Monday, March 24, 2014

Three Perks of Overdue Key Alerts

Automated key control systems provide several benefits that don't come with manual key control processes, including overdue key alerts. These notifications let system administrators know when employees don't return keys on time. Here are three ways these alerts can help your business.

You Know Where to Start Looking for Missing Keys

keys hanging from thumbs upIf a key has not been returned, you probably won't discover it's missing until another employee tries to check it out. This delays  customer transactions and slows down your business.

Overdue key alerts notify you when a key has not been returned to the key system on time, so you'll know exactly which key is missing and which employee last checked it out (rather than hunting down the key with no clues).

You Can Hold Employees Accountable 

Unfortunately internal theft due to lack of key control does happen. Roughly 75 percent of employees have stolen from their employer at least once and 38 percent have stolen repeatedly.

An electronic key control system keeps a record of every time an employee checks out a key, enforcing accountability from the get-go. As an added level of accountability, the overdue key alert will let you know the moment a key has been out for too long. This reduces the likelihood that the user will have time to use the key maliciously.

You Will Know About a Potential Security Breach

Whether a key is taken by an insider or outsider, your response time is crucial. Knowing about a stolen key will give you the opportunity to possibly prevent a security breach. A system that immediately alerts you when keys are past due enables you to respond promptly, so you can secure whatever the missing key unlocks. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Don't Leave Your Key Control to Luck!

keys with lucky charm
We know St. Patrick's Day can make people feel lucky, but when it comes to key control it's dangerous to rely on luck.

If you're still using traditional key control methods (e.g., lockboxes, wooden cabinets, pegboards) it's time to take control of your key security. Here are a few tips to help you create good fortune with key control.

Trust Technology

Sometimes it's tough to change your old ways, especially if you feel it's going to be a hassle to learn something new. With key control, the learning curve is worth your time. Simple, manual key control processes seem the most efficient because they're easy, and your employees just have to quickly grab the key they need. Unfortunately if it's that easy for employees who need keys to obtain them, your keys are left vulnerable to people who shouldn't have access to them.

Electronic key control systems can be just as user friendly but provide a higher level of security. An electronic system will lock down and only open for authorized users, which significantly reduces the chance of theft. In addition, it keeps an automatic record each time an employee takes a key, so you'll know exactly who has checked-out keys.

Create Varying Levels of Access

If you've followed our first tip, congratulations on your new electronic key control system! Now it's time to set things up. You can create different access levels for employees, managers and owners, narrowing the amount of keys that your employees have access to. If an employee is only allowed access to certain keys, they won't be able to take a manager- or owner-level key. This will help ensure that employees don't end up with high-security keys.

Regularly Check Reports

Electronic key control systems create different reports based on the information available. You can see a report of every key that was checked out, specify an employee and see what keys they've checked out and many more.

With access to reports that are this detailed, you need to regularly check on them to keep up with your key security. Rather than catching up after a month, consider reviewing them at least once a week (depending on how many transactions you normally have). This will save you time and ultimately tighten your key security.

For more tips on creating good key control fortune, check out our post on fingerprint authentication.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tenant Stole Master Key to Burglarize Apartments

"It's very uneasy, unsettling to know that somebody has that kind of access to all your private things that you trust are safe." — Corey Dolbear, University District tenant

burglar entering apartment
Landlords are responsible for protecting their tenants' safety by limiting access to apartment keys. Unfortunately, if keys are not secured properly, they can easily end up in the wrong hands.

In Seattle, WA, a University District tenant stole the master key to all of the units in his building and used it to burglarize other residents' apartments.

Joshua Laning, the man convicted of the thefts,  has had his fair share of encounters with the law. His background check revealed that he had 13 felony convictions under his belt. Though aware of Laning's colorful history, the apartment complex hired him anyway.

Seattle police believe that Laning stole the master key from a lockbox in the complex's utility room.

Apartment personnel discovered that the master key had been stolen only after a tenant called to report that their car keys had been stolen from their apartment along with their car. Fortunately, authorities were able to catch and imprison Laning before he did any more damage.

If you own or manage a property, opt for an electronic key control system over a lockbox to enhance key security and reduce the risk of robberies such as this one. By fully securing all keys and keeping a real-time verifiable audit trail of who has them, you can prevent keys from slipping into the hands of unauthorized users, reduce the risk of criminal activity and increase your tenants' safety.

For more ways to protect tenants, check out our post "Four Ways Apartment Complexes Can Reduce Liabilities".