22 Jul Be the Keymaster: Commercial Master Key Systems
It was “Ghostbusters” that first debuted the title “Keymaster.” Whether you’re a fan of the iconic movie or not, master key systems are something everyone should know about, at least a little. Building owners, managers or occupants are at an advantage when they understand master key systems, how they work, and how to manage them for security and convenience.
Top 5 Facts About Master Key Systems:
- Why Have a Master Key System?
The obvious answer to the question “Why have a master key system?” is that a master key system allows custodial and managerial staff access to locked areas without the need to carry an excessive number of keys. It’s a matter of convenience and efficiency. The concept can be extended to the occupant level as well. For instance, a tenant may occupy several locked suites or rooms and have a need for a key that opens several locks—for cleaning or maintenance staff, for example. Master Key Systems can allow tiered access to a group of rooms or a particular floor of a building. This type system is particularly useful in large or multi-building environments.
- How Does a Master Key System Work?
A master key system is different from a common-key system. Common-keyed systems allow multiple locks to be opened with a single, identical key, while a master key system opens locks that are keyed differently. This enables normal access to be restricted to specific points while allowing a master key to access them all. Depending on the style of lock, that can be with tumblers, magnetic or electronic keying.
- How Do You Manage a Master Key System?
Well, first of all, you don’t hand them out indiscriminately. The fewer master keys distributed, the easier it is to maintain security. The custodial staff needs one, but does the CEO? Really? If only the janitor and the building manager have them, that cuts down on the number of suspects when the body’s found. A master key isn’t a status symbol, it’s a tool. Handing them out freely only invites trouble when one goes missing. How often do you want to go to the trouble and expense of rekeying a bunch of locks? Keep a record of master key holders and make them sign an agreement that says they will be charged all or part of the rekeying expense if they lose it.
- How About Security?
A master key is the key to the vault, so to speak. How do you keep premises secure? Strict accountability is the first step. Keeping the key(s) secure is another. Nearly any key can be counterfeited, but some are more difficult than others. A simple cut key can be duplicated with only a few common tools. Dimpled keys are harder to counterfeit and electronic or magnetic keys are even more difficult. With the right equipment, nearly any key can be duplicated. And if you think putting “Do Not Duplicate” on a key or buying a “restricted” key saves you, think again. Careless clerks and unscrupulous vendors make all but the most elaborate (and expensive) lock systems vulnerable to mischief.
- So What Do I Do to Keep Secure?
Take reasonable security precautions. Control who has keys. Second, assess your true risk. There’s little point in overspending on security locks you don’t need. If your premises are easily broken into, an intruder won’t even bother with your locks, he’ll just break in a window. Start with a total security assessment—needs, budget, and policies.
Check out this Home Security Checklist. The recommendations on this list work equally well for commercial buildings, too. The higher your security measures, the less tempting your building or offices is to break into. It’s likely your insurance carrier will discount your policy if you install a security system, sometimes a greater discount than the cost of the system.
When you’re ready to take action, a good place to start is with good-quality locks. The pros at Alexius Security, The Denver Locksmiths, can help you choose and install the system that’s right for you.
Our services go beyond simply working on locks. We can advise you about the best systems for your safety and convenience and recommend security measures for all of your property. Just give us a call at 303.617.3717 or use our online contact form for prompt, professional attention to your security needs.