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What is the #1 thing I can do to secure my business?

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What is the #1 thing I can do to secure my business?

When the term security comes to mind, many business owners think of cameras, electronic locks and alarms. All of which provide excellent layers of security and server their purpose. When it comes to security there are a LOT of options to consider but one of the simplest and most cost effective FIRST steps to securing you facility is...




 What is key control? Key Control is simply a system of tracking who has keys and what areas their keys allow them to access.


 A large facility may have a complex system of Masterkeys, Sectional Keys Systems, Cloud Based Key Managers and multiple tiers of control, but for most small businesses you really just need 3 basic parts to your Key Control system. The information below can be copied and pasted into your own system and personalized to meet your needs.


 1. Key Control Policy and Procedures

2. Key Forms

3. Key Transaction Record





In practice key control follows a few steps:


 1. Create, issue and enforce a Key Control Policy. The sample below is an excellent simple version from Assa-Abloy that can be tailored to fit your needs:


Key Control Policy



The purpose of this Key Control Policy is to help protect the life, property, and security of this facility and all its occupants.


This facility shall use a key control system and administrative policies that facilitate the adoption and enforcement of this Key Control Policy.


The introduction of a key control policy is essential for the security of this facility and the protection of personnel, property, and equipment.


Facility shall appoint a Key Control Authority with power and authority to: develop all policies and procedures related to the facility’s key management system; and, appoint or become the Key Control Manager to execute and enforce key control policies and procedures.


The Locksmith Shop (internal or contracted service), unless otherwise directed, is responsible for making keys, installing and maintaining locks and cylinders.


No person shall knowingly alter, duplicate, copy, or make a facsimile of any key to a lock of a building or property thereof without receiving permission from a person duly authorized.


Key Control

The Key Control Authority will determine appropriate policy and method for the issuing and collecting of all keys.


 All keys shall be stored in a secured locked cabinet.


 The Key Control Authority shall utilize an effective key control management program and assign the appropriate individual(s) to maintain its use.


 To facilitate effective key control, the Key Control Authority may impose a nominal key deposit.



Policy and Procedures


Issuing of Keys

All keys remain the property of                           (Insert name of facility).


 All keys shall be properly authorized by signature before issuing, and shall only be issued by a designated individual.


 The process for which keys shall be issued will be based on defined policies and procedure as set forth by the Key Control Authority.


 Keys should be issued only to individuals who have a legitimate need for the key. The number of master keys issued should be limited.

Returning Keys

All keys shall be returned to the issuing department by the keyholder of record.


 All lost keys shall be reported immediately to the Key Control Authority.  It shall be the facility’s policy that when keys are lost or stolen, to recombinate immediately any cylinders accessed by the lost keys.


 All found keys shall be returned to the Key Control Authority.

Employee Responsibilities

Employees shall only use their keys to access their assigned work areas and should lock doors when leaving any secured area. Employees must also ensure that keys are safeguarded and properly used.


 The unauthorized possession, use or reproduction of a key may constitute theft or misappropriation. Any employee who violates this policy may be subject to disciplinary action.





2. Create and Maintain a list of keys and locks. This may be as simple as written list with door numbers and key numbers or as sophisticated as a cloud based key management system. A good place to start is by using a spreadsheet program, with a list of keys on the left and locks, doors or areas across the top.


 Sample Key Access Record:






3. Keep a written record every time a key is issue, the form below can be helpful in documenting each key issued. This should be filled each time a key is:






  Click this LINK to Download a Key Request Form Sample that you can use.






 By following these Key Control Procedures, you have added a great deal of security to your facility, with little to no out of pocket expense. This is a great first step, however even with a well managed key control system in place, there is still a risk of unauthorized duplicate keys being cut.


 To mitigate this risk, Pop-A-Lock can provide a number of different Restricted Key Systems to meet your needs ranging from basic to very sophisticated, whatever will best fit your needs.


 What does a typical restricted key and lock system cost? Most door can be equipped with Restricted Key Locks for less than $100 per door, often less depending on the brand and type of existing hardware already on the door.


 Pop-A-Lock can provide a Turn-Key (pardon the pun) solution to your facilities lock and key needs from Masterkey System design to fully implemented key control and restricted key systems. We are just a click or phone call away.


 Glossary of Terms and Definitions: Key Control and Master Key Systems


 For a complete listing of all terms relating to cylinders, keys and master keying references refer to ALOA’s sponsored publication The Professional Glossary of Terms Relating To Cylinders, Keys, and Master Keying.


 Any definitions herein that were adopted from ALOA’s publication are indicated by an asterisk.



  1.     The number(s) which represent(s) the dimensions of the key cut(s).
  2.     The actual cut(s) or combination of a key.

Blind Code Number*

A designation, unrelated to the bitting, assigned to a particular key combination for future reference when additional keys or cylinder may be needed.

Change Key

Change Key (CK) – sometimes referred to as “Day Key.” The lowest level key in a key system.


See key

Controlled Cross Keying *

A condition in which two or more different keys of the same level under the same higher level key(s) operate one cylinder by design, i.e. XAA1 operated by AA2 code symbol.

Cross Keying

The deliberate process of combinating a cylinder (usually in a master key system) to two different keys which would not normally be expected to operate it together.

Pinning a cylinder in a key system to additional keys other than those identified to operate the cylinder based on the cylinder’s Standard Key Code key symbol.

Control Key

A key to remove and/or install an interchangeable or removable core.

Grand Master (GM)

The TMK in a 3 level Master Key system, or a Grand Master (GM) key in a higher level Master Key system.

Great Grand Master (GGM)

The TMK in a 4 level Master Key system, or a Great Grand Master (GGM) key in higher level Master Key system.

Great Great Grand Master (GGGM)

The TMK in a 5 level Master Key system or a Great Grand Master (GGM) key in a higher level Master system.



A token, credential, or device used to grant or deny access. For this manual the word “key” shall refer to electronic and mechanical devices.

Key Control*

Any method or procedure which limits unauthorized acquisition of a key and/or controls distribution of authorized keys. A systematic organization of keys and key records.

Key Control Authority (KCA)

The individual or group having responsibility and jurisdiction for creating, enforcing, and administering all key control policies and procedures.

Key Symbol*

A designation used for a key combination in the standard key coding system, e.g., A, AA, AA1, etc.

Keyed Alike (KA)*

Of or pertaining to two or more locks or cylinders which have or are to have the same combination. They may or may not be part of a keying system.

Keyway (Kwy)

A pattern of milling (warding) groove configurations of that appear on each side of the key blank that may be for a single keyway or a family of key sections that are part of a multiplex

keyway family.

Key Section

A single grooved pattern that is milled onto each side of a key blank  and is one of a series of groove patterns belonging to the same factory keyway family.

Master – Key Sections

A grove pattern representing different individual key sections that are milled into each side of a single key blank. These milling patterns are part of a pre-defined group of groove patterns all belonging to the same factory keyway family.

Master Key (MK)

The TMK in a level 2 Master Key system, or Master Key (MK) in a higher level Master Key system.

Multiple Keyholder

An individual authorized to be issued multiples of any single key for purposes of bulk key issue.

Multiplex Key Blank

A key blank whose side milling or wardings are part of a manufacturer’s particular series of key sections.

Multiplex Master Key System

A master key system that takes advantage of a manufacturer’s sectional keyway family to create very large master key systems.

NMK - Not Master Keyed

Used as a suffix to a key set that indicates the cylinder built to this key symbol is only to be operated by the change key and no master level keys are to operate the in the cylinder.   This term maybe interpreted differently by various manufacturers.  NMK may mean that only the Master Key is not to operate in the cylinder. You may also see NGMK meaning only the GM key is not to operate in the cylinder, or NGGMK meaning that only the GGMK key is not to operate in

the cylinder.

Sequence Lock

A lock designed to retain one or more keys captive until another key is inserted, turned and  trapped. The second key is retained until the first key is returned and turned to the captive position.

Shift Keys

Keys or key rings issued to individuals only for the duration of their work period, to be returned at the end of his/her work shift.

TMK * - Top Master Key

The highest level master key in a particular key system.

Uncontrolled Cross Keying*

A condition in which two or more different keys under different higher level key(s) operate one cylinder by design, i.e. XAA1 Operated by AB1

VKC - Visual Key Control System

The stamping of cylinders and/or key bows in a master key system with the “Standard Key Coding System”  identification symbol.



The Underwriters Laboratory Test Standard for High Security Cylinders.