How Wake Forest University Effectively Manages Its Keys

Investing in an electronic key management system helps Wake Forest keep track of its keys and improve security.

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If you manage security, public safety or facilities for a school, university or healthcare facility, you know how challenging it is to keep track of the keys to all of the doors and cabinets on campus. Janitors, security officers, police officers, residence life staff and other campus employees usually must carry a bunch of keys with them on large key rings, which is a real hassle.

James Byrd

This approach also poses significant risks because it’s really easy to lose those keys or have them stolen. Additionally, when there are a large number of keys, doors and cabinets on campus, how do you keep everyone accountable for the keys in their possession? In many cases, those individuals might be carrying keys that don’t work anymore or can’t be paired with the door or cabinet that they open.

These and many other reasons are why Wake Forest University purchased 36 Morse Watchmans Keywatcher systems.

Although key management systems can be expensive, the price tag of doing nothing could be even higher. It can actually cost an organization more to re-key an entire facility if a master key is lost than investing in an electronic key management system.

Campus Safety Voices, available on Spotify and Apple streaming platforms, features timely conversations on a wide range of topics affecting K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, and healthcare facilities.

In my interview with James Byrd, who is Wake Forest’s Director of Physical Security Technology and Deacon OneCard, he describes how the university now more effectively manages its 500,000 keys, more than 50,000 keyed doors and 9,000 key users with Morse Watchmans Keywatcher solutions.

These systems not only help the school manage its keys, it also integrates with the Wake Forest’ video surveillance system from Genetec and access control system from Lenel and HID.

Byrd talks about how he determined what was needed by interviewing various stakeholders about their problems with this issue, including IT, public safety, residence life, facilities and others on campus.

He also provides additional helpful hints to other campuses looking to do a better job managing their keys.

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About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray

Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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