Electronic key cards are commonplace in office buildings, medical facilities, and college campuses. Building managers love them because it’s so simple, fast, and cost-effective to add, change, and remove key cards from an access control system.
But anyone who manages a secure entrance with key cards knows how easy the cards are to lose. Employees, tenants, and students come and go, taking their cards with them. Some cards get lost and others stolen. Here are the TAMS experts’ tips on how to keep track of your key cards to reduce loss and improve security.
Create—and use—a key card request system
One of the most effective things you can do to keep track of your key cards is also one of the most affordable. All it takes is a little investment of your time. Create a system for how employees, tenants, or students will request new key cards, replace lost ones, and return their cards when they no longer require access to your building.
Your system could be as simple as an Excel spreadsheet. Once you have your system laid out, update your employee handbook, lease agreement, or student manual so everyone understands it. Will you simply have employees email you, or do you want to automate the process with an online key card request form? What information will you need from tenants to authorize a new key card? Will you charge students for lost key cards?
Establish expiration dates for your key cards
Lost and stolen key cards are inevitable. You always try to deauthorize a lost or stolen card as soon as possible, but a few will fall through the cracks. Automatically setting expiration dates for your cards can help you keep your building secure. We recommend setting an expiration date two to three years from the day you create a card. At that point, employees and tenants can request new cards or extend their authorization another few years.
Require ID to pick up your key cards
Resist the urge to send key cards by internal mail or even the USPS. When creating a new or replacement card, always ask the user to come pick it up in person. Ask to see an ID to verify their identity. It’s also a good idea to require outgoing employees, tenants, and students to drop off their key cards in person to ensure they are returned and deactivated as soon as possible.
Electronic key cards are great tools for office buildings, hospitals, and even college campuses. But keeping track of them can be tricky. For help installing and maintaining your key card system, contact TAMS today.