How to know if a Master Key System will Improve your security

A master key system in your facility or building will bring you convenience and security. In the master key system pt 1, we explored how this system is beneficial to your access control. For example, the master key system will bring you the hierarchical control over entry points to your building. In this post, we will go over the mechanical components of the master key and some insights on what to consider before you install a master key system.

The Components of the Master Key

The cylindrical lock for the master key is composed of these elements:

  • Pins: The skinny cylinders move up and down.
  • Key pins: They are located on the lower level of the lock and slightly raise when the ridges on a key touch them.
  • Driver Pins: Driver pins are located above the key pins and raise when the key pins push against them.
  • Shear Line: The straight line in the middle of the lock. When the pins line up, the shear line creates the space needed for the lock to turn.
  • Key notches: The serrated edge of the key has notches designed to match the pins inside the cylinders.

What makes the master key unique is the locks have a third pin called a master wafer. The master wafer unlocks with a pairing master key.

Check out this video of How Does a Pin Tumbler Lock Work by Jared Owen

Four Insights to get the most benefits from a Master Key System

Determine your Entry Points

Before implementing a master key system, we recommend identifying the gates, doors, or other access points that require a keyed lock. Further, the next step is to create a security hierarchy that corresponds with the access permissions for each area through out the organization.   

Access Permission Policy

An important part of the master key system is setting access permissions for employees and key holders. For instance, decide the possession of the kind of keys each individual will get, giving complete or limited access to employees. Use the company hierarchy and the various roles of employees and staff members.  A good tip is to use the employees based on daily work needs. Higher level permission can be granted for exceptions only. 

Key Tracking/Key Storage

There are many options for key tracking. There is key tracking software that allows you to map out all the keys in circulation and who is responsible for each key. The key tracking software will bring convenience to the passing of keys to new employees. There is also the option of having a written document of who is responsible for their keys and sharing a copy with your locksmith will provide a layer of insurance. 

A proper storage facility is important to store your extra keys. For example, a key storage cabinet provides a secure place for keeping keys and their duplicates.

Key Management Tips

Strict policies for key management needs to be enforced at all times. Firstly, employees must be required to return their keys if they leave the company. Secondly, stolen or lost keys must be recorded immediately. For duplication of keys, there can be permission given to authorized staff members only. To prevent the duplication of the master key, your locksmith can create a patented key that can’t be duplicated at stores.

Cons of the Master Key

  • Poorly designed master key systems may result in change keys that open the wrong locks or create security gaps. Make sure to provide all the necessary information that we covered to your locksmith to minimize mistakes.
  • Do your best to not lose a master key because that will result in a greater consequence. As a result of a lost master key, a locksmith will need to replace all cylinder locks and keys for your organization.
  • Master key copies can create a breach of security. Restricted master key systems have a registered design. As a result, only a specific locksmith can make copies of your keys. 
  • The more master keys you have in your organization, the cylindrical lock becomes easier to pick. Your locksmith can provide stronger locks and ways to minimize any lock picking.

In conclusion, this system is effective for facilities, large retail stores, and factories. The ability to control the entry points and affordability of this system are great benefits. There are cons to consider before you commit to the master key system, however, a skilled locksmith will minimize the consequences.

Have any Questions

At American Safe Inc, we provide an in depth consultation that will allow us:

    • Determine Security Required
    • Identity of decision making personnel
    • Overall scope of the proposed system
    • Anticipated future expansion
    • Levels of keying
    • Quantity of doors
    • Timetables and estimated costs

We also provide onsite field services to scout the facility or building. If you have any further questions, Email us