Signs That Your Key Control System is Outdated

key control systemOverseeing a multifamily community or building complex naturally requires some form of key inventory and control. Your current process may have served you well for a time, but when is it time for an update? How can you tell if your key control system is outdated? Here are some key indicators that you may need an upgrade.

You haven’t updated your key control system in several years.

If you aren’t detecting any issues with your current system, why would you need an upgrade? Simple: The bad guys get wise over time. The longer you keep the same protocols in place, the more likely it is that a criminal or intruder can find a workaround. (Even computerized systems are susceptible to hacking without regular updates.) Over the past several years, technological advances have made key control much more secure and more difficult to hack. If you’re not availing yourself of these technologies, you may be leaving your property vulnerable to crimes.

Your business is growing and expanding.

Business growth is a good thing, but times of expansion can also be times of vulnerability — not just because of the temporary chaos, but also because there is more to manage. Your current key control protocols were designed not just around security, but around size. If you’re adding a new building or wing, or if you’re expanding to multiple locations, your key control system should be upgraded to accommodate new demands for tracking and maintenance.

You are already experiencing key control failures.

If instances of misplaced keys, faulty fobs, or equipment breakdowns are on the rise — or, heaven forbid, if you’ve already experienced one or more security breaches — your current key system is obviously not keeping up. Like anything else, patches and fixes only carry you for so long. The only way to restore security is to upgrade.

Your access to monitoring and tracking is limited.

Are you still doing check-in/check-out tracking on paper? Do you have to hunt through file cabinets to find a printed report of who had keys out on Saturday the 12th? If so, your security is weak. Here in the 21st century, criminals work fast, and you have to keep up with them. Modern key control systems employ WiFi and mobile technology that allow you to pull reports instantly and monitor/track through your mobile devices.

If you’ve determined that your key control system is outdated, HandyTrac is here to help. Our state-of-the-art key control systems take the headache out of key tracking and monitoring with multiple layers of protection, instant reporting and more. To learn more, contact us today!

Does Your Property Have a Strong Key Control Policy?

For larger building complexes and multifamily communities, you might be surprised to learn that most security threats occur from within. Predators know how to search for weaknesses and vulnerabilities and they know how to exploit them once they find them. A large number of break-ins don’t include brute force — they occur because the thief was able to obtain a key. In other words, your keys are the weakest link in your security chain. This is why having a strong key control policy is critical to the overall security of your facility.

How Keys Get into the Wrong Hands

key control policyThe vast majority of the time, keys get into the hands of bad guys for one of three reasons:

1. Lack of tracking

The building management has no clear-cut system for knowing where keys are or who has them, at any given time.

2. Lack of accountability

There is no system for tracking when keys are checked in and out, or by whom (or the system leaves much room for error).

3. Easy access

People can obtain keys far too easily, without much in the way of oversight. If one or more of these areas is weak, your key control policy is not strong enough to ward off breaches and intrusions. It’s as simple as that.

Elements of a Strong Key Control Policy

Concerned that your property has too much fluidity with its key control? Here are some ways you can strengthen your key policies and restrict access:

1. Keep the keys secure

Keys should be kept in a strong, tamper-proof, locked cabinet that can only be unlocked through a series of protocols.

2. Implement multi-step access

Make sure your employees go through several steps before a key is issued to them. For example, the employee may need to scan a badge and input a PIN number before the box opens. Better yet, implement a biometric system that reads fingerprints.

3. Enforce accountability

Employees should input which key(s) they are taking, at what time, and for what purpose — and they should check keys back in by a similar process.

4. Enforce restricted access points

For enhanced security, certain employees should only access certain keys for certain parts of the building or complex. They may only be allowed to check out specific physical keys, or their card keys may be coded for access to certain rooms.

5. Streamline your reporting

Management should be able to view reports at any given time that can show how many keys are out, who has them, which buildings/rooms have been accessed and at what time. This type of monitoring may be crucial to identifying potential violations because unusual activity can be identified easily.

6. Establish an audit trail

Reports should be backed up offsite to prevent any attempts to manipulate the data.

7. Train employees with a consistent protocol

Every employee should be properly trained in the procedure for obtaining and returning keys, and check-out/check-in occurs exactly the same way every time.

Advantages of a Strong Key Control Policy

Making improvements to your key control policy can do the following:

● Help you quickly identify and correct violations for heightened security

● Help you stop an intrusion before it starts

● Help you prevent an intrusion from happening in the first place

● Help you pinpoint suspicious activity in the unlikely event of a break-in

● Give you and your tenants greater peace of mind

Because your keys provide access, they are your greatest potential vulnerability, and therefore, must be accompanied by the highest levels of security and oversight.

HandyTrac offers a variety of key control solutions designed to enhance and implement your company’s key control policy, making it easy to monitor, track and secure your keys. To learn more, contact us here.

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.

How to Select a Secure Key Control System

So, you’ve decided that you need to install a secure key control system for your property, but you’re unsure of what type of system you need, what features would help you, or which provider will offer the highest quality service. How do you select a key control system that’s right for you? Here are a few tips to point you in the right direction.

secure key controlLook for Multiple Layers of Secured Access

These days, a truly secure system means more than just keeping keys under lock and key, or even keeping a record of check in/check out. It also means your employees should have to move through several steps in order even to access the keys. For example, the employee might need to type in a PIN code after scanning his/her badge at the key console to prevent the possibility of access using a stolen badge. The employee should also have to designate which key is being pulled with a reason code to specify why the key is needed. In addition, your secure system should also provide immediate alerts via text or email to management in the event that proper protocol is not followed.

Look for Additional Security Features

Security shouldn’t end once the key box is opened. A good system also includes security enhancements to make sure key usage can’t be abused. For example, anonymous barcode tags on the keys can ensure an employee can’t identify one key from the other (the console can tell the employee which key to take). Another good feature is random key rotation, in which keys are never returned to the same hook from where they were pulled. (Again, the console can track where the keys are placed.)

Look for Simple, Accurate Reporting Capabilities

One benefit of installing a computerized secure key control system is that the computer can track your entire key inventory and instantly create detailed reports of key activity. Look for a system that can build reports based on functional activity, activity by building unit, activity by employee, etc.

Look at the Warranty and Support

No matter how secure the key control system is designed to be, it’s not actually secure if it breaks down, nor if you don’t receive the proper training and support in using it. Make sure your provider offers a solid warranty, as well a solid system for training you and your employees in proper use.

HandyTrac offers a selection of highly secure key control systems that are easy to use, offer plenty of extra security features and are backed by a stellar warranty and technical support. To learn more, give us a call at 1-800-665-9994, or send us an email at

The Basics of Electronic Key Management and Control

electronic key managementIt’s never too late – or too early – to implement a key control and management strategy. A good electronic key management and control system is organized and formal, and addresses both access to and control of a property’s keys.

When deciding which system best suits your needs, keep these 8 basics in mind:

1. Tracking

A tracking system lets you know where keys are and who has them. The system records who took keys, when and for how long.

2. Cost

An electronic key management system can pay for itself when compared to the cost of loss and/or replacing keys on a regular basis in addition to the ROI gained from improved security.

3. Security

Key management systems are designed so that only authorized users can access keys and the management of keys is controlled.

4. Scalability

As your needs grow, the system can be expanded to accommodate more key cabinets. HandyTrac offers single and double cab options for all it’s key control systems.

5. Convenience

A key management and control system is easy to use and can accommodate a variety of keys. Biometric fingerprint verification, touch screen display and lighted cabinets add to the ease of use.

6. Integrity

Rugged 18 gauge steel cabinets and tamper-proof doors enhance the reliability of the system.

7. Access

PINs, access control cards, biometrics or any combination of the three are the most commonly used methods for accessing keys.

8. Aesthetics

Well designed key systems and cabinets make key management simple for all users. The Premium Touch key control system features a large touch screen display, biometric reader and badge reader for ease-of-use and maximum security.

To learn more about HandyTrac’s electronic key management and control systems, contact us today!