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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!

Audit Trail: A Community’s Best Defense Against Key Loss and Liability

audit trailMultifamily communities come in all shapes and sizes; however, they all require an equally effective key control policy to ensure resident safety and reduce liability exposure. Here are three reasons why an audit trail can be a multifamily community’s best defense against key loss and liability.

#1 Who has the keys?

The main security 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. How, you ask? Consider that a potential resident has arrived and is waiting to view an apartment home. If the key hunt takes too long, you could lose the prospect for good. “I’ll come back later”, often never happens and losing potential residents hurts your occupancy rate. And what if an employee needs to inspect a unit or make a repair? Every minute spent searching for the key kills productivity and wastes money.

Employee resentment can also quickly build-up when keys go missing. Everyone dislikes the exhaustive search and unhappy, frustrated employees are more likely to seek employment elsewhere. As a result, the property management company then faces understaffing issues in addition to future hiring and training costs.

#2: Accountabiity

When there is no accountability, it is easy for individuals involved to shirk responsibility:

– Imagine that an employee is working with a potential resident when someone interrupts and asks where a set of keys are. The easiest thing to say is, “I don’t know” and go back to the task at hand. And in the event the employee shifts their attention to the key search, he or she might lose the prospect.

– That same key we spoke of earlier, might have been accidentally taken home. If the employee knows there’s no audit trail in place, they may be inclined to stay quiet and return it the next day when no one’s around. Otherwise, a trip back to work to return a key will take away free time.

– A vacant apartment home is left unlocked after a showing and is vandalized overnight. No one owns up. This costs money to repair.

– Keys are lost and truly missing. The property has to pay for a replacement, wasting money.

An electronic key management system like HandyTrac, property managers can instantly reveal who last checked out a specific key using a secure audit trail. The system can also run a report of the key’s checkout history. Instead of hassling everyone, only this single employee is contacted. Employees will immediately understand that they are responsible for all keys they check out. A key control system creates a culture of accountability. A key hook board doesn’t.

#3: Instant reporting

By running reports generated using a secure audit trail, managers can quickly see:

– At the end of a shift and close to closing time, which keys are still checked out? Go round up any that should be checked in!

– How many times has a specific apartment home been viewed? Who has checked out the keys, when and for what purpose?

– What is a specific employee doing? What keys have they recently taken out and why?

With HandyTrac’s audit trail generated reports, managers are fully aware of community ongoings and can ensure a safe environment for residents and employees alike.

HandyTrac offers three excellent electronic key management systems including the new Touch system; featuring a large touch screen display and biometric technology for added security. Ask us for a quote and build a culture of accountability at your community today!

Improve Property Security Using our eBook

multifamily securityMost property owners understand and implement basic multifamily security measures to reduce the risk of crime — for example, installing security cameras and gated entry systems, or implementing ample lighting across the premises. However, proper key control is one aspect of multifamily security that can be easily overlooked.

Since management oversees the keys to all units, protecting and monitoring the use of said 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. Obviously, not all crimes can be prevented, but one of the best ways you can improve safety for your residents is by implementing the property security best practices found in our eBook.

This invaluable resource offers easy-to-implement suggestions, practical tips and information on the latest in key control technology.

Make multifamily security your first priority by downloading your complimentary copy of our property security best practices today. Download your free copy here.

Key Control Best Practices for Student Housing

student housingIn a perfect world, a college or university campus should be a safe space. It’s a place for hungry and curious minds to learn and live peacefully. The reality, however, is when you have large groups of people moving about in a large number of buildings, each with hundreds of rooms, you’re left with thousands of potential vulnerability points — access points for criminals to steal or otherwise do harm. So, how do you properly manage student housing keys in a way that minimizes risk and helps keep students, and their belongings safe?

Restrict Access to Campus Keys

When you think of every door as an access point, you realize that your campus keys are either your best tool for security or your greatest point of risk. How you manage those keys determines which is which. Keys, whether mechanical or electronic, should always be secured and issued to staff only as needed. Installing a key control system can help this process. This way, only authorized staff can access lock boxes by use of their IDs (or even fingerprints), and keys can be checked out as needed and returned when the staff is finished. For electronic key systems, you can take this a step further by programming the system to allow staff access only to their authorized areas on campus.

Keep Tabs on your Keys

Every key that gets misplaced becomes a security liability, and with thousands of keys roaming around campus, they are remarkably easy to misplace. Key control systems not only can restrict access to authorized staff — they also create a documented audit trail so can track which keys are checked out to whom, and for how long. The system can also alert you of unusual patterns or behaviors. You’ll know immediately if a key goes missing, and you’ll know who had the key last.

Implement Robust Security Measures

On large campuses, even with strong vetting and background checks in place, sometimes bad guys slip through the cracks. Although you’ve restricted keys to authorized campus staff, how do you protect against violations from within the ranks? Answer: you create additional security features in your key tracking system, implement multi-step security protocols for people accessing keys, keep keys barcoded and placed in randomized positions within the box, and pull reports frequently so you can quickly detect suspicious activity.

If you’re serious about properly managing your campus keys, HandyTrac can provide a secure key control system perfect for your organization’s needs. To learn more, contact us today!

Join us at Apartmentalize 2019

apartmentalizeWe are pleased to announce our participation at Apartmentalize 2019, the largest multifamily conference and exhibition in the country. This three-day event is hosted by the National Apartment Association and will be held June 26-28 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.

Our knowledgeable team of professionals will be attending the show, including President, Larry Kratz; VP and Partner, Steve Alvarez; and National Sales Executives, Bill Pierce and Eric Overhage.

Throughout the show, we will be offering comprehensive key control system demos, as well as games and prizes at booth #439. Additionally, we will be showcasing our electronic key control system, the Premium Touch. The Premium Touch combines biometric technology and a large touch screen display to offer the highest level of security, reporting, and flexibility.

About Apartmentalize 2019:
Apartmentalize is a paramount multi-housing industry event, featuring inspiring speakers, targeted education sessions, and a diverse product showcase. For more information, visit the Apartmentalize 2019 website.

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. 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!