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  • Effective Key Management Procedures

    I have just published a new Security Tip called Effective Key Management Procedures.

    This article may be of interest to those responsible for managing their organization's brass key system.
    Michael A. Silva
    Silva Consultants

  • #2
    I worked for a company that was really lame about "key kontrol".

    They were supposed to have "field sups" meeting guard and handing off keys, but they would be 3 hours late and guards would be wandering off site to pee in bushes, etc.

    I got so half the guards just got their very own keys made and those got passed around so their was a "two tier" (LOL) key system, the official one and the 'guard to guard'.

    At one time our office was frantically looking for an official set that I had turned back into a Supervisor a day before, and I'm getting 5 VM on my cell. He was their only Sup that would have been the person to collect the keys.


    Simple brass keys can be easily copied either by making an impression, or "on site" in about 5 minutes by clamping them with a blank with a vise-grips and filing to match.

    I'm surprised those old easy-copy brass keys are still around and haven't been totally replaced by something a LITTLE more copy-resistant.


    PS-I now thinking SOMEONE will make a bunch of money at some big hardware company if they come out with a good new key system.


    Oh, and stamping "do not duplicate" only works if the lock company doesn't want to make $1.50.
    Last edited by Squid; 01-22-2013, 01:11 PM.

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    • #3
      Interesting story.

      There are already quite a few "high-security" lock systems that use keys that are difficult for unauthorized people to duplicate. I have another article on my site that further explains these systems: High-Security Locks



      Originally posted by Squid View Post
      I worked for a company that was really lame about "key kontrol".

      They were supposed to have "field sups" meeting guard and handing off keys, but they would be 3 hours late and guards would be wandering off site to pee in bushes, etc.

      I got so half the guards just got their very own keys made and those got passed around so their was a "two tier" (LOL) key system, the official one and the 'guard to guard'.

      At one time our office was frantically looking for an official set that I had turned back into a Supervisor a day before, and I'm getting 5 VM on my cell. He was their only Sup that would have been the person to collect the keys.


      Simple brass keys can be easily copied either by making an impression, or "on site" in about 5 minutes by clamping them with a blank with a vise-grips and filing to match.

      I'm surprised those old easy-copy brass keys are still around and haven't been totally replaced by something a LITTLE more copy-resistant.


      PS-I now thinking SOMEONE will make a bunch of money at some big hardware company if they come out with a good new key system.


      Oh, and stamping "do not duplicate" only works if the lock company doesn't want to make $1.50.
      Michael A. Silva
      Silva Consultants

      Comment


      • #4
        well I don't have knowledge about this but I got some knowledge from here. If I get any information related to this. I'll definitely share with you.

        Comment


        • #5
          Very informative...thanks

          Once worked a third shift on a brand-new college campus.
          When I came on shift the first time the 2nd shift officer (that looked like
          he had been sleeping in his car) handed me a 3-inch ring of keys and
          said "here don't lose these they cost $16,000".

          Comment


          • #6
            It really interesting story. I like it.

            Comment


            • #7
              I've know several cases of guards driving off without turning over keys, and often he figures he is "off", like really off after a graveyard shift and cell is off, etc.

              I think any set of keys worth a darn should have 'sealed' ring and GPS.

              I also think any client who has security company "lose" his keys for any amount of time would be justified in calling a 24Hour locksmith and re-keying every lock effected and sending security the bill.

              Comment


              • #8
                Have a concrete policy in writing

                Thought I'd comment on this one given a recent experience. My company has had some turnover and we are doing a key inventory top to bottom. The number of people who have had keys to areas they don't need to be in or don't have clearance for was rather surprising.

                The common denominator was their status as higher ups. It is very hard to say "no" to someone who makes double or triple your salary when they request a key. Make sure your co. or client has a written policy that backs up the people who issue keys, and gives them the clear ability to say "no," even if it's the CFO or the boss's nephew.
                Last edited by Condo Guard; 04-29-2013, 05:27 PM. Reason: spelling

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Squid View Post
                  I've know several cases of guards driving off without turning over keys, and often he figures he is "off", like really off after a graveyard shift and cell is off, etc.

                  I think any set of keys worth a darn should have 'sealed' ring and GPS.

                  I also think any client who has security company "lose" his keys for any amount of time would be justified in calling a 24Hour locksmith and re-keying every lock effected and sending security the bill.
                  Some high security locations (that will remain secret) has a policy in place that
                  if you take the keys home with you got 1 hour to return the keys or they will have to
                  re-key the entire building etc. It is considered a breech of security if you don't return them in a
                  certain timeframe because it takes about that long to make a copy of the keys.
                  The security company pays for the re-keying which cost at least $50,000 for a 24 hour locksmith.
                  So they tell us DON't LOSE THE KEYS. It was part of the client contract.

                  The high security locks cost tons of money I've seen the RFID access control systems which
                  are way better than the brass keys.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Biometric

                    Not wanting to take Mike's thread off center, but I have been contacted by some smaller retailers about going biometric and doing away with their key lock systems. Many of the really big retailers are using biometric lock in some way or fashion, but is there a trend for the non-retailers going biometric?

                    In the late 70s I started putting electromagnetic locks in grocery stores along with delayed exit emergency exit doors. Are keyed locks becoming a thing of the past for the commercial sector?

                    Mike, great to see you in Napa.
                    Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
                    Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

                    Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      how about a GPS with "ankle bracelet" around the keys so that alarm will sound if taken off site or off chain?

                      24Hour Fitness now has index finger sign in with 7 digit code. It works, if you use wrong finger or even out of position it wont clear you. I haven't tried the old super-spy "transfer fingerprint to plastic mold over finger" thingy yet, but may soon if I get bored.

                      Yeah, It might take a spy's machine shop about an hour to dupe a set of hi-end tech keys......but IIRC there are fairly good ways of taking "wax impression" sometimes requiring more than one mold off the same hi-end key for all the info, but the impressions can be taken fast and "secretly" by a crooked guard or employee, then dupe keys made off site at leisure.

                      I've seen some really impressive small digital "inspection cameras" with features to indicate fairly precise dimensions that I'd say could be used to dupe any keys I've seen.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        An almost sure-fire way of creating a system so keys are not taken home:
                        Not my idea but former SSGT. did this because the troops that did not want
                        to work in a battery shop would "lose" the key for a period of time. He
                        took the single key and had it bolted to a 9"x12" piece of aluminum.....
                        oh yeah, there was a slot for your fingers also.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Curtis Baillie View Post
                          Not wanting to take Mike's thread off center, but I have been contacted by some smaller retailers about going biometric and doing away with their key lock systems. Many of the really big retailers are using biometric lock in some way or fashion, but is there a trend for the non-retailers going biometric?

                          In the late 70s I started putting electromagnetic locks in grocery stores along with delayed exit emergency exit doors. Are keyed locks becoming a thing of the past for the commercial sector?

                          Mike, great to see you in Napa.
                          The delayed emergency exit is really useful when people
                          grab and run to the emergency exit with a getaway car waiting for them.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'm surprised "delayed exit emergency exit doors" could be legal, for couple reasons.

                            1)Seems like some addition 'might go wrong' thing was involved.

                            2)What about when people "try it" and then assume it is locked and die while trying to find 'the real exit'.


                            How long was the delay and what mechanism?, cause I'm thinking 2 seconds pushing on a door that wont open in a fire is plenty long enough for the average person to conclude it wont open. When I'm "shaking doors" on rounds even checking for those that might only be "friction shut" I don't think it is even a full second of action.

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                            • #15
                              I've been using delayed exit doors for a very long time. When I first started I had to really educated Fire Marshalls as they were not aware of them or up to date. Luckily the Air Force was using them and I was able to set up demonstrations at a local Air Force base. The can adjust the delay time, but mine were set for 15 seconds and effectively end "beer runs" and all the other theft at the emergency exits. Very effective tool.

                              To answer your question #2. If there is a real fire emergency the door opens with no delay.

                              Here's a great article on this from Mike Silva.
                              Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
                              Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

                              Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference

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