Key Boxes Have Come a Long Way
Many hospitals, schools and universities have adopted automated card access control. Still, there are a large number of physical keys in use, both from legacy systems and in new construction that are not a part of the electronic access control system but need to be managed.
Typically a large number of physical keys in a facility will be kept together in a single controlled location. The term “key box” once referred to a cabinet that hung on a wall containing keys hung from hooks. However, this technology has evolved significantly.
Today’s key management solutions are fully integrated access control systems that communicate across the converged network. They provide campus security, police and facilities executives with a wealth of information that can be used to manage and improve security.
Access Control Keeps Keys from Unauthorized Persons
The first line of defense in key management is controlling access to the keys themselves. The cabinet can be locked, with numerous types of access control (e.g. keypads, biometrics, or proximity or magstripe cards) available to be integrated with more advanced key management systems. In the more advanced systems, each key is locked into place using a key that has an integrated chip, so a campus security professional can only remove a key he or she has permission to use. Some systems light up the location of the key or keys the user can remove.
In addition to guarding keys, today’s key management technology can be integrated into the overall security solution on campus. Some are scalable: Multiple cabinets can form a fully integrated system to hold hundreds of keys and other items in multiple locations, and this can all be controlled from a single PC interface. By integrating management software, users can control the system and maximize its reporting and programmable access capabilities.