Key Systems Decoded

Excerpts from an Expert > Key Systems Decoded

CoreWe’re smack in the middle of trade show season. Want to know the number one question we are asked? The type of key systems we provide, and if can we help set them up.

If you are in the facilities or loss prevention world, chances are that key systems are a component of your job. While it seems simple, they can be quite complex.

The decision around key systems comes from which type you want to install.

To get you started, answer this question: Does the thought of people easily being able to copy your keys give you the sweats?

How much, or how little, you hyperventilate when you hear that question will help you determine which key systems your want to install.

Proprietary Key System, key systemsDon’t Hyperventilate! Unrestricted Key Systems

If the issue of simple key duplication only presents a minor annoyance, an unrestricted system is likely your best option.

These key systems are the most basic and least expensive ones on the market…lucky you! The keyways are available to the general locksmith community, which is why it’s easy to get same-day key copies and rekeys.

The main disadvantage is that keys can easily be copied without prior authorization. This means that when an employee quits or is terminated, you may need to rekey the location regardless of whether or not the key was returned. You don’t know if he/she made a copy.

Pass the Paper Bag, Please. Restricted Key Systems

If easy key duplication makes your blood pressure rise, a restricted key system is right up your alley. Unlike unrestricted key systems, these key blanks are only available through authorized dealers. As such, if an employee quits or is terminated, as long as the key is returned, there is no need to rekey the store.

Due to the fact that key blanks and cores aren’t as readily available, you will likely sacrifice the convenience of same-day rekeys and key copies. However, these issues can be addressed with rekeyable systems.

Call 911! Proprietary Key Systems

If you work at the Pentagon or an equally secure facility, I imagine the thought of someone with unauthorized access to a key keeps you up at night. In cases where security is of utmost importance, a proprietary system is your best option.

A step up from restricted key systems, the key blanks are available for one specific customer. No one else can get a copy of that key blank. As such, proprietary key systems are the most costly system type and provide the highest level of security.

Like restricted key systems, you will sacrifice the convenience of same-day rekeys and key copies. Moreover, once you have committed to a vendor partner, it can be a lengthy process should you decide to terminate the relationship and transfer key records and blanks.  If your system is proprietary to your vendor, be aware that if you leave, you will no longer be able to purchase keys or cores on that system. It is for this reason that end-user proprietary key systems are more popular than vendor key systems.

After you decide which type of system to use, you will need to select the cylinder type, optional features such as rekeyable cylinders and master system setups, and you will also need to establish clear policies and procedures.

For more information, check out our comprehensive Key Systems 101 article or download our key sytems white paper.

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