Do you know – exactly – how many people have access to your building? Would you know if someone was illegitimately copying your keys? Want to know how a restricted key system could help? Read on!

The larger your business, the more keys you need to cut. Employees. Cleaners. Security firms. Tradies. Maintenance teams. The list is almost endless. And they all need a key.

And your job it to keep your premises secure. Scary right?

Or maybe its your six bedroom student flat. Students come and go like like a train station. So, how secure is your flat? Do you feel safe?

In this locksmith series we have covered home security, alarm monitoring, home and commercial safes, access control systems, automotive, CCTV, and so on.

Today we look at restricted key systems

And before we begin, we need to clear up one common misconception.

Just having “Do Not Duplicate” stamped on your key does not mean it is restricted. This statement, when printed or stamped on a key, is simply a suggestion. It is not illegal to make copies of it.

Restricted Keys are designed to prevent unauthorized key duplication

Restricted Key Systems guarantee that your keys cannot be duplicated without your consent. They provide secure access in buildings with multiple areas and entry points. You decide who has access where, and every key can be traced to its holder and to the individual lock it activates.

Chubb Fire and Security state that a restricted key is a registered design key profile, which is licensed to registered locksmiths and is not available at any unauthorised key cutting facility.

Due to the restricted profile key’s shape and size, it cannot be duplicated on any other key blank, giving total control over the number of keys issued and therefore complete control over who has access to your locks. 

Chubb go on to say that nominated approved signatories are captured for authorising changes and purchasing additional keys. All signatures are verified prior to any changes to the system. 

Restriction is ideal for businesses with multiple buildings/locations and access points. With hundreds or sometimes even thousands of keys and key holders, it is impossible to know if or when a key is duplicated, creating a security breach opportunity that cannot be prevented through auditing practices, without non-duplicable keys. 

Benefits of a Restricted Key System

Better Security

Restricted Keys prevent unauthorised access to your premises and buildings. Because they can only be approved, created and issued by authorised personal, through registered locksmiths, you can be assured of your security.

They can have serial numbers so that you can easily control which staff member and which doors are involved. Adding access can be easily managed through your key system provider so that any newly created keys can be tracked and assigned. 

Restricted Keys enable you to track all keys issued to all employees

This means that you can also manage lost or found keys very easily.

Better Management of Keys

If keys are lost or stolen, your records tell you instantly which locks or keys need to be changed. You will know exactly which staff are effected.

Better Access Control

Restricted Keys can be created in such a way that they match the different security clearances staff have for different parts of your premises.

Restricted keys make it easy to establish levels of access and track who has keys for entry to areas requiring higher security. A property manager, or district manager can have a master key that allows total access while an employee who only needs limited access can have a key that unlocks only the areas necessary for their duties. 

Staff changes are easily managed because every key is matched to a specific individual. When someone leaves your organization and returns their keys, you can verify that they are the same keys that were issued, with each key’s unique identifier or serial number.

When a new employee joins your organization, you can update your records and transition the same keys to the new employee without having to get new keys cut. 

Better Records

The restricted keys are controlled by keeping records of who has which key, and for what parts of the prperty.

When a new staff member joins the organisation, they usually sign a key register accepting the key, and agreeing to the organisation’s security terms and conditions.

Maintaining a key register is critical to restricted key systems

This record, together with serial numbers and signatures, means it is easy to audit your key stock.

Having good records also makes it easy to change or remove access, because you know exactly who should and who should not have a key at any time.

How to get started

Call your local locksmith and walk through of your complete property. Take the time to discuss your security and access needs. 

They will then be able to advise you on the right restricted key system, but also any other security matter\s you have have overlooked.

Advice from the Government

The New Zealand Government Protective Security Requirements (PSR) make recommendations for government department lock systems.

Keying systems should include security measures. For example:

  • legal controls, such as registered designs and patents
  • physical controls that make it difficult for people to get or manufacture blank keys or the machinery used to cut duplicate keys
  • controls that protect against techniques like picking, bumping, impressioning, and decoding.

Choosing a keying system

When you’re choosing a keying system, consider the following questions.

  • What is the length of legal protection the manufacturer offers?
  • What level of protection can the supplier provide for your keying data within their facility?
  • How transferable is the system and are there any associated costs?
  • What are the costs for commissioning and on-going maintenance?

PSR also require that government departments key registers should include the following details:

  • key number
  • name, position, and location of person holding the key
  • date and time issued
  • date and time returned or reported lost.

The PSR site is well worth reading if your organisation needs a very high level of security.

However you choose to proceed, the benefits are well worth it.

Next week we will look at installation and maintenance issues. Talk again soon!