Key Management Systems

Access control isn’t just a matter of gatekeeping who can enter physical spaces. It’s a method of record keeping to keep track of who had access to what, and when, in a way that leaves no gray area for argument or interpretation. It establishes an environment that enforces honesty and accountability, which in turn alleviates the stress of uncertainty and human fallibility.

Key management systems are one element of access control models that integrates seamlessly with the other services provided by Ariel Secure Technologies. A good KMS helps manage access to keys – and anything else you need to keep an eye on.

Lost Keys Create Expensive Vulnerabilities

An intelligence agency reached out to us for assistance in creating a key management system to help with access control at one of their offices. Over time, despite their diligence with protocol, security risks had begun to open up. Physical keys were misplaced or not returned. Master keys were shared for convenience, and it wasn’t always clear who had access to what areas, or that only people with the correct clearance had keys to sensitive areas of the facility. None of these security threats arose from malice, but human fallibility exposed the facility and its inhabitants to risk all the same.

Our client was in the process of re-keying the facility to replace all of its locks, a costly and time-consuming undertaking for an organization of that size. Re-coring locks and minting and issuing new keys at this scale would account for millions of dollars, and the process would likely need to be repeated every four to five years as keys once again became lost, stolen, copied, or shared.

We were initially brought on board to implement a KMS as a short-term measure while this process was completed. But it quickly became clear that the long-term goal should be to stop issuing keys entirely and instead lend them out on an as-needed basis – minimizing the risk of keys being lost, eliminating the need to share access, and accounting for how and when access would be granted.

Person hanging up a key badge in a key badge storage area

Systems Built on Accountability

For this facility, and others with similar needs, we implement Traka KMS. These integrate fully with the Lenel physical security solutions to provide a holistic approach to access control. And, far from a “set it and forget it” approach to security, Ariel sees things through with ongoing support and assistance.

In a nutshell, the access control systems works like this:

  • Employees badge in and out of the facility with key cards linked to the Lenel system, which keeps track of their security permissions and a time stamp of use.
  • Physical keys, such as those used for internal offices, utility closets, filing cabinets, lockers, etc. are securely stored in a locker cabinet.
  • Users swipe their entry badge at the key locker and select the desired key.
  • Users will only be able to check out the keys they’ve been given clearance to access.
  • The Traka KMS will log what time each individual key was checked out and returned, and to whom.
  • Digital transcripts of these access logs are securely stored and can be provided to your facility at any time.
  • Curfews can be programmed into the system to prevent users from badging out of the facility before the physical keys are returned to the KMS.

The key management system greatly reduces the risk of keys being lost or shared, and limits access to those who need it. If incidents do happen, record-keeping makes it far easier to identify exactly when and how security breaches might have occurred and what actions might need to follow.

Thinking Outside the Lock

The technology behind key management systems also has applications beyond physical keys. Basically any item that would benefit from access management can be securely stored and accessed through a KMS.


  • Agency-issued cellphones and electronics
  • Personal belongings
  • Firearms
  • Fleet management
  • High value tools and equipment

Anything you need to control access to and keep track of can be managed with a Traka system. This keeps people accountable and reduces costly human errors when things are lost or misplaced. It can also reduce overhead expenses.

Instead of issuing a firearm to every officer, for example, you may only need enough to arm officers on duty at a time. That results in fewer weapons to purchase and maintain, and fewer to keep track of in the system.

This same logic can be applied to any valuable, sensitive, or restricted item or area of your facility, with a fully customizable solution tailored to the needs of what you’re looking to protect. It may not be practical to install card readers on every closet door, cabinet, and locker in a facility. But an integrated key management system provides the same level of access control, security, and flexibility and blends perfectly with the measures your facility may already employ.

Get in touch with Ariel.

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