Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Electronic Key Control’s Role in School Security

Key drawn on chalkboard
Electronic key control is an essential component of a school district’s security program. When keys fall into the wrong hands, schools risk not only loss of assets but lives as well. This is clear from several missing-key incidents reported this year.

In Massachusetts, police were investigating a bomb threat at Newburyport High School when they discovered a 16-year-old (who was not connected to the threat) was carrying a school master key and butterfly knife. During a separate incident, a missing set of master keys forced an entire school district in Oregon to rekey 16 schools, costing approximately $50,000.

School key control mishaps are not always confined to campus premises, however. When a school bus driver in Maryland left her position, she left the key to a year-old $106,000 bus inside the glove box — a decision that enabled a man and woman, both intoxicated, to take the vehicle on a dangerous excursion. Thankfully, no one was harmed, but the bus struck an electrical tower and eventually crashed into the woods, causing extensive body and engine damage to the vehicle.

When it comes to school security, electronic key control provides two key benefits: restricting access to keys and automatically documenting an audit trail of key usage.

By keeping keys in an electronic key control system that controls user access, schools can cut down on incidents in which keys are either lost or end up in the hands of unauthorized people. If an incident does occur, the audit trail created by an electronic key control system can help police and school officials quickly identify who last checked out a specific key or set of keys.

For more information on using electronic key control to cut down on missing keys, read our post “Do You Know Where Your Keys Are?

Friday, December 19, 2014

Electronic Key Control: What Property Owners Should Look For — Part 1

Keys laying on top of blueprintTo maintain a competitive edge, you, as a property owner or manager, need to meet tenants’ priorities to keep your occupancy rates up. According to a survey by Apartments.com, safety is one of renters' top considerations when making a rental decision. That’s where electronic key control comes in.

Regulating the use of unit keys can help make tenants feel safe on your property — especially when you implement other security precautions, such as good lighting in parking lots and stairwells, locks on windows and deadbolts on doors.

To get the most value from your key control system investment, there are a few things you need to look for, which we'll discuss in this two-part series. We'll start with two features that can make or break the effectiveness of a key control system.

Data Collection Practices

Green key icon
In addition to protecting keys and assets by physically securing keys, electronic key control systems help keep employees accountable and reduce your property's liability risks by creating a verifiable audit trail of key activity. 

To maintain the integrity of system records, it’s important to make sure your key control system uses passive data collection methods versus active ones. Passive data collection methods capture transaction information as soon as a key is removed, but active data collection methods require users to manually record transaction details or initiate the data capture by a specific action such as scanning a key tag.
You should also find out whether data is stored locally on the system, on the vendor’s server or with another third party. If the data is stored off-site, ask if there are any data storage fees, and if so, how the fees are determined. If data is not stored directly on the system, know how you will access your data in the event that you lose Internet access.

Remote Management

Hand entering information on login screen 
If you need to centralize key management practices among multiple properties, one of the first things you should look for in a key control system is a remote management feature that allows you to access multiple systems by logging in to an online portal. 

From there, you should be able to run reports for each property and perform actions such as setting up users or entering asset data.

To find out what else you should look for in a multifamily key control system, check out Part 2 of our series.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Top Four Most Outrageous Key Control Security Breaches

Money, time, resources and reputations are all at stake when a business falls victim to theft. Employee theft alone costs businesses about $40 billion each year. These security breaches impact companies by making employees feel unsafe and disrupting usual business activity. Let’s take a look back at some of  the craziest security breaches that could have been prevented with a dose of proper key control.

Public Works Official Steals $460,000 in Quarters

A public works inspector stole 1.8 million individual quarters from a parking meter coin room (that he should not have had access to) over the course of two years by using his city-issued master key. Electronic key management systems offer access levels, so you can set specific permissions for employees. By limiting the number of employees who can access certain keys, you’ll greatly reduce the risk of internal theft, preventing mis-issue of the wrong key type.

Keys on key ringsPhoenix Fire Department Can’t Account for 850 keys

The Phoenix Fire Department reported the loss of hundreds of keys that provided firefighters access to buildings all over the city. Not only did the fire department slack on its own security, but it also put many businesses and apartment complexes at risk of theft. With electronic key management, this fire department could have tightly secured these important keys to keep the city safe.

Former Tiffany and Co. Executive Steals Over $1.3 million in Jewelry

As part of her job the vice president of product development at Tiffany and Co. was able to check out pieces of jewelry to show to potential manufacturers. After she left her job, the world-renowned jewelry store found that over 100 pieces of the jewelry she checked out were never checked back in. When it comes to securing highly expensive inventory, keeping a verifiable record is crucial to accurately track key activity.

Coca-Cola Supervisor Loots Vending Machines

Even a huge corporation such as Coca-Cola is vulnerable to internal theft. A former supervisor took a set of master keys and stole over $8,000 from company vending machines. If this bottling company had employed an electronic key control system, the ex-supervisor wouldn’t have access to the keys after leaving the job. In addition, if any unauthorized access was attempted, a manager would immediately be notified by email or text message with information about the incident.

These are a few of the most extreme examples of why key control is necessary for all businesses. Learn more benefits of electronic key control here.