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Service Update: COVID-19

In this time of uncertainty, you can rely on us to keep your property secure. Our specialists are ready to provide assistance, and HandyTrac Online will continue to allow you to track your keys virtually anytime, anywhere. In addition to following all official government guidance, we are also:

– Restricting company travel to essential business activities

– Reducing face-to-face meetings in favor of virtual meetings

– Enabling telecommuting when possible

– Encouraging our employees to exercise caution and take all appropriate health and safety measures

– Enhancing cleaning procedures in our facilities

For questions or technical support, give us a call at 800-665-9994 or email us at service@handytrac.com. Rest assured that your keys are safe with us.

For the latest updates on the coronavirus, visit the CDC’s COVID-19 resource center.

Five Frequently Overlooked Security Measures

security measuresSecurity is one aspect of property management that often leaves something to be desired. Many organizations think they have their bases covered, yet there are a variety of factors that are often overlooked, and these factors can have lasting impacts if exploited.

With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of five frequently overlooked security measures. Here we will examine the risks and offer some advice on how to address said measures.

1. Physical security

The use of traditional lock systems can be a great way to secure your units, buildings, and equipment; but what happens if the key goes missing?

To prevent physical keys from falling into the wrong hands, the use of an electronic key control system like HandyTrac is highly recommended. In addition to safe storage, electronic key control systems offer a variety of features designed to prevent key loss and theft including real time reporting, multi-factor authentication, key anonymization, randomized rotation, and audit trail maintenance.

2. Handling and disposal of paper records

Documents containing sensitive information are often disposed of improperly or left lying around in the office. Although these documents and bits of information may seem insignificant to some, they have the potential to hurt the company if discovered by a skilled criminal.

To ensure that all sensitive documentation is properly handled and disposed of, consider implementing a company-wide policy. Doing so helps to provide a standard for employees and promotes a culture of accountability. A great place to start is a company-wide shredding policy.

3. Network security

Much like your buildings, your network has various access points that must be protected. Effective network security targets a variety of threats and prevents them from accessing sensitive information. To determine the state of your network, consider conducting a network audit. An audit can help to uncover vulnerabilities within your network and improve overall security.

4. Breach Planning

Data breaches can hurt your brand, customer confidence and reputation, so it’s important to establish a breach response plan ahead of time to minimize the damage. To be effective, a data breach response plan should include the following:

– A definition of a breach
– A list of response team members
– The action steps for handling the breach
– A follow-up procedure

Once your plan is in place, educate your employees and test it often to ensure its effectiveness. A little bit of preparation can go a long way!

5. Security education for employees

People have quickly become the largest security vulnerability in any organization. Employees are frequently targeted  by hackers through various phishing attempts, and with over 90% of cybersecurity issues originating from human error within an organization, an investment in security education is worthwhile. Not sure where to begin? Here are some training best practices to get you started.

Using Computerized Key Control to Prevent Mail Theft

mail-theftTasked with the handling and delivery of nearly 188 million pieces of mail each day, postal workers have become prime targets for criminals seeking bank statements, social security numbers and other personal information. Mail theft and subsequently identity theft are increasing at an alarming rate, and property managers can never be too careful.

Recently, a disturbing video was taken inside a Chicago apartment community showing an unnerving trend: thieves with a key. In the video, two men are seen using their own key to not only gain access to numerous apartment buildings, but also the mailbox units inside.

“That feels like such a violation,” said Kathleen, a Chicago resident. “It could lead to identity theft. It could lead to checks being stolen. So I think it’s really disturbing that someone has the key to get into my mailbox.”

This, unfortunately, isn’t just a one-off either. Key thieves have struck multiple parts of the city in recent months with no signs of slowing. Authorities also report an increase in the number of postal carriers “confronted with force” to hand over their key on their routes.

In addition to posing a direct threat to postal employees, mail theft results in stolen personal information which can wreak havoc on the lives of those affected. And if a key is stolen, the solution isn’t as simple as making a new key. That process, referred to as ‘re-keying,’ requires considerable time and money.

Using Computerized Key Control to Prevent Mail Theft

Using a computerized key control system, property managers and postal employees can instantly reveal who checked out a specific key using a secure audit trail. Additionally, users can implement multi-factor authentication procedures, requiring users to offer information such as a pin code (something you know), access cards (something you have) or biometric fingerprint readers (something you are) before gaining access to the system.

Taking property security one step further, computerized key control systems from HandyTrac anonymize property keys and utilize a state of the art bar-coded system. This system prevents users from memorizing where specific keys are hung using random rotation: an automated process that hangs keys in random locations in the box.

With two secure key management systems to choose from, HandyTrac is an affordable and sensible solution for any community or facility.

For more information about our computerized key control systems, contact us today.


References:

Para, Marissa. 2019. Postal Workers Worried About Safety As Mail Thefts Are On The Rise. CBS News Chicago. Retrieved from https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2019/12/31/postal-workers-worried-about-safety-as-mail-thefts-are-on-the-rise/

Case in Point: Smart Key Management Matters

When property management companies operate without a smart key management system in place, they invite unnecessary liability onto the property; putting residents, staff and the company at risk.

Last October, authorities in St. Francis, Wisconsin responded to a multifamily community main office break-in that resulted in the disappearance of 11 separate unit keys. Two residents later reported items missing from their apartments but their doors had been locked.

smart key managementWithout a smart key management system, lost or stolen keys are untraceable. As a result, no suspects or clues were identified in this case, leaving the property management company with eleven compromised locks needing replacement, premises security liability, potential damage compensation charges, and a community full of concerned residents.

With a smart key management system by HandyTrac, property managers can rest easy knowing that community keys are in good hands. Keys are housed within a 18-gauge steel cabinet, anonymized to prevent quick identification and secured using multi-factor authentication procedures. Additionally, our systems offer real-time reporting capabilities, allowing property managers to keep tabs on community keys from any internet-enabled device.

Since the management oversees keys to all units, protecting and monitoring the use of those keys is one of the most important parts of keeping residents safe — and also one of the aspects most likely to be targeted for negligence. Not only do the keys need to be kept secure, but their use needs to be tracked. You need an audit trail — you need to be able to document and trace who had use of the keys, when they obtained them and when they were returned.

To learn more about our smart key management systems, contact us today.

A Look Ahead to 2020

Although 2019 was a fantastic year, we expect 2020 to be even better! Jam packed with exciting events and releases, here’s a look ahead to 2020:

trade showsTrade shows and events

With an exciting line-up of trade shows and events, we plan to attend more trade shows and visit more locations in 2020 than ever before.

NMHC Annual Meeting – 1/21 – 1/23/20

Apartment Association of Greater Dallas Trade Show – 3/24/20

EdCon 2020 – 4/15/20

Apartment Association of Greater Orlando Trade Show – 4/21/20

Utah Apartment Association Trade Show – 4/21/20

TX Next Trade Show – 4/22 – 4/24/20

Oklahoma State Apartment Association Trade Show – 4/23/20

Atlanta Apartment Association Trade Show – 5/13/20

Houston Apartment Association Trade Show – 5/14/20

Austin Apartment Association Trade Show – 5/28/20

Apartmentalize – 6/17 – 6/19/20

Spectrum Trade Show – 9/17/20

Indiana Apartment Association Trade Show – 9/22/20

Florida Apartment Association Annual Conference & Trade Show – 9/30 – 10/2/20

OPTECH 2020 – 11/16 – 11/18/20

Updates and releases

We can’t say too much yet, but we have some exciting new releases and updates to share in the new year. In the meantime, take a look at our newly released Standard Touch key control system. The Standard Touch brings streamlined touch integration and improved security to our most popular and most affordable system.

Stay tuned for more!

Holiday security tips to share with your multifamily residents

The most wonderful time of the year for many — including criminals — is upon us. Ensure that your multifamily community and its residents are prepared for the holiday season by sharing these holiday security tips in your next community newsletter.

holiday security tipsSecure the perimeter

Make sure all of your doors and windows are locked prior to leaving your home. Most break-ins are done without force. Simply making sure all of your entry ways are locked can be a big deterrent.

Review community guest policies

With the influx of foot traffic during the holiday season, it’s important to remind residents that they are responsible for the conduct and safety of their guests. It’s also important to share rules for guests and overnight visitors, holiday parking changes, or any other restricted activities. Some important things to clarify:

– Are guests able to stay overnight?

– How long are guests allowed to stay before it becomes a violation of the lease agreement?

– Where are guests allowed to park?

– Do guests need permits to park on-site or nearby?

A few gentle reminders can go a long way towards preventing unnecessary security risks.


If you are leaving town…

Put a hold on mail

Put your mail delivery on hold until you return. Putting a hold on your mail and the newspaper will keep them from piling up and letting people know you are not home.

Install timers

Put certain lights within your home on timers. This will give the appearance that your home is occupied, reducing the likelihood of a break-in.

Wait to share

Refrain from posting about your trip on social media until you return home. While it is exciting to let all of your friends and followers know where you are going, this also means that onlookers can see that you will be leaving your home unattended.

With these simple holiday security tips in mind, HandyTrac would like to wish everyone a safe and relaxing holiday season!


Resources:

The Moran Group. 2018. 10 Holiday Tips for Property Managers and Tenants. Retrieved from femoran.com

How to implement an electronic key system

Implementing an electronic key system can be rewarding for many reasons, the most apparent being an improvement in community security; but how exactly does one accomplish this task?

Step 1: Review your community/facility needs

electronic key systemPrior to selecting and implementing an electronic key system, it’s important to review your community or facility’s needs. Start by asking yourself the following questions:

“How many residents does my community have?”

“Which electronic key control features are most important for my community?”

“Do I require bilingual options?”

“Does my community use Yardi software?”

If you have trouble answering any of these questions, that’s okay! We’re here to help. Contact us at your convenience to speak with a sales representative in your area. They will be happy to answer any questions you may have and layout all the options suitable for your property.

With these questions answered, it’s time to begin the system selection process.

Step 2: Select a system

Between the Standard and Premium Touch, there’s a system for any sized application or budget. A few of HandyTrac’s notable electronic key system features include:

– Stunning touch screen displays

– Instant reporting

Multi-factor authentication

For a full list of electronic key system features, view our products online or contact us to speak with a representative.

Step 3: Installation

Using the tutorials and resources provided by HandyTrac, installation is a breeze. Simply visit the Resources page to get started. And, as always, if you run into any trouble, give us a call!

Step 4: Training your staff

Once you’ve installed your system, it’s time to gather the troops and begin training. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Emphasize the importance of key control. Present and future staff should understand that key control is a top priority for your community. Emphasize that a key system ensures their protection as well as yours.

Keep the process consistent. Once you have the system in place, make as few changes to the process as possible, with possible exception of completely revamping it for security reasons. Every time you change the procedure, you’ll have to retrain your employees.

Make the process as simple and straightforward as possible. This may seem a little paradoxical considering that a secure system requires multiple steps, but if those steps make sense to your employees, they will memorize the process quickly, and it will become second nature through repetition.

And vualá! Your electronic key system has been implemented, providing valuable security and peace of mind for community managers and residents alike.

For more information about HandyTrac, contact us today.

Using Multi-factor Authentication to Improve Key Security

Multi-factor authentication can be a property management company’s best defense against key loss and premises liability. How, you ask? Let’s cover the basics:

multi-factor authenticationWhat is Multi-factor Authentication?

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) has become the standard in recent years for securing internet of things (IoT) devices and systems. Utilizing protocols such as a pin code entry (something you know), access cards (something you have) or biometric fingerprint readers (something you are), MFA protects highly sensitive information and equipment from falling into the wrong hands.

How does MFA improve security?

The primary benefit of MFA is that it provides layered security to otherwise vulnerable data and systems. The more authentication layers/factors in place, the safer your assets are from perpetrators.

MFA meets electronic key control

Implementing layered security features including MFA, randomized key rotation and more, our electronic key control systems offer the highest level of security, reporting and flexibility.

With our Standard Touch model, users are required to complete a two-step authentication process using a unique access card and pin code prior to gaining access. Taking it a step further, our Premium Touch system implements MFA through the addition of a biometric fingerprint reader.

To learn more about our system features and pricing, contact us today!

HandyTrac introduces new version of its most popular touch integrated key control system

touch key controlFeaturing a 7-inch touch screen display, badge and pin access, instant reporting, and bilingual options for English and Spanish speakers.

HandyTrac today introduced the new Standard Touch key control system, bringing streamlined touch integration and improved security to its most popular and most affordable system. Available in single and double cabinet options, the Standard Touch features a stunning 7-inch touch display and intuitive capabilities including one touch building pull integration and work order review, automated audit trail maintenance, and instant reporting. The Standard Touch key control system also has bilingual options, catering to both English and Spanish speakers.

“The new Standard Touch key control system packs even more value into our touch product line,” said Larry Kratz, President of HandyTrac. “Beyond secure key storage, the Standard Touch introduces powerful new ways to multi-task, track absent keys, and view more information at a glance on the touch display. This new key system with touch integration takes everything people loved about our Classic system and makes it even better for accessing, monitoring and controlling keys.”

Designed to be convenient and durable, the Standard Touch system cabinet is made of 18 gauge steel with black powder coat finish, and is wall mounted for ease of use and space conservation.

Features:

– Large 7″ touchscreen
– Badge and PIN access for authorized staff
– Built-in Wi-Fi connection
– Bilingual options for English and Spanish speakers
– One touch building pull integration when pulling multiple keys
– Single login to review reports for multiple properties
– Audit Trail – Reports are backed up to Amazon Web Services
– Customizable activity codes
– Instant reports; keys out, who has key and why, when returned
– Ability to review individual work orders with one touch

About HandyTrac

HandyTrac revolutionized computerized key control with the introduction of the Classic key control system in 1995. Today, HandyTrac protects over 5 million units nationwide and is the leading key management and control system in the multi-housing and commercial property industry. HandyTrac principals have over 30 years of experience in real estate property management and over 25 years of experience developing software systems for multi-unit residential properties.

For more information, contact us today.

HandyTrac Fall Trade Show Information

fall trade showWith fall nearly upon us, we’re looking forward to another fantastic season of trade shows! Visit our booth at one of the shows below for a HandyTrac system demo, and see firsthand how HandyTrac helps community staff manage keys and prevent premises liability. We hope to see you there!

AAKC Trade Show
9/25/19
Overland Park Convention Center, Overland Park, KS
Booth #71

The AAKC Trade Show features over 100 Supplier Partners with a variety of products and services for the KC multifamily industry. Reservations are free to all multifamily personnel. For more information, visit the event website.


Florida Apartment Association Conference and Trade Show
10/2 – 10/4/19
Hilton Bonnet Creek, Orlando, FL
Booth #216

The FAA Annual Conference & Trade Show is the premier state conference for the apartment industry. More than 900 multifamily housing industry professionals interested in sales, marketing, recruitment and retention, maintenance, career development, leadership, customer service, technology, and more, will be inspired by the nationally renowned keynote speakers and the breakout sessions. For more information, visit the event website.


IAA Midwest Multifamily Conference
10/9 – 10/10/19
Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis, IN
Booth #618

The Midwest Multifamily Conference is the largest industry conference dedicated exclusively to helping Midwestern apartment professionals reach new levels of professional success. Connect with multifamily specific vendors servicing the entire state of Indiana as well as surrounding states on the trade show floor. Over 200 companies will be represented and ready to show you and your team the latest and greatest products and services that will make your life easier. For more information, visit the event website.


2019 NMHC OPTECH Conference & Exposition
11/11 – 11/13/19
Hilton Anatole, Dallas, TX
Booth #151

The NMHC OPTECH Conference & Expo offers an unparalleled educational and networking environment with exclusive peer-to-peer roundtables, property and revenue management workshops, and cutting edge content and speakers. For more information, visit the event website.