Master key systems: 10 steps for getting them right

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Cross section of master key in lock

Hardware and security firm Davcor has released a guide to locking in better master key systems for now and the future.

There are many considerations to make when implementing a master key system, some simple, some more complex. Davcor’s ‘10 best practices when implementing a master key system‘ goes through a few, and features commentary from locksmiths around Australia on each.

Recommended considerations:

  1. Patent life. This protects against unauthorised reproduction of keys. Choose a system with a long patent and a tight dealer network.
  2. Environment/application. Almost all systems are fine for office interior settings, but exposed sites like ports, beaches, roadsides or utilities, for example, require special consideration for choosing the right products.
  3. Key control. How will you implement a key register to keep track of who has keys, or if they’re lost or damaged and need replacement?
  4. Are the keys robust? Master keys get a workout and must be strong, waterproof and bend proof to ensure longevity of the system.
  5. Locksmith. Choosing the right locksmith, one who’s a member of a professional locksmith association, will provide peace of mind.
  6. Difficult to copy. 3D printing technology has changed the key reproduction landscape. Having a key that’s difficult to read means one that cannot be easily reproduced by recording its cuts or 3D printer reproduced using a photo.
  7. Scalability and expansion. If you currently manage 1000 locks, for example, what happens when you add another 1000 locks to the system? Davcor recommends you should have a minimum of 100 percent expansion capability.
  8. Security. Your system should be resistant to bumping, picking and other attacks.
  9. Master keying matrix. This is how your system is designed or what keys fit which doors. Keep it simple and consider grouping key holders.
  10. Dealer network control. Ensure the system you choose is distributed through a tightly regulated dealer network.

The guide goes into extra detail about each consideration, and features quotes from Australian locksmiths that help put each into context. Download your copy here »


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