Security Tips & Trends
How To Dial Open Your Safe
7 Biggest Security Mistakes:
Waiting until the last minute, both time of day and until the lock has failed, to have service or repairs. Many calls have come in with a safe locked shut that had been troublesome for the last few weeks! This can be a very costly mistake!
AA Lock & Key's Recommendation: We cannot stress enough~DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LOCK HAS FAILED OR YOUR SAFE IS LOCKED SHUT TO CALL AA LOCK & KEY! It is so much easier, and, therefore, less expensive, to service or repair your lock earlier than later. Don't wait until 3 in the afternoon to call us! Call at the first signs of lock failure. Sometimes just a simple adjustment is needed. Sometimes we may recommend a replacement or a lock of better quality for your application. TRUST US! 25 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE IS YOUR FRIEND!
Assuming all locks are created equal~NOT AT ALL!
AA Lock & Key's Recommendation: You can certainly pick up a lock at a "big box store" that will seem to suit your needs, but many are made from inferior materials that will not withstand the usage required for its function. We know locks...period! It is our business and we have been doing it for 25 years!
Putting convenience above security~giving out too many or wrong keys, ie. masterkeys and having a "desk drawer" key filing system.
AA Lock & Key's Recommendation: So many times, too many keys are given out to employees. Sometimes the wrong key is distributed without knowledge. A masterkey in the wrong hands can have dire consequences and mistakenly allow the wrong people to have access to protected data. We can help you be sure that your keying records are kept in an orderly fashion. There are many types of key boxes and key filing sytems, including software programs, to help you keep track of your system. Call us to help you set this up for your application.
Trying to repair or fix locks without knowledge of the mechanics of the lock...many locks are literally brought to us in pieces in a bag from failed attempts at repair, which in turn costs the customer more money.
AA Lock & Key's Recommendation: Attempting to repair a broken or worn lock compromises the locks' ability to function correctly, resulting in potential security breaches and lost time. As soon as the lock shows any sign of dysfunction, give us a call. We may be able to provide an over-the-phone solution, or suggest next steps.
Purchasing locks at "big box stores"~price vs. product quality and improper usage.
AA Lock & Key's Recommendation: Sure, you can run to the local "big box store" and get a great price for a lock that does not meet your needs. The price looks good~but does it really meet what you need for security for your building? Will it be the right backset? Will it hold up to normal wear and tear? We have the knowledge base to advise you on your purchase and key it to your existing key as you wait!
Lack of key control, especially at buildings with several locks.
AA Lock & Key's Recommendation: A written record, known as a key chart, should be instituted and maintained by a designated individual within the company. This is something we can assist you in setting up. There are software options that can also be utilized. Call us for more information.
Not having a designated person or department responsible for security and key distribution.
AA Lock & Key's Recommendation: One person within a company or organization should be designated to handle the distribution of keys and keying information. Keys can be stamped with a numbering or lettering system. AA Lock & Key has the equipment to provide this service to you. It is important to remember: the more individuals involved in managing this task, the higher the risk is of your company's security being breached.
Another option to consider is a touch screen lock or pushbutton lock, either mechanical or electronic. The combinations to these can easily be changed by the end user, eliminating the distribution of keys.
Safes come in many different sizes and design but all basically fall into one of four main categories:
- Burglary Safes
- Fire Safes
- Burglary/Fire Safes
- Data Safes
Burglary Safe - is designed primarily to protect the contents against theft and will generally offer little or no protection against the damage of contents by fire or other risks.
Fire Safe - is basically designed to protect contents (primarily papers) against fire damage and typically offer only a minimal level of security. Fire safes are tested and rated in respect of their performance in the event of a fire.
Test criteria will include the length of time (normally specified as minutes - 30, 60, 90 or 120), in a fire of a specified temperature, that the safe can maintain an internal temperature of below 200 degrees C(395 degrees F), the point at which documents will be destroyed.
Burglary/Fire Safe - These are generally multi-purpose safes and offer good security against forced entry as well as protection from fire.
Data Safe - is similar to a fire safe but to be effective must,in the event of a fire, maintain a much lower internal temperature than a fire safe (less than 52 degrees C (125 degrees F)--the point at which data media is destroyed) and also protect against other hazards such as high humidity, electro magnetic contamination, etc. Test ratings are applied in a similar way to those for fire safes however for a data safe, much more demanding.
So if you are thinking about purchasing a safe for any reason, call us at 860-464-8664 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can provide you with the information to make an intelligent choice and acquire the safe that meets your needs, both at your office and at your home.
Keyless Entry Systems: Pushbutton Locks
The most basic type of "keyless entry" are pushbutton locks. These come in both residential and commercial grades and span a large price range. Commercial (ANSI Grade 1) locks are rated for much higher usage and longevity while residential grade locks are more suited to the level of usage expected of a household. Quality difference is reflected in pricing. There are mechanical and electronic versions of both grades. Most have a key override as a backup in case of failure.
All pushbutton locks offer users the following:
- Protection against "key bumping" (a common lock bypass method) and lock pick attacks.
- No fumbling for keys.
- Not getting accidentally locked out of the house.
- No lost keys, and having to change the locks when keys are lost.
- Allowing guests and service people access, without fear of them making unauthorized duplicate keys.
Mechanical locks do not require batteries but are usually limited to a single pass code or combination. These locks are usually on the lower end of the price spectrum.
Electronic locks require power (usually batteries) but offer much more security possibilities including multiple pass codes, audit trails, one time usage codes and time zones. Many electronic locks can be programmed by software on a computer and the information uploaded and downloaded by various methods including the newest wireless networks.
So, the next time you need to replace or repair a lock, consider the advantages of a keyless entry lock and call our office for advice as to the best product for your application.
If you often need keys for items outside your home, such as lawn equipment keys, spare car keys, etc., purchase a lock box with a push button combination and mount it on the exterior of an outbuilding, under cover. This way when you are working outside, you can access the spare keys and save a lot of steps. Dave and Deb personally have a couple of these lockboxes for car keys, etc., and are in and out of them all the time. Neither one of us has the right key on us for the right vehicle!
Also keep all ladders, building supplies and tools, and garbage cans locked up and out of view, so you don't provide an intruder with the means to break into your home or business.
A typical key organization system consists of key identification tags, as well as a key cabinet, typically lockable and mountable. ID tags come in various styles and designs. The user writes on the tags to identify the keys and there can be a "key log" that corresponds to a hook number.
Typical wall mounted key cabinets range in capacity from 8 to 500 keys and are usually secured with a key lock but keyless combination locks are becoming more popular. One of the most important tips is to have one person be responsible for maintaining the cabinet with a log in/out sheet when the keys are used by several employees. Contact AA Lock & Key to obtain a key organization system.
Many larger companies may have masterkey systems with a much more complicated trail of keys. There are several software packages available for keeping these types of records. Contact us if you are interested in learning more about such software packages as AA Lock & Key is well versed in a variety of options.
If your company has a masterkey system installed by AA Lock & Key, Inc., we keep detailed records of the company's keying information, locked in a fireproof safe in our office. It is important that labeling of keys be managed by one individual who is authorized to make changes to the system and to be sure and update us here as to the proper labeling of the keys. We often use a building map, either hand sketched or a typical blueprint to keep track of the keying locations.
Although we no longer offer automotive lock services, we can suggest an option if your vehicle door lock is frozen after a driving rain or sleet. Heat the key with a hair dryer, torch or similar heating device. Hold the key with pliers and apply heat. The key should insert easily after a few tries.
What is the Difference Between a Single and a Double Deadbolt?
A deadbolt on your home or business adds additional security to your door, by throwing a bolt into the frame of the door. A single deadbolt uses a key on the outside and has a turn knob on the inside. A double deadbolt uses a key on both the outside and the inside. A double deadbolt should be considered if there is glass around the door that could be broken to reach in and turn the inside of the lock. Some commercial applications cannot include double deadbolts, due to fire and safety codes. When making the final decision about selecting single vs double, it should be considered that in an emergency a key is placed nearby so those inside can get out safely. It also should be noted that leaving a key in a double deadbolt on the inside would be the same as having a single deadbolt. Call us at 860-464-8664 or email us for information on our full range of deadbolts.
What is a Knox Box and do I need one?
If you are a commercial business owner or a tenant, you can avoid a lot of unnecessary damage to your locks and doors should emergency services be needed to gain access after hours by installing a "Knox" box. Most Fire Departments offer some type of service like this. "Knox" is the most popular brand. A sturdy metal box is attached or built into the building in the area of the main entrance. You put the keys or access credentials that open as many doors as possible in this box. This box can only be opened by a High Security Key that is secured in the Fire Apparatus. Every time the key is accessed by fire personnel, an electronic log keeps an audit trail. Should an alarm go off in your building, emergency personnel can open the door with the key(s) you provide and don't need to break your doors or locks. This is especially handy should the alarm be false.
You should contact your local Fire Department to take advantage of this service if you don't already have it. When you do have it, it is important to keep it updated whenever you have a security change such as changing your locks.
Lost keys will give thieves easy entrance into your house
We found this great tip in The Day:
DEAR ABBY: About a month ago, my friend lost her keys in a major department store. Despite announcements in the store, the keys were never found. My friend wasn't worried because she had her wallet and personal information in her purse. Two weeks later, her home was robbed. There was no sign of forced entry. What we learned from the police is that the little tags we carry on our key chains from major pharmacy and supermarket chains carry our names on the receipts. All the person who found the keys had to do was purchase something, swipe the card, and the receipt came up with my friend's name printed on it! Unfortunately, her name is listed in the phone book, so the thief was able to find her house, use her house key, walk right in and take whatever he/she wanted. I no longer keep the tags on my key chain. I keep them in a separate place in my purse or in my pocket. I hope this keeps at least one person from being robbed. - Karen in Methuen, Mass.
DEAR KAREN: So do I, and thank you for the warning. For those who prefer not to carry those little tags at all, many are linked with the shopper's telephone number in the pharmacy's or supermarket's computer. If you mention it before the cashier starts ringing up your purchase, the sale can be rung up as part of the saver's program. Inquire at the stores where you shop regularly.
Document Security Tips
While some of our tips don't seem lock related, they certainly are security related and probably pertain to everybody. Photocopy all important documents (ie. driver's license, credit cards) that you may carry in your wallet or purse. (This is easily done on any copy machine.) Copy both sides, as they may contain important contact numbers. Do this periodically and keep the copies in a secure place, preferably a bolted down file cabinet or safe. This will make your life a little easier if you lose or someone steals your wallet.
Also, when traveling out of the country and a passport or visa is necessary, make a copy of the document and keep it with you in a safe place. Friends of ours had their back pack stolen in a restaurant while in Europe. Having copies of their passport made it much easier to secure new documents for the remainder of their travels.
Cold Weather Tips
Save yourself some hassles and "winterize" any lock cylinders that are exposed to the weather at your home or business. Take a few minutes and lubricate your locks with a moisture displacing spray lubricant containing silicone or Teflon. If possible, avoid petroleum based products like WD40, as they tend to build up and attract dust and dirt. While there are plenty of good quality lubricants on the market, we at AA Lock & Key recommend GT85 which we just happen to sell at our office. Stop in and pick up a can!