulated, it’s the same as leaving the front door open. The smart bad guys know the best way to break in is not by hacking your security systems, picking your locks or using brute force — it’s by getting a key. This is why any building management team serious about protecting its facility or tenants should include key control in their security portfolio.

Why is key control one of the most critical elements of your security? Here are just a few reasons.

One-third of burglaries aren’t forced entry.

According to statistics reported by Safewise, over one-third of home burglars simply walk through the front door — and this statistic only covers residential theft. In other words, a large portion of criminals look for alternative points of entry than sheer force, and they’ll gladly choose unlocking a door over breaking it down. While security systems provide an excellent deterrent, if you aren’t controlling your keys, you’re effectively only covering 66 percent of your total potential vulnerability.

Your keys are your weakest link.

The keys to your facility or complex are small yet powerful because they are the tools that provide access to every room and every unit. And yet, they also constitute the weak link in your security chain for two reasons: 1) They are small, and therefore easy to hide, misplace or copy; and 2) There are so many of them roaming around. It’s not feasible to try to shore up this vulnerability by reducing the number of keys — your staff needs those keys to perform their functions — so the next best way to shore up this weakness is to have a system that controls access to the keys and gives an account for where every key is at any given time.

You could be held liable if an incident occurs.

This is particularly true if you are overseeing a building or property with multiple residents or commercial tenants. Management is responsible for performing due diligence to keep the property safe from intruders and criminals. If a crime occurs on the premises and the investigation concludes the point of entry came from a mismanaged key, you may be held legally responsible on the grounds of negligence.

A proper key control system saves you money over time. When keys aren’t properly inventoried and monitored, a lost key becomes an expensive prospect. Changing the locks throughout the facility can be quite costly, especially if the lost key provides widespread access. By comparison, spending a few extra dollars of your security budget on a key control system means your keys remain relevant for longer, and locks have to be changed far less frequently.

With greater accountability, infractions are easier to spot.

A good key control system includes tracking and reporting capabilities. This allows management to always have an eye on who has keys out, to which rooms/units, and for what reasons. This means anomalies and irregularity become easier to identify. If a violation occurs, you’ll be able to see where it occurred and who was involved — and if necessary, so will law enforcement.

You can prevent crimes.

Of course, one of the best things about key control is the crimes that won’t happen. Any employee who comes on staff with bad intentions will understand immediately that every key is tracked and accounted for — that he/she will be immediately identified for misuse. Many potential crimes are halted before they start.

Sometimes the smallest details become our worst enemies. Why spend thousands of dollars improving your security package only to leave your greatest area of vulnerability uncovered?

HandyTrac offers a selection of state-of-the-art key control systems that are both reliable and affordable. Contact us by email or phone at 1-800-665-9994 to see what we can do for you.

What is Premises Security Liability?

security liabilityIn any type of multifamily housing — be it apartment communities, student or military housing — the safety of your residents is an ongoing point of concern. Without proper security measures in place, if someone becomes a victim of a crime while on your property, that person could potentially hold your company legally responsible on the grounds of premises security liability.

Simply put, premises security liability means that as a property owner/manager, you are expected to have reasonable security measures in place, and if you are found negligent on that front, you could be legally liable for any harm or damage deriving from a crime. This article in Justia explains further:

“An injured person is able to bring a negligent security suit based on the duty imposed on landowners and possessors of property to offer reasonable security measures and protect lawful visitors from foreseeable crimes of third parties. Negligent security assumes that the crime could have been prevented or at least made less likely by using appropriate security measures.”

The Hidden Weakness: Key Control

Most multifamily housing communities understand and implement basic security measures to reduce the risk of crime — for example, installing security cameras and gated entry systems, or implementing ample lighting across the premises. However, proper key control is one aspect of premises security that can be easily overlooked.

With a large number of home invasions, robberies, burglaries and sexual assaults, the predator didn’t need to break in because they were able to obtain a key. In fact, as we mention here, one of the biggest jury awards given in a premises security liability case was one in which a rapist broke into the management office and found the key to his victim’s apartment clearly labeled.

Since the management oversees keys to all units, protecting and monitoring the use of those keys is one of the most important parts of keeping residents safe — and also one of the aspects most likely to be targeted for negligence. Not only do the keys need to be kept secure, but their use needs to be tracked. You need an audit trail — you need to be able to document and trace who had use of the keys, when they obtained them and when they were returned.

Obviously, not all crimes can be prevented, but one of the best ways you can improve safety for your residents is by implementing a secure system for key control. This also serves as a tremendous safeguard against premises security liability.

HandyTrac offers a variety of state-of-the-art key control systems that keep keys secure while generating a reliable audit trail. To learn more, contact us today.