BLOG

The Importance of Key Security in Multifamily Housing

key securityFound in nearly every municipality across the country, multifamily communities offer housing to millions of people from all walks of life. While every community is unique, each shares a need for effective key security.

The ability to track key activity is critical for maintaining a high level of security and reducing the chance of premises security liability. Designed as a replacement for manual tracking and storage of keys, electronic key control systems are virtually tamper-proof, monitor the access and return of keys through various online reporting features, and offer biometric integration options for improved security. With HandyTrac’s electronic key security systems, property managers can see who pulled a key, for what purpose, when it was pulled, for how long, and when it was returned from any interned-enabled device.

Key Security Options for Every Multifamily Housing Community

For over 20 years HandyTrac has been the low-cost leader in multifamily, student and military housing key security; managing keys for more than 3,000,000 apartment homes throughout the country. Our cloud based systems offer instant access to archived reports and provide the ability to manage community keys with a single login through a computer or smart phone.

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

5 Essential Characteristics of a Secure Key Management System

key management systemA secure key management system is organized and formal, and addresses both access and control of a multifamily community’s keys. When deciding which key management system best suits your needs, keep these 5 essential characteristics in mind:

Secure

A truly secure key management system should do more than just restrict key access. With a secure key management system like HandyTrac, key transactions are instantly noted and reported in numerous insightful formats for review. For added protection, secure key management systems implement multi-step verification procedures, allowing key access only to authorized users with preset PIN codes, access cards, and biometrics, depending on the model.

Scalable

If your needs grow, your key management system should have the ability to accommodate more keys. At HandyTrac we offer both single and double cabinet options for all our key management systems.

Convenient

A secure key management system should be easy to use and accommodating. HandyTrac key management systems are capable of storing a variety of keys, and offer user-friendly features including: biometric fingerprint verification, touch screen display and lighted cabinets. Additionally, through the use of HandyTrac Online, property managers can review key activity reports from any internet-enabled device.

Reliable

No matter how secure the key management system is designed to be, it’s not actually secure if it breaks down, or if you don’t receive proper training and support in using it. HandyTrac provides customers with an ironclad warranty, as well as ongoing training and support.

Intuitive

Well designed key management systems make key control easy for all users. With three secure key management systems to choose from, HandyTrac systems offer a variety of features that streamline key management and provide maximum security.

To learn more about our systems, contact us today.

Press Release: HandyTrac Announces Participation in National Multifamily Housing Council’s OPTECH Conference and Trade Show

OPTECHHandyTrac Systems, a leading electronic key control company for multifamily, military and student housing, is pleased to announce its participation in the National Multifamily Housing Council’s OPTECH Trade Show. This three-day event will be held November 14th-16th at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Florida.

“Our annual attendance at the National Multifamily Housing Council’s Conference and Trade Show underscores our dedication to helping multifamily property owners and managers promote resident safety and prevent premises liability,” said John Lie-Nielsen, Founder and CEO of HandyTrac.

Throughout the show, HandyTrac’s knowledgeable team of professionals will be offering comprehensive key control system demos at booth #428. Additionally, HandyTrac will be showcasing their latest electronic key control system, the Touch. The Touch combines biometric technology and a large touch screen display to offer the highest level of security, reporting, and flexibility.

About NMHC OPTECH 2018:
NMHC OPTECH 2018 brings together the multifamily industry’s top solution providers and over 150 insightful speakers together in one place. To learn more about this can’t miss event, click here.

About HandyTrac:
For over 20 years HandyTrac has been the low-cost leader in multifamily and military housing key control; managing keys for more than 3 million apartment homes throughout the country. HandyTrac’s cloud based systems offer instant access to archived reporting and provide the ability to manage communities with a single login through a computer or smartphone. For more information, visit booth #428 at the NMHC OPTECH Trade Show, or contact us today.

Is Poor Community Security Scaring Off Your Residents?

community securityOffering modern amenities and updated units can be a great way to attract new residents; however, without an effective community security policy in place, resident retention can become a costly issue.

Here are 5 ways to boost resident retention through the improvement of community security:

Restrict Community Access

The easiest way for perpetrators to access your community is by simply walking in. To prevent this, install entry systems at your main entrances that require a compatible RFID keycard or security code to gain access. If your community has outdoor entrances to units, consider fencing the property and installing gated entry systems.

Protect Resident Information

Property managers are not only responsible for the safety of their residents and property, they are also responsible for their residents’ personal information. To prevent cybersecurity threats in your community, store all personal information (e.g. driver’s license and social security numbers, bank information) on secured, encrypted servers.

If physical copies are necessary, be sure to store all sensitive information safely under lock and key.

Implement Community-wide CCTV Monitoring

A vital security tool often overlooked by property managers is closed-circuit television monitoring, also known as CCTV. When implemented correctly, a CCTV monitoring system maintains a full video record of the goings-on in a community. Remember, the fewer “dead zones” – areas with no video coverage – the better.

Install Sufficient Lighting of Public Areas

Criminals are known to lurk in dark corners. Give them nowhere to hide by ensuring that your community’s public walkways and parking lots are well lit.

Improve Community Key Management

A community’s building and unit keys present the highest risk to resident safety if not properly monitored and controlled. If keys go missing and land in the wrong hands, your community could be held liable for the resulting damages.

With an electronic key control system from HandyTrac, property managers can improve key security through the implementation of multi-step verification, and view real-time reports to quickly identify unusual key activity. With three secure key control systems to choose from, HandyTrac is an affordable and sensible key management solution for any community or facility.

For more information about our systems, contact us today.

How Electronic Key Control Improves School Security

school securityWith K-12 and higher education institutions across the country still reeling in light of recent events, the need for improved school security policies and procedures has become apparent. Most schools and universities have implemented basic security measures to reduce the risk of crime — for example, installing security cameras or implementing ample lighting across the campus; however, proper key control is one aspect of school security that has been consistently overlooked.

As a school superintendent, administrator, or campus manager you may be considering an upgrade on your current school security policy. With this in mind, here’s how a state-of-the-art key control system can improve school security and help ensure student safety:

Accountability

When a staff member pulls a key from the cabinet, HandyTrac collects pertinent information on the transaction such as: which keys were withdrawn; the purpose for withdrawal; the time at which the cabinet was accessed; and the name of the system user. The resulting data can then be used to identify peculiar transactions and promote staff accountability.

Automated Reporting

HandyTrac’s electronic key control systems make it easy to generate and view real time reports anytime, anywhere. Accessible by any internet-enabled device, school administrators can quickly find out which keys have been check out, to whom, and for what purpose.

Access Restriction Capabilities

Have a location that is off-limits to students and/or certain faculty members? HandyTrac offers access restriction capabilities that prevent unauthorized personnel from pulling certain keys from the cabinet.

Random Key Rotation

A beneficial security feature included with all HandyTrac systems is an automated process called random key rotation. Not only does this feature mask key identification, it prevents people from memorizing the location of specific keys in the cabinet. Instead, the randomized key location is revealed when an authorized user successfully logs into the system.

Mitigated Liability

Monitoring and protecting the use of keys is one of the most important parts of keeping students safe, and also one of the aspects most likely to be targeted for negligence. To reduce legal liability, HandyTrac maintains an audit trail that documents and securely stores complete key activity reports.

Don’t wait for a campus security breach to implement an electronic key control system. Contact us today.

What Are RFID Key Cards and How Do They Work?

rfid key cardsIn an age when building and community security are more important than ever, many facilities are doing away with physical, mechanical keys in favor of electronically-read RFID key cards. These key cards are programmable, customizable and far more secure than mechanical keys, for a variety of reasons. Let’s explore this technology to see how it can make your apartment community, campus or facility more secure.

What Is RFID?

RFID stands for “Radio Frequency Identification,” and as with most modern technology today, it is associated with a chip. Specifically, objects equipped with RFID contain a small chip programmed with data, along with a tiny antenna that transmits that data via a weak signal to nearby receivers. As a more secure technology, RFID is rapidly replacing barcodes and magnetic strips that used to contain similar information to be read by scanners. We see it on our credit cards which are now trading the familiar magnetic strip for enhanced chip technology. We also use RFID in key cards which can be programmed to unlock doors when the card is placed near a receiver at the entry point. In the context of key control, the RFID card replaces the standard lock-and-key system for entry. You place the card on or near the reader, the reader identifies the signal as belonging to an authorized user, and the door unlocks.

How Are RFID Key Cards Safer?

RFID key cards offer many advantages over physical keys and even barcode technology — both of which can be easily copied. Here are just a few of the advantages replacing conventional lock-and-key systems with an RFID key card system:

● Difficult to copy or hack. A radio signal can’t be “copied,” and the signal itself can be encrypted so other devices can’t decipher the data.

● Customizable and programmable. An RFID key card can be programmed to open only specific doors (or only one) for a specific amount of time. (Hotels use keycards to authorize their guests only to access their hotel room and the fitness center, set to stop working the morning of checkout.) This system allows management to restrict employee access only to specific authorized areas of the facility for certain amounts of time.

● Anonymous. With no identifying marks on the key card, only the authorized user and the computer may know which door(s) the card will unlock.

● Easily deactivated. If a keycard is lost or stolen, the system can easily deauthorize its identification signal — or the card may simply be allowed expire.

● More cost-effective security. When physical keys are lost or compromised, the lock must be changed to restore security. When a key card is lost, it can be deauthorized, making it effectively disposable. No need to change the locks!

A Management Solution for All Key Types

While RFID keycards are generally more secure than physical keys, their implementation is meaningless without a secure electronic key control system. Acting as a reinforced shield for your keys, HandyTrac offers three secure key control solutions that are accommodating to keys of all types. In addition to keeping your keys secure, HandyTrac archives an audit trail, and streamlines reporting to provide property managers with a complete key management solution.

For more tips on effective key control or information about our systems, contact us today.

HandyTrac Fall Trade Show Information

With autumn 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 demo, and see how HandyTrac uniquely helps community staff manage keys and prevent premises liability. We hope to see you there!

fall trade showsClick a link below for trade show information:

FAA – Booth #303

IAA – Booth #408

NMHC OPTECH

 

 

 

 


For over 20 years HandyTrac has been the low-cost leader in multifamily and military housing key control; managing keys for more than 3 million apartment homes throughout the country. Our cloud based systems offer instant access to archived reporting and provide the ability to manage your communities with a single login through your computer or smartphone.

For more information, contact us today.

The Elements of a Strong Multifamily Key Control Policy

multifamily key control policyConcerned that your community has too much fluidity with its key control? Here are some ways to strengthen multifamily key control policy and restrict access:

Keep the keys secure

Keys should be kept in a strong, tamper-proof, locked cabinet that can only be unlocked through a series of protocols.

Implement multi-step access

Make sure your employees go through several steps before a key is issued to them. For example, the employee may need to scan a badge and input a PIN number before the box opens. Better yet, implement a biometric system that reads fingerprints.

Enforce accountability

Employees should input which key(s) they are taking, at what time, and for what purpose — and they should check keys back in by a similar process.

Enforce restricted access points

For enhanced security, certain employees should only access certain keys for certain parts of the building or community. They may only be allowed to check out specific physical keys, or their card keys may be coded for access to certain rooms.

Streamline your reporting

Management should be able to view reports at any given time that can show how many keys are out, who has them, which buildings/units have been accessed and at what time. This type of monitoring may be crucial to identifying potential violations because unusual activity can be identified easily.

Establish an audit trail

Reports should be backed up offsite to prevent any attempts to manipulate the data.

Train employees with a consistent protocol

Every employee should be properly trained in the procedure for obtaining and returning keys, and check-out/check-in occurs exactly the same way every time.


Advantages of a Strong Key Control Policy

Making improvements to your key control policy can do the following:

● Help you quickly identify and correct violations for heightened security

● Help you prevent an intrusion from happening in the first place

● Help you pinpoint suspicious activity in the unlikely event of a break-in

● Give you and your residents greater peace of mind

Keys provide virtually untraceable access, making them your greatest potential vulnerability. This means that your keys must be accompanied by the highest levels of security and oversight.

HandyTrac offers a variety of key control solutions designed to enhance your company’s key control policy, making it easy to monitor, track, and secure your keys. To learn more, contact us today.

Common Reasons for Missing Keys on a Multifamily Property

multifamily key controlA potential resident arrives at your community to tour a unit, but the unit key is missing without a trace. Where is the key? How quickly can you find the key? Who in the community might have the key? Has there been a security breach? How long is the customer willing to wait while you search?

This scenario happens daily at multifamily, student and military housing communities that attempt to operate without an electronic key management system. The key is either on-site, off-site, or stolen. In most cases, the key will be recovered within a few minutes; however, without an audit trail, the key could be missing forever.

Missing Key Reason #1: The key is on-site

Most of the time, the unit key is somewhere on-site with an authorized employee. He or she has left it in their pocket, bag, sticking out of a lock, or on a countertop in the unit. Meanwhile, the entire community is suddenly engaged in a search to find the key.

Unlike hook boards and standard key cabinets, electronic key control systems offer thorough key management reports allowing property managers to quickly identify who withdrew the key last.

Missing Key Reason #2: The key is off-site

If an employee accidentally takes a key home and your community uses a hook board, there is no way to track it down. With an electronic key control system, you can prevent keys from being accidentally taken by running a keys out report on your smartphone or computer near the end of each shift. With the report in hand, you can contact the employees who still have keys and remind them to return the keys before clocking out.

Missing Key Reason #3: The key has been stolen

If the key is still missing after your search, it is possible that it has been stolen. If community keys are easily accessible or often left out, the culprit could be just about anyone. Without an electronic key control system, you not only have to worry about resident safety, but also premises liability in the event of criminal activity as a result of poor key management.

An electronic key control system like HandyTrac holds users accountable for every key removed, and integrates multi-step verification to prevent keys from falling into the wrong hands.

At HandyTrac, we specialize in multifamily key control and offer three secure, easy-to-use electronic key management systems designed for properties large and small. Contact us today for more information.

How to Improve Multifamily Property Efficiency with Electronic Key Control

property efficiencyIf you haven’t already implemented an electronic key control system in your multifamily community, your property may be at risk. An electronic key control system ensures accountability, while improving security and limiting liability for property managers. Take a look at some of the features an electronic key control system offers to improve security and boost property efficiency:

Streamline the Key Access Procedure

The best way to track keys is to store them in one secure, centralized location where employees can check out and return them. Without this feature, keys can get misplaced or stolen simply because no one really knows where they’re supposed to be when not in use.

Track Keys in Real Time

In real time, the system records key whereabouts and access history. Additionally, a variety of reports are readily available to provide management with data regarding the status and location of every key.

Control Key Access

With HandyTrac, the access and return of keys is controlled by a multi-step verification procedure. If, for example, an employee is able to check out a key by simply swiping his/her badge, criminals can gain access by stealing or copying the badge. But if that employee must swipe the badge and type in a code — or better yet, use a fingerprint identification — the risk of theft goes down exponentially. HandyTrac also allows property managers to prevent employees from gaining access to certain units.

To learn more about how our secure key control systems improve property efficiency and security, contact us today!