Key Management After Expansion and Renovation

When door hardware brands vary across facilities, patented key control systems can reduce the risk of security breaches and enhance key control.

It is very common for a healthcare or educational facility to have door locking hardware in use from various manufacturers. This is because what made the most business sense at initial construction or during a certain construction phase might not have been viable or preferred during subsequent building projects. This is especially true if personnel and contractors have changed. Additionally, when mergers of institutions take place, the problem is often compounded. The end result can be a hodgepodge of door hardware across facilities.

A variety of door hardware often means that different key systems are in use due to the limited locking cylinder profile options offered by some manufacturers. Multiple key systems can present users with complex key management challenges. Additionally, the more complicated key management becomes, the more likely security could be compromised and become inefficient.

However, there is a cost-effective solution with a variety of tangible benefits that will enable most existing door hardware to remain in place regardless of how many different brands or types of hardware are in use.

Best practices in key management start with using a patented key control system. A patented key system is not about protecting the manufacturer from competition, it is about offering assurance to the campus. To maintain security, school, university and hospital officials need assurance that their specific keyway and key blanks are protected and controlled by the manufacturer. Campus public safety stakeholders want to eliminate the risk of unauthorized duplication.

A patented key system benefits the institutions in various ways including:

  1. Key blanks that are used to make keys that will only be available to the end-user facility or its designee, and this is protected by patent law and contract law.
  2. A local hardware store or big box retailer will not be able to duplicate the keys as they will not have blanks to cut. This control by the manufacturer is designed to force employees to follow proper channels and ensure only authorized keys are cut and issued.
  3. Key issuance and control remain with the proper authority.

So the key to cost-effectively gaining and keeping control of keys is to get all buildings on the same patented key system. To do this requires choosing a patented key system that is compatible with a broad range of door hardware brands.

For example, if six different brands of hardware have been used across campus, then a patented key system should be chosen that can accommodate all of those brands as well as future expansion.

Some systems are compatible with 30 or more brands of door hardware. Once the patented key system is chosen, only the key cylinders and keys have to be replaced to get all buildings on the same master key system.

This is a budget-friendly way to gain control of keys and maintain that control for years to come.

Mark Allen is the marketing manager for Kaba Access  Control.

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