Colleges, universities, and other educational institutions need a robust physical key management program to track and control people using keys. Real Time Networks has worked with many colleges and universities over the years, and we’ve collected a great deal of valuable information from them. This article details some of the most important things you’ll want to do when designing a reliable key management program for your institution.
Understand the Safety and Security Challenges You Face
All too often, an educational institute won’t take action on its key security until after a problem occurs. If they’re lucky, all that will have gone wrong is that someone lost a key, not a person getting hurt. But if that key was a submaster or master, then rekeying costs can still be substantial.
The College of William and Mary found this out the hard way. Several years ago, the master key for nearly all residential buildings went missing. There was no evidence that anyone stole this master key, but if a bad actor found it, they would have unrestricted access to almost every dorm and residential house on the campus. It cost the college over $500,000 to rekey every affected door and install an electronic key tracking system to ensure this security breach wouldn’t happen again.
An unexpected expense of that magnitude will considerably impact an educational institute’s budget and insurance rates. That is why they need to be proactive and think about their physical key security before a high-risk security incident occurs.
Best Practices for Designing a Higher Education Key Management Plan
Here are some essential tasks every college or university should undertake to improve their key security. This isn’t an exhaustive list. Instead, these are important steps we often see educational institutions overlook. Following these steps will help ensure you deploy your updated key management program as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.
Be Prepared to Adapt
This might be the most important best practice of all, and it doesn’t just apply to key management. Education is constantly evolving. You need technology and management systems adaptable enough to see you through the long term, no matter what larger organizational changes are over the horizon.
Smart key management systems can help improve your institution’s operations. While deploying a key management system requires careful planning, it shouldn’t take over your entire budget cycle.
Want to find out if a smart key management system is right for your school?
About the Author
Vice President of Marketing
Jay oversees marketing and strategic partnerships at Real Time Networks and has over three decades of experience in leadership roles in the financial services and technology industries.