BLOG

Blog

How to Train Your Property Staff in Key Control Best Practices

In any multifamily dwelling or complex, your greatest potential security vulnerability is not necessarily your lighting, your security cameras, your parking lots or your property entrances. It’s actually something much smaller, something you can hold in your hand. Your greatest security risk is the mismanagement or misuse of property keys. This is why training your property staff in key control best practices is a critical part of keeping your property and your tenants safe.

Why Are Your Keys a Security Risk?

Key Control Best PracticesThe bigger your property, the more units you have and the more staff you have, the more keys you must keep track of. Every key made increases the potential risk. Why? Simple: A key implies permission to enter. Keys leave no evidence of a break-in. Someone who obtains a key without permission can enter a unit, violate or steal at will and without warning, putting your tenants at risk and making you potentially liable for harm or damage.

The good news is that guarding, managing and controlling your keys by a set of key control best practices will greatly reduce this risk. It takes a few extra steps and a bit of training, but in the long run the entire property will operate a lot more safely.

Tips for Training Your Employees in Key Control

Once you’ve established your priorities and practices for key control, how do you train your employees in the process? Here are a few tips to help out.

Emphasize the importance of key control.

Everyone on your staff today, and everyone you hire in the future, should understand that key control is a top priority for your property. Emphasize that these best practices are for 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.

What Are Some Key Control Best Practices?

Let’s look at a few common-sense ways you can streamline key control for your property:

1. Generate as few keys per unit as possible.

Remember, every key made increases potential risk, so the fewer keys you have in circulation, the better. Beyond the set of keys presented to your tenants, we recommend creating the fewest number of keys per unit required for you to operate efficiently.

2. Store and secure all keys in a central access location.

Having a centralized system helps you track keys more accurately and store them more securely. It also helps employees know at all times where to get keys, and makes you better able to watch keys go in and out. If your complex is too large to have a single access point for keys, you might want to set up several access points throughout the facility in a way that makes sense. However many access points you create, make sure you have a system in place that effectively tracks all activity at each point

3. Create a multi-step access system.

Obtaining a key should never be as simple as opening a locked box and pulling out a set of keys. A secure system should always involve a number of steps in sequence—for example, an employee may have to scan his badge, input a PIN code and identify an apartment number and reason code before the box will open. Establishing this set of steps may feel cumbersome at first, but once your employees are trained, it quickly becomes second nature.

4. Set up an audit trail.

Every time a key is checked out and checked in, you should have a record of it. You should be able to tell who checked out which key, at what time, and for what purpose. This detailed documentation makes it easy to show compliance with existing protocols as well as identifying and correcting discrepancies. It also keeps your employees accountable.

5. Implement a computerized system that easily integrates the above steps.

At HandyTrac, we’ve designed a key control system that helps you catalog your keys and store them in a central, secure access point, accessible through a secure set of steps. The system automatically tracks and documents each in-and-out transaction and generates a set of easy-to-read reports on demand. Once you’ve trained your property staff to use the system, key control becomes far less stressful and far more secure.

HandyTrac is committed to helping multifamily properties maintain a safe environment for tenants and employees alike.

For more information on key control best practices and the solutions we’ve devised to help you, call us today at 1-800-665-9994 or email sales@handytrac.com.

3 Secure Options for Streamlining Multifamily Key Management

multifamily key managementWhen it comes to security, HandyTrac stands out with effective key control technologies that protect tenants and property owners alike.

Key control represents a reinforced shield that can be incorporated into an existing building security plan. Yes, by all means, keep that dusty, dog-eared key ledger and the single-employee key checkout oversight system — which makes only one person responsible for each key. But while you are making that ledger entry, and wondering what happened to page 5, don’t forget that a truly secure and effective key access demands that unit keys be easy to get to, secure in their location, and consistently trackable.

What is key control management?

Key management is a system that ensures the security and availability of physical keys enhanced by options that free up time, facilitate reporting, and ensure that duplicate keys are not mismanaged. Thanks to the electronic age, key control and management systems can bolster existing security measures and key access protocols.

HandyTrac’s three pivotal key control systems include the Classic, Biometric, and Touch models.

These systems can also reduce the costs inherent in a strictly physical, paper-based key inventory and checkout system. One of these costs is lost keys. Another is the associated and inherent security breach, as managers either rekey the lock, ask the tenant for their key for duplication, or replace the entire lockset.

HandyTrac’s key control and management systems are designed so that authorized users can access keys within an architecture of advanced technology that systematically records each and every incursion.

In many instances, instituting a more effective and durable program in the business world means deleting any bulky, archaic holdovers. Not so with HandyTrac, which can incorporate and help streamline existing manual key controls with overall physical security strategy.

Even down to the Classic model, a number of options can be added to tailor the package.

● For integrated solutions, where a single building is the target, management software can help streamline key checkout, lost keys, move-in move-outs, and ongoing maintenance projects (i.e., painting and replacing appliances).

● For more than one property, or location (whether across the parking lot, across the state, or across the nation), with management software on board, permission levels can be set for each individual, from president and CEO to building manager, and from there to front office personnel and maintenance staff.

● Data can be accessed from any electronic device connected to the distributed network. This remote capability also allows users to pinpoint who last had a certain key. Management and front office staff can also run and print activity reports, or sort databases based on different guidelines.

Property managers looking to improve their property management tactics could do no better than to contact HandyTrac via e-mail at sales@handytrac.com.

Why is a Key Control System Vital for Efficient Property Management?

property managementAny professional property management company is obligated to ensure the privacy and safety of their tenants. With HandyTrac’s state-of-the-art key control systems, the anonymity of tenants is guaranteed thanks to three levels of electronic security — electronic key or biometric interface, a passcode, and a random identity key.

How does it work?

The anonymity of a HandyTrac cabinet is maintained through a cycle of using and replacing a specific key — insuring that no one is able to readily identify the location of any apartment, number, or the name and status of the occupant.

Electronic key control systems also provide for those employees who persistently lose their employee badges, and enables community staff to ask for key tags for an entire building in a single step. Additionally, the biometric interface does not require additional desktop or wall space, which can be a deal breaker in today’s “smaller is better” building paradigm.

HandyTrac offers key control programs for multifamily, student, and military housing. The system also provides for the patented HandyTrac Online, which automatically backs up vital data offsite in a class A, military grade security environment. This hardened system provides activity and security reports, a continuous warranty, and a toll-free tech support phone number.

Key control systems keep companies safe, too

The HandyTrac key control system guards against lawsuits based on premises liability law. This law underlies the legal principle that argues for a landlord’s responsibility to a tenant when said tenant is harmed as a result of the landlord’s failure to maintain a specific threshold of security.

When company security and human safety are on the line, HandyTrac is the answer. Contact us today to learn more about which of our key control systems is right for your property.

7 Reasons to Choose a Biometric Key Control System

biometric key control system7 Reasons to Choose a Biometric Key Control System

Security is estimated to be a multi-billion dollar market in the next six years alone, and nothing is more important. Passwords alone are no longer sufficient to maintain security and keep sensitive data out of the hands of hackers or other unauthorized individuals.

Biometrics, or the use of bodily features to access secure systems, is the next-generation solution to securing information and locations. One step up from passwords, and two steps up from traditional keyed locks, biometrics provide a practical, convenient, layered security solution that is no match for even the most dedicated hacker.

For property managers looking to protect their tenants with the most advanced security measures, HandyTrac is the number one choice for biometric key control systems. As a member of the National Apartment Association, HandyTrac provides biometric key control systems to apartment buildings, condos, and similar housing facilities all across the United States.

HandyTrac’s patented system provides a myriad of benefits for incorporating biometrics into the key systems operating in most apartments and condos.

1. Easy to use and saves space

HandyTrac’s system is easy to use and doesn’t require more space than is already taken up by the existing key board or cabinet.

2. Easily integrates with employee badges

The system will accommodate bar coded employee badges to achieve another level of security to the one in place.

3. Instant reporting

The HandyTrac system delivers instant reports that the head of maintenance, or another qualified individual, can use to see which keys are out. He or she can also see the reason the key has been pulled, or other activity. This feature also makes it possible to review all the work orders in a certain set (i.e. for a given repair person, for a specific tenant, or during a specified interval).

4. Effortless maintenance and dependable support

The system allows maintenance and office support to access reports which are saved offsite, in the cloud. This helps maintain an electronic “trail” vis à vis the documented history of repair, for example. This paper trail could be of enormous benefit to property managers attempting to authenticate a repair history if called into court.

5. You can review key data across multiple properties

HandyTrac’s hierarchical information system also allows manager review across multiple properties with a single log-in.

6. WiFi compatible

HandyTrac also features a built-in Wi-Fi connection; visible coding that prevents typing errors; android’s One Touch Building Pull on board for simplified multiple-key pulling; available in single or double cabinet models; continuous warranty; technical support via toll-free 800 numbers.

7. Affordable

Pricing that reflects HandyTrac’s focus on efficiency, usability, and cost control.

As the internet drives the need for greater security, but it is people who need protecting, and HandyTrac system – devised by property management professionals with 30-plus years of experience – has the best system to accomplish that.

Contact HandyTrac today to learn how a biometric key control system can strengthen the security of your property.

Finding a Computerized Key Control System for Every Budget

HandyTrac, the leader in key control solutions for multifamily, student and military housing has been developing and innovating key control systems for more than two decades.

Unlike physical (paper and ledger) key control systems — which can be lost, damaged, subverted or stolen — HandyTrac’s cloud-based systems are both maximally secured and immediately accessible to more than one individual at a time. This security is delivered through automated management which allows key access only by authorized users with preset PIN codes, access cards, or biometrics, depending on the model. Keys taken out of the cabinet are instantly reported and reports are available in a number of formats which may be accessed online, printed, or delivered to a PC.


class-circleThe HandyTrac Classic

Accessed using a badge or pin, the HandyTrac Classic is the exemplar among computerized key control systems. Connected to the Internet, this HandyTrac model delivers dependable, fully automated backup of activity at an eminently affordable price.

The Classic model is easy to use — making employee training a breeze. Eminently secure thanks to its 18-gauge steel key cabinet, the HandyTrac Classic operates using coded keys that are arbitrarily rotated when returned, making them completely untrackable.

Data is stored in the cloud, and further secured thanks to a hierarchical system which delivers reports for more than one location with a single login. Long-term records are archived to make the system more streamlined, and the Classic is available in single and double-cabinet options.


biometric key controlThe HandyTrac Biometric

The HandyTrac Biometric delivers all the features of the Classic, but adds biometric fingerprint identification to restrict access to the key cabinet to authorized employees.

This biometric feature uses an optical fingerprint sensor integral to the system. The HandyTrac Biometric version with Ethernet goes one step further, by providing a built-in server test with pass/failed diagnostic capability. In addition, the Biometric model’s fingerprint identity system is fully integrated, which makes data and key retrieval fast and flawless.


secure key controlThe HandyTrac Touch

HandyTrac’s Touch model delivers the gold standard in flexibility, reporting, and security. A simple touch provides instant reports, whether the user is looking to check the reason for a particular key withdrawal, or merely the last time the key for a particular unit/room was withdrawn.

Offering the largest display in a single unit, the Touch allows users to monitor keys out in relation to work orders. It also provides visual screen codes which eliminate much of the typing mistakes of older systems, while also facilitating work order flow.

In terms of sophistication, the HandyTrac Touch integrates Android’s One Touch Building Pull, which lists units for each building to make pulling multiple keys even easier, and all without an extra inch of desk or wall space.

The Touch also offers an integral Wi-Fi connection, which, along with dedicated hardware and software, makes accessing all the HandyTrac cabinets in your system even easier. Most important, the Touch offers the key-control paradigm in terms of security, reporting, and flexibility in a system that permits review of individual work orders with a single touch.


Key control systems you and your tenants can trust

HandyTrac’s key management system can be interfaced with an overall building security system, providing layers of safety and defensibility for multifamily, student and military housing.

Contact us today to learn more about our three HandyTrac models.

Why Property Managers Choose HandyTrac for Secure Key Control

secure key controlHandyTrac Systems, a key control firm serving multifamily, military, and student housing, has long been the favorite of property managers and building owners.

As a testimony to that popularity, HandyTrac Systems is now servicing customers across the USA, and its presence in all fifty states is a testament to its valuable yet affordable key control system. In addition, HandyTrac’s patented key management system is unique in that it backs up all of its client’s data with an audit trail.

Founded by apartment industry veterans who saw the value in a system that organizes and keeps track of building unit or apartment keys, HandyTrac provides clients with an audit trail which can be used to determine frequency of repairs, pest control activities, move-in move-out dates for billing, and lockouts.

The most important facet of any key control system is its ability to prevent residence keys from getting into the wrong hands. The resulting judgments against multifamily management companies which did not have key control and audit facilities are extensive. As one law firm points out, too many New Yorkers have been killed or seriously injured in robberies, shootings, stabbings, and beatings that could have been avoided if the apartment building had adequate key control security. In addition, these premises liability lawsuits can cost millions.

Over the past 20 years, HandyTrac has managed keys for more than 3 million apartment homes coast to coast through a cloud-based tracking system that affords owners and managers the ability to instantly access key reporting via a single login through a computer or smartphone.

A member of the National Apartment Association, the National Multifamily Housing Council, the Chicagoland Apartment Association, and the Bay Area Apartment Association, HandyTrac has won praise from many companies:

“The price fits perfectly in our budget and the systems have all the essential features and functions of much more expensive systems.” — Milestone Management

“We have made a big transition into keeping our specialty keys more secure and we couldn’t have done it effectively without a product like HandyTrac.” — University of Connecticut

“The system is backed by a service plan that makes it an unbeatable value.” — Altman Management Company

“The HandyTrac system has been very reliable and we’ve received outstanding product support and great response time from their representatives.” — Western National Property Management

HandyTrac is an integrated system providing all the software and hardware that building management and owners need to operate securely. In addition, 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.

Contact HandyTrac today to learn how an industry-backed key control system can strengthen the security of your property.

How Secure is Biometric Identity Verification?

biometric key controlEvery human being has certain, highly unique physical traits. These include fingerprints, voiceprints, the iris of the eye, or even ears or the palms of the hands.

Biometric identification uses these unique aspects to verify the identity of individuals who have access to sensitive information or security devices like cell phones, computers, or house and apartment keys.

The technology isn’t new. Biometric identity verification is already being used to unlock shared computers like those found in control centers in nuclear power plants, airports, and hardened military facilities. These systems provide a huge opportunity to prevent crime and ensure public safety, and they’re considered one of the most effective security measures you can implement.

HandyTrac Systems, the leader in the biometric key control market, provides seamless, end-to-end security for multifamily, student, and military housing.

“HandyTrac pioneered the biometric verification system, and as the industry leader, continues to stand out among the competition by offering a budget friendly system without sacrificing quality and security,” according to Larry Kratz, Executive Vice President, HandyTrac Systems.

HandyTrac’s patented online key management system is the first and only key control solution that ensures all of a client’s data is reinforced with an audit trail. In addition, the Keys Out system instantly reports keys out and who last requested said key. Most importantly, keys are coded and randomized to different locations within the cabinet, which guarantees that if a key is lost it can’t be matched or duplicated.

HandyTrac now has installations in all 50 states, a growth landmark that is proof positive that HandyTrac is a winner with property managers across the nation.

Contact HandyTrac today to learn how a biometric key control system can strengthen the security of your property.


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, visit www.handytrac.com or call 800-665-9994.

HandyTrac Promotes William Grove to Assistant Office Manager

will-photo-circleATLANTA – HandyTrac Systems, a key control company for multifamily housing, announced the promotion of William Grove to Assistant Office Manager. His primary responsibilities will be to manage office networks and inventory, and facilitate trade shows in Dallas and the West Coast.

“William has been a key part of our growth and success in Texas and the southwest, and we are thrilled to see him fill this important position,” said Steve Alvarez, Partner at HandyTrac Systems.

Grove joined the company in April of 2015 as an IT Installation Specialist to hone his talents in information technology and customer service. Since that day, Grove has worked relentlessly to establish long lasting relationships in the multifamily industry, and provide unmatched service to over 800 companies utilizing HandyTrac.

Grove boasts over 11 years of experience in information technology and customer service; including 4 years with Compucom Services, the #1 support company in Dallas. Grove also studied Cisco systems at North Lake College.

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, visit www.handytrac.com or call 800-665-9994.

HandyTrac Systems Now Managing Keys in All 50 States

montana-aptAtlanta – HandyTrac Systems announces that HandyTrac now boasts a presence in all 50 US states due to its latest sale in Montana. The growth milestone emphasizes HandyTrac’s popularity with property managers and the multifamily community, alike.

“We are so pleased that HandyTrac can now service customers in every state, from Maine to Hawaii,” said Steve Alvarez, HandyTrac Systems, Partner. “It’s a huge achievement – and proof that property owners/managers see tremendous value in key management and security.”

Founded by apartment industry veterans, HandyTrac has utilized its industry experience and insight to build a loyal base of customers who demand a high tech, yet affordable, method of managing and safe-guarding their keys.

“HandyTrac Systems pioneered the biometric verification system, and as the industry leader, continues to stand out among the competition by offering a budget friendly system without sacrificing quality and security,” said Larry Kratz, HandyTrac Systems, Executive Vice President.

The HandyTrac Key Control System provides apartment industry key control, as well as student housing and military housing with a secure, low cost, key control and key tracking system. Their patented online key management system is the first and only key control solution that ensures all of clients’ data are backed up with an audit trail.

With over 3 million keys secured, you can trust HandyTrac for your key control needs. For more information, visit www.handytrac.com or call 800-665-9994.

HandyTrac Touch – The Key Features

ht-touch-angled-product-shot-cropIntegrating secure and reliable biometric technology with an easy-to-use touch screen, the HandyTrac Touch streamlines the key control process for both staff and managers alike. With the HandyTrac Touch, key control will never feel the same.

Key features include:

– Biometric technology and a large display in one unit to offer the highest level of security,
reporting, and flexibility.

– Instant reports showing keys out, reasons, and other transactions completed by staff.

– Ability to review individual work orders with one touch.

– Visual codes that eliminate typing errors, while streamlining the entire process.

– Integration of Android’s One Touch Building Pull.

         – Lists units for each building, allowing for quick and easy access when pulling multiple keys.

– Easy to use and doesn’t require additional desktop or wall space.

– Ability to use bar code employee badges if desired.

– Built-in WiFi connection available.

For more information about the HandyTrac Touch, click here.

For a quote, click here or call us at


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 3,000,000 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.