Maintaining the physical security of your organization is a big job. Particularly if your company has many facilities, retail locations, or warehouses. Providing secure access and keeping track of who has what access gets more complicated the more employees and locations you’re working with. Your security can impact everything from how easily your employees and customers can access your locations to how well you can secure your stores from crime and theft. Technology continues to improve many of the ways that Loss Prevention experts and Facilities Managers can monitor and deter retail crime, but it all starts with your first line of defense of physical locks and keys.
There are two components of your physical security that can have the biggest impact on your overall key control: restricted keys and key tracking. These are two of the best measures you can implement to improve site security. Let’s talk about what each component looks like and why it has such a large impact on your security.
How Restricted Keys Work
We touch on the importance of restricted keys often. There are a number of benefits that come from using only restricted keys within your organization. That is because restricted keys are cut using patented key blanks that are not available on the open market, and every key can have a unique serialized code stamped into the metal. Restricted keys can only be duplicated by the key provider and not at a local hardware store or locksmith.
Using restricted keys eliminates any concerns over key duplication by employees or stakeholders, who may intentionally or unintentionally cause a security breach by creating a copy of their key. With restricted keys, you know that every key distributed to an employee in your company is the only one of its kind. Only you and other authorized key managers within your company can order key duplicates. And while you may have many authorized copies of keys for the highly-accessed areas of your facilities, consider the importance of restricted keys for master key systems. Master keys give certain individuals at your company very high levels of access across an entire facility or area. Ensuring that those keys cannot be duplicated without your knowledge is an easy and necessary way to maintain security.
Tracking Restricted Keys
Once you have ensured that you do not have any key duplicates within your key system and that every key you hand out has a unique identifier, tracking your keys becomes much easier. Without using restricted keys, any tracking measures you use are likely inefficient and insecure. You can track the keys you distribute, but there’s no way to know whether duplicates may be drifting around untracked within your organization or into the hands of retail crime groups. And if you aren’t currently tracking your keys and associated locks, restricted keys make it easy to get started. This leads us to the importance of key tracking.
Why Key Tracking is Important for Your Security
Key tracking is the process of accurate record-keeping for your physical key security. Tracking can and should include more than only your keys. Include your locks, doors, users, rekeys, and any other information relevant to the physical key security of your company. We recommend using key tracking software that is designed to track the various data points relevant to your physical security. While you can use a free option like a spreadsheet, it is not an ideal solution for companies who need to track a large number of key holders, locations, and data.
The accuracy of your key data is what helps to secure your organization against theft and key user error. Tracking is necessary to perform accurate key audits, which can provide valuable information about how often your facilities are performing rekeys, levels of employee access, and users by specific location or access point. You will need to look up this data in the event of a security breach when you have to determine what locks need to be rekeyed and which employees need their keys updated. And the speed and accuracy with which you can gather that data can impact your organization’s ability to respond to a breach.
How Restricted Keys and Key Tracking Work Together
With restricted keys and accurate, up-to-date lock and key data, you can maintain a closed and controlled physical security system. You can keep track of every key you distribute and know that the only copies being created are the ones you authorize. You can use your key data to make strategic security decisions based on how often keys are lost or misplaced, how often rekeys are necessary, and who has or needs access at different levels of security clearance.
Having a closed and secure key control system is one of the most effective measures you can take for your retail security. Organized retail crime and occasional security breaches are inevitable, but the effect on your business and bottom line can be mitigated with good physical security. And once you have established good key control practices and policies for your company, your day-to-day key management for Facilities Managers is streamlined and secure.
Total Key Control
Restricted keys and key tracking are two of many different components that can impact the security of your organization’s key control. Your key control is made up of all the various hardware, people, and key policies within your organization. The more you can improve the security of each individual component and how it interacts with your broader key control system, the less you’ll have to worry about the physical security of your organization, employees, and products.
At InstaKey, we specialize in creating effective, personalized Key Control programs. We work with your organization to integrate lock and key best practices with the hardware you’re already using. Or we will design an updated and improved key control program from the ground up. We combine our restricted keys, user-rekeyable interchangeable cores, hardware, and key tracking software to provide a comprehensive key control solution for your organization. Learn more about our Key Control programs below.