As every large organization knows, the more facilities or stores you have to keep track of, the more complicated your facility management can become. This is particularly true for your security and loss prevention teams. Your bottom line can be affected by every store location and their ability to keep products and people secure. Standardizing your physical security with a multi-site key control system can improve the effectiveness of your loss prevention program.
What is Key Control?
Key control is the process of managing all the keys, locks, and users within your organization. Your physical security relies heavily on the effectiveness of your key control, which makes it crucial for large companies with a number of stores or facilities to implement and maintain a strong key control system.
Key control starts with the hardware installed throughout your organization. Different key providers have different products and provide different levels of comprehensive key control service. Once your hardware has been installed, other components of your key control include key holder policies to promote secure behavior in key holders and key tracking to ensure that every lock, key, and user in your organization is accounted for. While the details of effective key control are similar for small or large organizations, the process becomes significantly more important for multi-site companies.
Key Control for Multi-Site Organizations
Implementing key control best practices for a large organization looks different than for a small, single-shop company. The more buildings, people, doors, keys, and locks you have to keep track of, the more complicated your key control system becomes. But having a number of sites to track does not mean that your security or efficiency has to suffer. Organization and streamlined key management are the answer for larger companies to maintain security and day-to-day upkeep. The following components of your key control can improve your day-to-day key management across your entire organization.
Restricted keys are created using patented key blanks, and some manufactures provide serialization. This serves two purposes:
1. Patented key blanks are only available from the provider who holds that patent, so keys cannot be duplicated without your authorization given to your key provider.
2. Serialized keys make it simple to track your keys and connect them to locks, users, and locations with the unique serial code.
Key tracking is one of the most important components of a secure and efficient key control system. Your organization is at its most secure when you maintain a closed physical security system. That includes restricted keys to ensure that no key duplicates can be made without your knowledge. Along with accurate and up-to-date monitoring of all the various pieces of hardware and people within your company’s key control system, you can maintain a closed and trackable key control system.
In order to efficiently track the various components of your key control system, you’ll need to find key tracking software that can support your data needs. We compared three key tracking software options here.
Key tracking should include records for each location within your organization while allowing for your loss prevention team and other stakeholders to have access to tracking data across multiple locations. While a key tracking best practice is to limit the number of users updating and inputting data into your key tracking software, for multi-site organizations it can be valuable to establish exactly who maintains responsibility for key tracking updates at each location.
Here is what a multi-site organization needs to keep track of to maintain key control:
- Key Cores
- Manager by Location or Area
Key tracking plays an important role in your ability to accurately audit your key control system. This may be necessary after a security breach to ensure that all affected doors and keys have been addressed, along with providing valuable insights into the effectiveness of your loss prevention and physical security.
Key Holder Policies
While an organization can control many of the aspects of your locks and keys, your key control system is in large part dependent on the actions of your key holders. Locks and keys are designed to give access only to the people who need it and restrict access to those who do not, which means that many of your employees will need to be trusted with access to your organization. One of the ways to mitigate risks to your company’s physical security is to implement strong key holder policies. These are the expectations you set for employees about their responsibilities as a key holder, for example, what requirements are for reporting when a key is lost or stolen.
Master Key System
A master key system allows you to designate what level of access various employees have at a single location or throughout your entire company. Whereas with a standard key an employee has access to a single door, master keys provide access to any number of doors within your company. For multi-site organizations, master keys can help you distribute access to location-specific supervisors without giving someone access to locations they don’t need. For example, with a master key, a location manager of a large footprint with many doors can open every door within the location they are responsible for but, they will not be able to open any at a location nearby. This division of access builds upon the other best practices listed here to improve key control security and efficiency for larger companies with a number of keys and users to maintain.
Comprehensive Key Control With InstaKey
InstaKey is a comprehensive key control provider, meaning that we supply all of the hardware, software, and support necessary to implement a closed physical security system for an organization of any size. We have worked with retailers and other multi-site companies across the country to implement and support key control, including complete system overhauls or smaller updates to an existing system.
To learn more about InstaKey’s Key Control program click the button below. There you will find a variety of resources including videos, infographics, white papers, and more to enhance your ability to securely and efficiently manage key control within your organization.