What’s Key to Managing your Keys?
Security technology and applications are evolving at an accelerating rate, driven by the recognition of the need for stronger security measures to create safer environments. Still, in every facility there will be a large number of physical keys that are in use and they must be considered when implementing or upgrading a security system. Managing and controlling access to mechanical keys provides an extra layer of protection for personnel, property and facilities and can help achieve the goal of a safer environment.
Today's cost-effective key management systems offer state-of-the-art technology. They are fully integrated access control systems which communicate across the converged network and provide security management with a wealth of information that can be used to manage and improve the facility’s overall security operation. Systems can be configured to the exact needs of the facility with custom solutions that include multiple key modules, lockers, biometric access (i.e. hand readers, fingerprint recognition) and versatile installation options.
Securing and Accessing Keys
In our KeyWatcher® system, each key is locked into place inside the key cabinet using a SmartKey® that has an integrated chip, so a user can only remove a key which he or she has permission to use. The other keys will remain locked into place when the user enters his or her access code or scans their card or fingerprint. In this way, the system automatically controls who is able to use which keys. The system lights up the location of the key or keys he or she can remove once the code is entered and the box is opened. For added protection, our key control systems also send an alert in case of an incident. An overdue key, an open door or even the misuse of the keypad will trigger an alarm and record the event in the log file.
To address security concerns in high risk environments such as correctional facilities or casinos where protection of the key cabinet itself is mission-critical, a remote box provides an additional layer of protection. The system is installed in a secure room where it is protected from any potential vandalism or tampering and the remote box is typically installed outside the secure room. Once an authorized employee inputs their PIN and other information into the remote box and it is validated, a second employee inside the secure room inputs their information as well, providing access to the key for which the first employee is authorized.
Scalable and Modular Systems
Sophisticated key management allows for a wide range of configuration and installation options, including controlling access to other items which need to be secured. Examples include radios, cell phones or notebook computers that are used by different personnel through the course of any given day and are both expensive and represent potential security breaches if stolen or misplaced. Additionally, as access control systems continue to proliferate, the access devices themselves such as magnetic cards or proximity devices need to be secured in the same way as physical keys do. Advanced systems also accommodate these devices with specifically designed modules that can be used in any combination with standard key or locker modules.
Maximizing the System
Multiple cabinets can form a single fully integrated system to hold hundreds of keys and other items in multiple locations, and it can all be controlled from a single PC interface. By integrating management software, users can control the system and maximize its reporting and programmable access capabilities.
For example, security managers can establish permission levels for each user code and monitor data from any desktop connected to the network. Security directors can view reports with data on every key that has been removed, how long it was out, who removed it and which location in which box it was returned to. Additionally, priority email alerts can be sent to security managers under a range of preset conditions. The software can run activity reports, sort based on different criteria, view and print reports and more.
Today’s key control systems deliver ample testament to the bottom-line benefits of key control in a security plan and help to ensure that the dollars spent confront security threats while integrating seamlessly within the security system.