The Basics of Commercial Key Control

Whether you just started your own business or purchased a new property, security occupies your mind. It's one of your primary con cerns as a businessperson. You may hone in on complex, futuristic security systems. But before you turn your business into a fortress, st art with the basics.

We recommend evaluating key control first. No matter how secure your property locks are, if you have no control over the keys or if someone can easily cut a new key, your business isn't very secure.

Take the following steps to ensure your property, employees and merchandise stays safe.

Assess Your Risks

When you begin securing your locks and keys, you need to look at more than your windows and security cameras. Assess the follow ing key control questions:

  • Are any of your entry points unsecured? A lock on your front door represents an important safety measure. But if your side door simply swings open, you cannot control or foresee who enters or exits the building.
  • How many keys has your company issued? The more keys in existence, the more stringent your key control sho uld be. Look at the existing keys. How many master keys exist? How many keys open any given entry point in your building?
  • Who currently holds keys to your building? Once you know how many keys you need to consider, find out who holds each one. Don't just look at employees-your property manager or a previous property owner may also have a copy.
  • Who has the authority to duplicate your keys? If anyone can freely copy your keys, you cannot ever know how many exist. If your current keys don't say "do not duplicate" and aren't regulated, you may need to rekey your locks.

Establish a Key Control Policy

One of the first things you must establish as a business owner is a key control policy. This policy creates an official document definin g your key security. A successful key control policy should include the following considerations:

  • Key authority: As your business grows, you may not have the time to oversee every key-related issue. Designat e a staff member or department to handle key issuance and key control policy disputes.
  • Key duplication rules: Consider whether you will allow any future duplication of your keys. Who can duplicate yo ur keys? Are there any keys you will forbid your key authority from copying?
  • Key issuance guidelines: Decide who can issue keys and when they can issue them. Do employees get a key at t he beginning of orientation or after a background check?
  • Key security measures: Whether you decide to ask people to sign out your keys or require a pass code in additi on to the physical key, you must ensure your keys remain secure in the future.

Work with a Locksmith

If you visit any hardware store, you'll likely hear that you can secure your business entirely on your own. You may have limited succ ess doing so, but you also may miss important aspects of your security plan. Don't leave your business' security to chance.

Have a locksmith come evaluate the locks on your property. He or she may recommend reinforcing them, rekeying them or replacin g them. Talk to your locksmith about your security concerns and preferences.  

You may find that a simple lock system meets your needs. Or you may decide to invest in building-wide keypads or a set of keys wit h strictly restricted duplication policies.

If you can, handle your property's security before you open for business. Even if you cannot, don't procrastinate the task. As soon a s you know where you plan to conduct your business, contact a locksmith and decide how best to perform commercial key control.

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