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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 – 1/13/20

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.

HandyTrac User Tip: Accessing Your System in a No-Power Situation

No matter the location, your community or facility is guaranteed to experience a power outage at some point. For that reason, it’s important to be prepared ahead of time by ensuring that you have control of your keys, regardless of the situation. Learn how to access your electronic key system in any no-power situation using these simple steps:

electronic key systemWhat do I do if my system won’t function? (no power or buttons are nonoperational)

1. The first step for any issue is to turn the system off for 60 seconds and then turn back on. Flip the red rocker switch on the bottom or right side of the black box the keypad is mounted on. If you are having trouble locating this switch, unplug the power cord from the outlet. If your system still has no power after this, skip to step 4.

2. Test system by pushing the Blue Enter button or the F5 key on the Touch system after the
system has completed booting and is displaying time and date. If your system is still not operable, skip to step 4.

3. See if you can access the system using your badge and pin or fingerprint on biometric-enabled systems. If you are now able to use the system, we recommend powering off the system and following the next steps to prevent further issues until the emergency is over.

4. Log in and print your key map from handytrac.com.

5. Use one of the keys provided with the system to open the cabinet door, pull and return keys manually based on the key map.

6. In the event you don’t have a cabinet key, you will need to drill out the lock and either order a replacement or swap it out with a compatible mailbox lock.

What do I do if an event is on the horizon (wild fires, hurricane, or flooding)?

1. Log in to handytrac.com to print off your key map.

2. Turn off the system and UPS (uninterruptible power supply) battery backup. This will ensure that it has sufficient battery life to help pull keys and protect it from lighting strikes or power fluctuations during emergencies.

3. Use the cabinet key and the key map to open the cabinet and pull keys manually.

4. If you do not have cabinet key, you will need to drill out the lock and order a replacement lock from website

For accessing your system in any no-power situation, you will need the key for the lock on your cabinet. We suggest storing the key in a safe location where it can be accessed in an emergency and do not store it in the cabinet. Additionally, make sure to collect the keys from any manager that is leaving or may be unavailable for an extended period of time.

Should you have any further questions regarding your electronic key system, please contact our support team.

Useful Key Management Reports Generated by HandyTrac

key management reportsIn addition to providing a secure lockbox for community keys, HandyTrac offers numerous useful key management reports. This “paper trail” is critical, not just for protecting your residents and keeping your employees accountable, but also for protecting your company through proven due diligence. Here’s a look at some of the key management reports provided by a HandyTrac key control system:

Reports by Housing Unit

This report focuses on each individual unit in your complex, documenting how many times keys were checked out for that unit during the report period, as well as who checked them out, and for what purpose. If a specific resident has expressed concerns about entry into their unit, you’ll easily be able to identify any discrepancies.

Reports by Functional Activity

This report sorts all key management activity in your community according to reason code (e.g., preventative maintenance or a unit inspection). This feature helps you keep track of things like ongoing maintenance functions as well as providing documentation for compliance purposes.

Keys Out Report

Find out at any time which keys are checked out, by whom and for what reason. Pull this report anytime you want a snapshot of current activity on your property, or have a keys out report emailed to you daily. This way, you can easily track employee activity on the grounds to make sure everyone is where they should be — and be alerted if anyone is where they shouldn’t be.

Report by Employee

This report identifies each employee’s key in-and-out activity during the specified report period, useful for tracking with job performance as well as identifying any unusual activity.


As a result of customer feedback and our commitment to provide a seamless user experience for all property managers, the following reports have recently been made available:

Empty Hook Report

The Empty Hook Report allows users to quickly see a list of the hooks in the system that should not have keys on them. This is helpful during key audits or when you need to quickly check to see if keys are being pulled and returned to their correct locations. It is also a quick way to see if there are any keys missing from the system.

Key Tag Search Report

The Key Tag Search Report allows you to quickly search all of your transactions for a key tag number. If you have a key that will no longer scan in the system, you can search for that tag number and see if it ever was in the system, and if so, to what unit the key belonged and when it was edited out of the system.

Unit List Report

The Unit List Report gives you a list of all of the units in the system without sensitive information such as tag numbers and hook locations. We recommend having this report near the HandyTrac system as a quick reference of unit names to make pulling a key quicker and less error prone for employees that do not often use the system and may be unfamiliar with the naming scheme of the units in the system.

Custom email reports

Lastly, our email reports allow you to create a completely custom report to be emailed to you daily. If you want to keep a close eye on certain activity codes or certain units, you can now have this information automatically emailed to you without needing to log in to the HandyTrac site. Multiple custom reports can be created for a variety of criteria.

These key management reports can be accessed online from any authorized device, sent to any printer in your network and/or emailed to pertinent staff, making it easy to pull and access reports anytime you need them. To learn more about our systems and key management reports, contact us today!

The Importance of Mechanical Key Control

mechanical key controlThe most important facet of any mechanical key control system is its ability to prevent residence keys from falling into the wrong hands. The main issue presented by traditional key systems and hook boards is keys going missing without a trace. Missing keys are not only a source of stress, they put the community’s management company at risk.

In Texas, for example, a jury awarded $18-million to a multifamily resident after being assaulted and abducted by a man who had gained access to her apartment unit using a backup key. The assailant broke into the management office and found the correctly numbered backup keys hanging unsecured on a hook.

Founded by apartment industry veterans who saw the value in a system that organizes and keeps track of unit keys, HandyTrac offers three affordable mechanical key control systems to suit any community or facility. Using HandyTrac’s audit trail generated reports, managers are fully aware of community ongoings and can ensure a safe environment for residents and employees alike. Additionally, in the event a crime is committed, due diligence can be quickly proven using key management reports generated by HandyTrac.

In about the same amount of wall or desk space currently being used for keys, HandyTrac’s combined biotechnological display unit provides the highest possible level of security, flexibility, and reporting capability. To learn more about our unique mechanical key control systems, contact us today!