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What is a Protected Key System? Why You Need A Protected Key System

You've probably heard this line from television commercials or read it on some advertisement: "That's not the person we expected to be doing that thing." It's most often used in comedic situations, but it also applies to real life. Sometimes, we're surprised by someone who turns out not to be who we thought they were.

In this case, the person you least expect might be the same one who has access to your facility keys. That's because not all people with keys are supposed to have them. Maybe a contractor got hold of a key and made a copy for himself after he was finished working in your building—without you knowing about it.

Maybe an employee had an extra key made during work hours so they could come into the office after hours (for much less innocent purposes). Or maybe an employee quit unexpectedly and didn't return their keys before leaving forever.

It doesn't matter how they got the key; if you don't know they have one, you can't keep them from having unauthorized access.

The rules change when restricted keys are involved—you will always know who has them and where they're going because each authorized individual is required to sign for their own set of restricted keys.

When security is the primary focus, a common question that is asked is ‘how do I keep people from copying my keys’ or ‘how can I know who has a copy of my keys?’ A common misconception is that if you stamp ‘do not duplicate’ or have keys printed with do not duplicate on them that it will protect against an authorized duplication or prevent from people getting a hold of your keys without your knowledge.

What Does ‘Do Not Duplicate’ Mean On A Key? In the locksmith business, we are asked to stamp this phrase on countless keys for homes and businesses and it always brings up the question: Why do people request this?

This is a tactic known to many as a visual deterrent. In other words, it is something that gives the appearance of security to ward off potential wrongdoers. The most common example of this is a scarecrow on a field of crops, which derives its name from the fact that it is a visual deterrent in order to scare the crows from eating or damaging the crops.

Unfortunately, in the case of securing our businesses with locks and keys, the perpetrators are not birds, and it takes a bit more than a few words to scare them away. As it turns out, stamping Do Not Duplicate on a key means nothing unless it is a protected key system.

A protected key system means that not just any hardware store can make a copy of your key.

Our keys are coded and restricted to only the locations you authorize, so if someone comes into a locksmith shop with a key, they won’t be able to make a copy unless they have authorization from you. You can control who even has access to request a key.

Properly implemented, a protected key system can prevent unauthorized access to secure areas, sensitive areas and critical areas. Your business may have different levels of restricted access depending on the type of area. When it comes to your secure assets, a key should not be so easily accessible that someone could lose it or give it away without repercussion

A protected key system is important because it gives you greater control over who can obtain copies of your keys and in what quantities. When dealing with expensive properties or sensitive information, it’s critical that you know precisely who has access to your building at all times.

What Is A Protected Key System?

Protected Key Systems means that they are Restricted, meaning they are only licensed to specific dealers. Loc Doc Security is a dealer of Medeco products which includes protected key systems.

If we generate a Medeco key, the only way to get additional copies is by requesting it through us. No other locksmith company has access to our records, our keys or our systems.

When we get a key request, they are checked and validated through the proper authorization contact on the account before any additional copies are made.

Here are 3 reasons a Protected Key System can benefit your business.

1) Security of Key Blanks: The first benefit of a Protected Key System is that your keys are patented and restricted. This means that your key provider is the only vendor with access to your key blanks.

These are made specifically for your locks and no one else’s, and no other locksmiths can get the information or blanks to your locks. There are some locks that are so common that it is incredibly easy to get a key blank to fit it, as well as make a key that will work it. Not so with a Protected System, to even get a key blank you must go through the vendor.

2) Duplication Control: The second benefit of a Protected Key System is Duplication Control. This is an important point for many reasons; with a standard blank, anyone can walk into a Lowe’s or Home Depot, place the key into a machine, and Voila! a copy of the key to your commercial facility (Yes, even if it says Do Not Duplicate!) is produced.

However, with a Protected Key System like Medeco M3, we would only cut keys for you or any one you personally authorize to request keys.

3) Audit Trail: Another benefit of controlling your keys is keeping track of key requests and how many keys have been copied. In your business you may have several people within your organization who needs certain keys.

Because we are the only vendor who has access to your key blank, we can also keep track of who requested which key, and how many keys are currently in circulation.

When a key is lost or unaccounted for, you can come to us and quickly get an audit trail of who is responsible for the loss or which keys are missing.

Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Lowe’s all have self serve kiosk that allow anyone in possession of any non-restricted key (meaning open market key blanks) to walk up, put the key in the machine and duplicate them without any validation.

There are also a number of smart phone apps, including KeyMe which allow anyone in possession of any non-restricted key to take 2 pictures (Front and Back) of the key and request a copy to be mailed to them without the key even leaving the property. This can be a great resource and an incredible tool to use, but it also opens up the possibility for unauthorized duplication.

With a Protected key system in place, you will have a patented key system that is protected by law from unauthorized duplication. Ask yourself, What is your home or business worth to you? When you look at your key system, does it reflect that worth? Not sure where to start or if you have a protected key system? Contact us today!

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