Critical infrastructure operator – your mechanical keys are a click away from better, digital control

With today’s focus on digital and electronic access control, it’s easy to forget that the value of keys is the same as the property behind the doors. Keys should therefore also be treated as valuables – no lock is completely secure if the holders, number and location of the keys aren’t known.

In many critical infrastructure organisations, managing mechanical keys still means Excel spreadsheets, Post-it notes and folders. Keys and their lack of control are often noticed only when they get lost, don’t fit in the right doors or are in the wrong person’s hands – in the wrong place, at the wrong time. With today’s focus on digital and electronic access control, it’s easy to forget that the value of keys is the same as the property behind the doors. Keys should therefore also be treated as valuables – no lock is completely secure if the holders, number and location of the keys aren’t known. Although the world is digitalising, properly designed and controlled mechanical systems also play a big role in securing critical infrastructure.

Many commercially available mechanical key management systems require a lot. Setting up keys in the system and maintaining the data require a lot of manual work, for which companies have as few resources as they have for keeping up with keys and their users. At the same time, companies are aware that they’re lagging behind, but the threshold for moving to a completely digital system can be high. However, the lack of a proper key management system can cost a company a lot of money and unnecessary working hours in maintenance, stolen property, liability lawsuits and higher insurance costs.

The three building blocks of proper key management

What if we told you that you could improve your control and operational value by digitalising your mechanical system at the click of a button? Once the three essential building blocks of key management are in place, a smooth transition to digital convenience, control and security is easy. A patented master key system design, key distribution process and the right key management software are the core of strong key management, in which the investment pays for itself with operating efficiency, higher security and improved trust between all parties. It helps address the major challenges of critical infrastructure key and resource management:

  • A large number of geographically dispersed sites
  • Keeping up with which key is for which site and avoiding unnecessary travel
  • Many different user types and individual access rights
  • Preventing duplication of keys
  • Durability of keys in challenging conditions and heavy daily use
  • Tracking which keys have been issued or assigned 
  • Who has the authority to request keys
  • How the handing out and in of keys is organised and controlled

More of an opportunity than a burden

It’s likely that many critical infrastructure operators will continue to use conventional key and locking systems, thanks to the solid, cost-effective foundation they offer. It’s therefore reasonable to increase such systems’ security level. An up-to-date key management system is the perfect solution. With modern systems like CIPE Manager by ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions, key management is more an opportunity than a burden, and it can be improved without expensive system investments and heavy installation work. A gradual transition and digitalising a company’s familiar existing system lowers the threshold in terms of both cost and time to update key management to the next level.

 

To learn everything about how all three areas of comprehensive key control policy could help your legacy system achieve its full potential, read more in our whitepaper, the elements of today’s key control and management for critical infrastructure.