5 Key Control Errors That Office Managers Make

Many office complexes continue to rely on a host of keys to control access to different parts of the building. When keys go missing (temporarily or otherwise), office owners often face hefty bills to replace locks, so it's important for office managers to establish the right key control procedures. If you want to make sure you never lose any office keys, learn from the five costly errors that some of your peers sometimes make.

Failure to centralize key control

An average office building could have hundreds, if not thousands of locks. As such, if employees need to rely on conventional keys, you need to make sure you have robust controls in place. Centralized key control is critical to this type of system.

Multiple key locations and owners are generally a recipe for disaster. A lack of centralized control makes it harder to put in place robust control mechanisms. What's more, even if your employees don't lose keys, they'll probably spend much longer trying to find the key they need, which will ultimately impact productivity.

Identity checking not included in key control process

It's vital that security guards or administrators check each person's identity when they request a key. Without an identity check, you cannot confirm that the person signing the key out has authority to gain access to the relevant area.

As a simple best practice, instruct security guards and key controllers to check identity badges against the name used as part of the signing out process. If a staff member does not have an identity badge, ask for another form of photo ID, or you may never see the key again.

Sending keys through the internal mail

Visiting employees from other offices will sometimes forget to return keys and may decide to send the offending items back through the internal mail. While this may seem like a good way to get the key back, staff members should never return keys in this way. This method of issue is not secure, and items of internal mail may disappear, particularly where you handle high volumes.

Ask employees to return keys only in person, wherever possible. If the employee cannot return the key in person, request that he or she uses a courier or external post option with a signature and tracking. The cost of a courier is comparably small compared to the price of a new lock.

Labeling keys inappropriately

Accurate key control relies on a detailed system of numbering, but the code you use should never give away the purpose of the key. If somebody finds a lost (or stolen) key, the markings should never give away which door or room the key unlocks, or the risk of unauthorized access increases significantly.

Make sure your key control system uses a clear system of numbers and lettering that only a few people understand. Blind codes or lengthy serial numbers will give you extra protection if keys fall into the wrong hands.

No regular audits

Like any other system of security or control, you cannot assume that all your staff members use keys according to your policy. As such, regular audits can help you understand where you need tighter controls. For example, you may need to set up a written key control policy and/or include more information in your new employee induction about key control and security.

Make sure that the person who conducts the audit is not the person who routinely manages key control. After all, you need to make sure that the results of the audit are honest and impartial, or you cannot learn any lessons from the findings.

Lost keys cost businesses a lot of money, so it's important to make sure you have the right control policies and processes in your office building. For more solutions for keeping your keys safe, contact a commercial locksmith like Suburban Lock.