The design and implementation of a physical security system is applicable to organizations of all sizes. In addition to large corporations, small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) also need solid protection because, regardless of the size of the company or the state of the economy, life safety and security remain essential to protect the most valuable assets of any organization – the people, information and physical assets used in the business.

While physical security systems take many forms, one well established and easy-to-use solution to help SMB management achieve this protection is the use of a key control and asset management system. Automated key control systems are designed to store and control access to the keys needed for locking/unlocking doors throughout the facility. Vital documents, cash, employee badging/access control cards, data drives and even small electronic gear can also be controlled and secured using asset management lockers or keycard modules which can be integrated into a key control system.

Customizing the System

A particular advantage for the SMB user of incorporating key and asset management systems is the ability to custom-design the system to exact needs, both for current requirements and for the future. Configuring a system is as easy as identifying needs and then building the system with modular components that meet those needs. For example, small, compact systems that hold as few as six keys and contain a single locker for storing valuable items can be configured for a small office complex. A system for the management office of a civic arts center might be configured with four modules, one of which is a credit card module, one a dual locker module for securing small personal items, a third for holding building keys and a blank module for future use.

Access to the electronic cabinets can also be customized, with options including a built-in keypad, biometrics such as fingerprint readers or a magnetic or proximity card reader. Systems that integrate card readers for access can often utilize the access control cards that are already in use throughout the company, making the system implementation easier and more convenient.

System Integration

For SMBs such as a manufacturing facility, a medical complex or a small residential or retirement campus, a key control and asset management solution can usually be integrated with the existing physical security system without costly upgrades or overhauls. For example, key management systems featuring alarm and relay inputs/outputs can be integrated with existing video surveillance systems for additional security measures. Ethernet and USB capability help to ensure system compatibility and integration with existing data bases, which helps save time and money. And as mentioned earlier, the management systems can integrate with a facility’s existing identification cards.

Monitoring and Management

In addition to securely storing and distributing items held in an electronic cabinet, one of the features that make key control and asset management systems so valuable to the SMB owner is their capability to automatically record all transactions. Each time the cabinet is accessed, the time and the individual’s name is recorded in the file. With this information, the SMB owner/manager can quickly and easily determine the whereabouts of every stored item or who took an item and when. When integrated with monitoring software, the data-tracking information provides reliable confirmation of all access transactions. And when the system is integrated with an access control system, alerts can inform management if someone tries to leave the building without returning a key or item taken from the cabinet.

Users report that the tracking feature has helped curb issues of lost or damaged keys because of the added level of accountability. The automated tracking function also helps management to better address a situation or issue because information from the system tells them exactly who last accessed or returned a particular item. Compared to taking the time to go back and check logs which may or may not be accurate, automated tracking is convenient and precise.

For SMBs looking to enhance their physical security strategy, the addition of a key control and asset management system offers customized solutions, easy integration and central control for monitoring and managing keys and other valuable items.