At any given time, various members of your staff could be holding keys to different access points throughout your organization. Do you know which employees have keys and what those keys are for? Without an organized key control system in place, you can never be 100% certain. Key control offers a formal security system that enables you to control the use of keys throughout your facility. With a good system in place, you can prevent unauthorized persons from accessing specific areas of the building or from viewing sensitive documentation. If you don't currently utilize a key control system, it's smart to talk to your locksmith about formulating a plan. In the meantime, here are a few tips and tricks.
The Importance of Key Control
When it comes to your facility's keeps, there are many different items to be considered, such as:
- Who - Who is currently holding keys throughout your organization or has recently check out keys, and who issued the key(s) to these individuals?
- What - What doors, files, desks, or other points of access to the keys operate?
- Where - Where are the keys right now? Is the original key holder still in possession of the key(s)? Have the keys been loaned to another party or returned?
- When - When were the keys originally issued, and when are they to be returned?
- Why - Why did the requestor need the keys?
- How - How is the key holder expected to handle they key(s)? Are there rules in place about allowing another person to utilize the key(s)?
Common Key Control Issues
Many businesses, schools, and other organizations have flawed key control systems. Some of the most common weaknesses include:
- Poor record keeping
- Frequent sharing of keys between staff
- Unauthorized key reproduction
- Lost or stolen keys
- Poorly enforced key return policies
- Too many master keys issued
- Improperly labeled keys
- Failure to issue keys based upon security levels
- No assigned staff to manage key control
Assessing Your Risk Level
The security of your facility could be at risk if:
- You lack an overall facility plan for key management and control
- You have an established plan but it isn't being uniformly followed by staff
- There are no specific persons managing key control
- You are unable to identify keys
- Thorough records of issued and loaned keys are not kept
- Any of your facility's keys are lost or unaccounted for
- Your keys have not been marked with a "do not duplicate" notice to key makers
Establishing a Secure Key Control System
If you believe your facility may be at risk, it's time to start developing a plan for your key control system. Be sure to consider:
- A Written Plan - All personnel should receive notice of the facility's policy and it should be strictly enforced. Staff should understand when keys must be returned to the key control manager, should be instructed to never loan out or share keys with other employees, and must understand how they are expected to behave when holding keys.
- Key Control Management - One or two persons should be placed in charge of managing the organization's keys. These individuals will be responsible for keeping detailed records and enforcing policies.
- Inventory Control - All keys should be inventoried and an ongoing record should be kept of the number of keys, what the keys are for, and whether any have been damaged, lost, or copied.
- Security Levels - Security levels should be clearly defined to ensure that only authorized individuals can access specific areas or information.
In addition to evaluating your organization's current key control system on your own, it's a good idea to discuss your facility's plan with a trusted locksmith.