Monday, July 28, 2014

Careless Key Control in Alcatraz and Indiana

Alcatraz, the most famous prison in the U.S., saw multiple escape attempts while it was open. Though no one succeeded, it's amazing more people didn't try, given the lax key storage. The key box pictured below clearly offers little resistance to resourceful prisoners.

Small box holding Alcatraz's keysFortunately, the key control standards of today are much higher. But even with the advanced key control technology that currently exists, sloppy key management still occurs.

For example, the largest prison in Indiana had to change every lock in its facility due to missing master keys. Not only are such mistakes costly ($53,000 in this case), but they also put lives in danger.

To prevent key control mishaps, consider using an electronic key control system that enforces accountability by automatically recording transaction information when a user requests a key. These systems record the employee's name, the date, the time and the key that was requested. If a key goes missing, you can use this information to quickly identify the last person who checked it out and resolve the issue immediately.

You can also set up text or email alerts to be notified immediately of missing keys, rather than finding out after the weekend has passed, like the warden at the Indiana prison did. If the checkout time of a key exceeds its limit, you'll know right away and can approach the guard who last requested it.

Has your prison experienced any additional benefits of electronic key control systems?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Preventing Insider Theft: How to Keep Your Cars From Being Stolen Straight off Your Lot

A man in a mask breaking into a carHow much does internal theft cost your dealership? It might be more than you think. Believe it or not, businesses lose as much as 7 percent of annual revenue to internal theft.

To protect the cars on your lot, it's important to maintain control of your keys.

However, keeping track of employees' access to keys at your dealership — especially when insider theft is becoming an issue — can be a daunting task if you don't have an automatic, verifiable system in place to help you.

By storing keys on a traditional pegboard or inside a desk drawer, you're giving personnel unlimited and unmonitored access to every car on your lot and therefore can't hold your staff accountable. However, with an electronic key control system, you can easily and quickly identify (and deter) dishonest employees.

Automatic key control systems only allow personnel with valid passcodes, proximity cards or fingerprints to check out keys, creating a verifiable record that you can use to track employees' key activity. You'll know when an individual took a key and returned it, making employees more accountable and less likely to use keys for criminal purposes.

To prevent key control-related theft at your dealership, learn more about the benefits of electronic key control.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Four Layers of Physical Security

Icons representing various types of security

Businesses are constantly at risk of theft, particularly when their physical assets aren't fully secure. The best way to keep thieves at bay is to break down security into four layers: deterrence, access control, detection and identification.

To help you protect your property and prevent theft, here are four ways an electronic key control system can enforce all four of these security objectives.


By placing your keys in a secure key control system made of heavy-duty materials like steel, you can help prevent criminals from gaining access to high-security rooms or assets.

An electronic key control system that requires employees to log in by entering a unique password, swiping a proximity card or scanning their fingerprint will also make it more difficult for employees to commit internal theft. Some systems will even automatically record the times employees take and return keys, creating a real-time verifiable audit trail.

Access Control

Chances are you enforce some level of access control for your facility, but if you’re not monitoring who can access your keys and high-value assets, you could be missing a vital layer of security. By implementing a key control system to manage your business’s keys, you can limit which keys are available to users based on job function, time of day and even days of the week so you can prevent employees from accessing restricted areas and items after hours.


If you're currently using manual key control, such as a pegboard or lockbox, you have no way of detecting the exact moment a key has been requested by an unauthorized user or has exceeded its time limit. By implementing an electronic key control system, you can choose triggers to sound an alarm or send a text or email to the system administrator. Such triggers include unauthorized users attempting to access the system, overdue keys or a system drawer being left open for too long. By alerting you of overdue keys and other suspicious activity, your system helps you identify and resolve potential security breaches.


Employee accountability only goes so far. By using a key control system with a video camera and biometric fingerprint reader, you can eliminate the risk of password sharing and identify who accesses the system.

Adding a motion-activated video camera to your key control system will allow you record any person who approaches the system, even if the person doesn't attempt to log on.

While a video camera can help you recognize faces, a fingerprint reader will distinguish individuals on a biometric level. The system will only unlock for a registered fingerprint from an authorized user and since no two fingerprints are alike, you’ll know exactly who’s accessing your system.

With an electronic key control system you can meet these four security goals, know where your keys are and make sure your business is protected. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Keep Your Dealership's Key Control Efficient and Secure on July Fourth

Car dealerships always celebrate July Fourth with big deals to draw in big crowds. This influx of customers can make for a pretty hectic Independence Day. With so many people in your dealership, you need strict key control processes to ensure that your staff handle your vehicle keys efficiently and securely.

To help ease your anxiety about serving such a huge crowd, follow these three key control tips on July Fourth.

Track Key Activity

Bowl of keys
When you have hundreds of customers in a single day, you need to make sure you have efficient key control processes in place to keep track of the activity in your dealership. If an employee misplaces keys, you'll have to spend time trying to find the key or its duplicate when you could be attending to customers.

Consider using an electronic key control system to mitigate these mishaps. The system will automatically record the name of the employee who accessed the key, the time they took it and a reason for the key checkout. If a key is misplaced and can't be found, you can check the records and talk to the employee who last had the key to quickly correct the situation.

Set Alerts for Overdue Keys

When your dealership is packed with people looking at the same lot of cars, there are bound to be several people interested in the same model. Placing a time limit on keys will help you ensure that no keys are with one salesperson for too long. However, with inefficient key control processes, how can you enforce a time limit on keys?

With an electronic key control system, you can set a time limit on specific keys. If you have a new model and expect a high number of test drives, you can choose to be notified when a key hasn't been returned within its time limit. You can receive text and email messages that will notify you of the overdue key and what time it was checked out so you can make sure that more than one person can demo a certain car.

Keep Keys out of Sight

There's truth to the old adage "Out of sight, out of mind." If a thief is canvassing your dealership and sees the key cabinet in the front lobby, they know exactly where to go to steal car keys. 

No matter what type of key control system you have, keep it confined to one area of your dealership that's not visible to customers. If thieves don't know where to find keys, they're less likely to break in, because they're looking for quick and easy targets

Do you have any other tips for efficient key control?