The world has become increasingly focused on security in the world of information, and the threat posed by physical vulnerabilities has not been forgotten as technology moves forward. Key security is integral when your business relies on allowing your customers and employees to use large, valuable assets. Failing to maintain proper control of your keys will inevitably result in lost time and revenue. That is an unfortunate statement considering there are effective and reliable methods and tools available to make key management easier than ever.

How Are Keys Lost?

While it may seem like an obvious question, it’s still important to take stock of every potential way the security of your keys might become compromised. Misplacement is the most common culprit, such as when an employee forgets to actually place the key back in the secure locker before heading home, or the keys going missing entirely. Mismanagement is the leading cause of misplacement; this happens when the key isn’t properly tracked in the company system, whether it is actually missing or not

The Costs of Poor Key Management

There are three primary ways that poor key management results in damage to your business. The cost that most businesses expect from poor key management is the incidental cost that comes from replacing lost keys. For homes and other rental units using a traditional lock system, losing the keys means at least one lock will need to be replaced at a minimum of $10 more depending on the exact model of handle you wish to use. A new key card is easier and less expensive to replace at just a few dollars per replaced card in the most common hotel keycard systems. Most cars use a computerized key system so the entire ignition lock doesn’t have to be replaced when you lose your keys, but replacement car keys can cost upwards of $400 or more, depending on the make and model.

Second, there is the doomsday scenario in which poor key control leads to a thief gaining access to the secured object. A stolen car is thousands of dollars in losses in the best case, and it will more likely be in the tens of thousands. If a hotel guest loses their belongings due to poor key security, that information will undoubtedly make its way to other potential guests, and cascade into lost revenue to competitors without the blemish on their record. In a more sinister situation, if a criminal were to gain access to an occupied room, and proper key management procedures could have prevented it, the liability and danger to human life are monetarily immeasurable.  For government and high-security situations, malicious actors may find a way to steal or attack where one was never expected and cause immense amounts of damage.

Lastly and most insidiously, is the incidental time loss from keys that are not lost so much as they’re not where they are expected to be. There’s no cost for replacement, but access to an asset may be unavailable until the original finds its way back or an emergency spare is acquired. For example, a supervisor may forget that a vehicle is needed and keep the keys on hand just in case.  Or, an employee may take the keys to a company car home overnight, preventing the next shift from completing all of their tasks for the night. The keys aren’t lost or misplaced in either case, but they are mismanaged in a way that cuts into productivity.

Applying Operational Security to Your Keys

Modernizing your key management is one of the easiest ways you can improve your key security. Ekey managementlectronic key management systems from companies like KEYper Systems are far superior to any chit system, or pen-and-paper logbook for a wooden key locker secured with a simple padlock. Each KEYper electronic key management system starts with a sturdy key vault with electronic access control for each key, tamper seals, secure fobs, and a digital camera to capture and record every login attempt, functionally removing the ability for users to take a key without proper access. The key track system lets you know whether a key is in or out, and provides a detailed log of every user who accessed it. Additionally, customizable reports provide a simple way to analyze your key, user and asset activity.  You can access the status of every key in real-time, online or through the KEYper GO app on your mobile device.  You can also use the online admin to create custom access groups and schedules. Creating a schedule for key availability is a task that most supervisors have undertaken, but KEYper Systems can use that schedule to control access to keys. For after-hours key management needs, the human element can be minimized by automating key dispensing entirely, allowing 24-hour key exchange without additional staffing or security risks.

The key security offered by KEYper Systems pays for itself over time by reducing and eliminating the lost time and money from poor key management. For more information on KEYper Systems’ products, you can browse the KEYper store online, or you can schedule a free online demo to become more familiar with the products in a more interactive and personalized setting.