Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Practical Ways Electronic Key Control Makes Condo Property Managers’ Jobs Easier

Businesswoman looking at laptop in office
From celebrity encounters to bed bugs to burst pipes, the life of a condo property manager is anything but boring. In addition to developing a rapport with the board and property owners, you also have to juggle the day-to-day challenges of helping the property run smoothly.

You can’t avoid some of those responsibilities — like mediating disagreements between neighbors or persuading the board to agree to a special assessment. But you can simplify other tasks, like managing keys, employee schedules and more. Consider the following ways electronic key control makes your job easier.

Stick to Your Key Control Policy


Policies and procedures help facilitate the operations of a condo community, which is critical when there are multiple owners living in close vicinity of one another.

Keeping up with bylaws, legal guidelines and more is hard enough as it is. Setting up electronic key control system rules consistent with your condo association’s key control policy helps you ensure board members and other employees follow key-use protocol.

Some examples of how you can use a key control solution to help enforce your key management policy include:

  • Require two people (e.g., security personnel, property manager and/or board member) to log in and jointly check out a unit key for emergency, security or maintenance purposes.
  • Prevent unit owners from removing neighbors’ keys without permission and for unauthorized purposes.
  • Keep an up-to-date record of keys on file.
  • Automatically record the date and time a key is removed or returned.
  • Prompt employees to include checkout reasons when removing keys.
  • Keep track of keys without having to label them with the unit number or a code that requires a key index to decipher.

By digitizing these functions, you reduce the element of human error and manipulation when managing keys.

Manage Employee Work Schedules and Responsibilities


Overseeing human resources can easily become one of your most time-consuming duties, especially if you manage a larger property.

Giving employees a single system to clock in and perform certain responsibilities, like tracking work orders, makes it easier for you to oversee their activity on the job and makes them more efficient as well. The fewer applications employees have to learn and use, the better.

Electronic key control also allows you to grant secure access to keys to personnel handling emergency maintenance issues or porters delivering packages to residents (if you offer package delivery).

If your electronic key control provider has a training program, encouraging your employees to take advantage of that resource reduces onboarding time and helps them discover new ways to use the technology more efficiently. By spending less time on logistics, you can focus more on helping employees develop the skills they need to succeed at their jobs and represent the property well.

Give Homeowners a Sense of Security


If your association keeps a copy of owners’ keys on hand, you want to reassure them that you take their security and privacy seriously, especially if there are residents who were reluctant to hand over copies of their keys.

When the key to a homeowner’s home is checked out, an electronic key control system can automatically send a text or email to the owner to let them know. The system will create an audit trail of key use, which gives owners peace of mind. It gives you a sense of security too, since the verifiable record helps protect you from liability.

When you have as many things on your plate as you do, making small changes to the way you carry out your responsibilities can have a big impact. To learn more about how electronic key control helps you succeed at your job, check out our post “Five Benefits of Implementing Electronic Key Control.”

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

How Will Your Correctional Facility Deal With These Challenges in 2019?

Jail keys
While the Bureau of Justice Statistics has indicated that prison and jail populations have been trending slightly down over the last decade, the reality is that such a decline has done little to alleviate the common problems at correctional facilities around the nation.

As we move into the thick of 2019, correctional facilities will continue to face major challenges that leave officers and employees at risk, increase the chances of inmate violence, and cause many other headaches inside your walls.

Here are some challenges correctional facilities can expect to deal with in the coming year, along with ways to combat them.

Retaining Staff


As you're no doubt aware, working in a prison is a stressful job. Correctional officers (COs) deal with dangerous people and must face the risk of riots, attacks and escape attempts on a daily basis. In many ways, being a CO can be a thankless job since it can be difficult for people to get a sense of what the job provides to society. From poor safety practices to low pay, several issues have driven many good COs away and contributed to staff shortages in many states.

One small thing you can do to help retain your COs is to help them feel like management understands their concerns and issues. Reassure them of the importance of their position and what it provides to society — keeping criminals off the streets. In addition, take what steps you can to give them better safety and security within your facility, whether by implementing new technologies or providing them with better safety equipment.

Managing Overcrowding


Though the number of inmates has generally declined in recent years, prisons and jail have remained overly crowded based on official capacities. Overcrowding opens the door to many issues, such as an increased chance of inmate violence and a strain on CO and inmate morale. In fact, overcrowding was credited with fueling riots in Kansas prisons in 2017 and 2018.

The construction of more correctional facilities is largely out of your hands, so managers and officers simply have to do the best they can with the available resources to manage the overcrowding issue. Consider reviewing your protocols for what your COs' responsibilities are, how you manage your keys and how you address inmate issues and complaints. Look for areas where lapses in these areas might be leaving everybody at risk and develop better processes. Hold staff accountable to make sure they follow these new rules.

Preventing Violence


Unfortunately, violence is a reality of life in and around correctional facilities, and it affects inmates as well as COs. Even when inmates aren't directly attacking officers, the latter must still get involved during fights between inmates, putting themselves at risk and potentially causing violence to escalate.

Preventing violence is difficult, especially since overcrowding can only be managed internally so much. The best thing you can do is to take steps to better protect your officers who are in harm's way every day. Provide them with equipment, tools and training to handle threats. Find inefficiencies in your physical security that could leave COs at risk of attack or prevent riots from being contained quickly.

Some of these challenges are, to some extent, inescapable due to the myriad of reasons that contribute to people ending up incarcerated and the lack of funding. However, setting policies and making sure COs and employees follow them can give you a step up in protecting your staff not only this year but for years to come.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Customer Tip: Revoke Access Privileges When Employees Leave

Access denied graphic
When an employee leaves your organization, how long afterward are they able to access your company’s systems or use facility keys?

Failure to revoke former employees’ access privileges is a rampant problem across all industries. In a survey of IT decision makers, nearly half of respondents said they were aware of ex-employees who still had access to company applications. Some of these respondents (20 percent) also said that their organization had experienced a data breach as a result of continuing to allow former employees access to company resources.

Just as it’s important to deprovision access to corporate accounts such as email and customer databases, it’s critical to ensure no former employees have access to your key control system by deleting users immediately after they terminate employment.

By following best practices for reducing internal theft — both during and after someone’s employment — you can keep your business secure.