Obey Your Master: Is A Master Key System Suitable For Your Business Premises?

Anybody who owns or operates a commercial building knows the importance of security, and looking for ways to increase the overall security of your business complex is a constant endeavour. However, a security system can become a double edged sword when it prevents you from accessing (or escaping from) rooms or areas quickly. For these reasons, many business operators choose to have a master key system installed on their premises.

What is a master key system?

When properly installed, a master key system allows all the doors (and optionally windows) on your premises to be opened by a single, unique key known as a 'master key'. Only people with privileged access to your premises are given one of these keys, allowing these people to access any part of the building quickly without having to sort through a large number of regular single-access keys. 

Why should I have a master key system installed on my business premises?

The ability to unlock any door on your business premises can be tremendously useful in the right hands, and installing a master key system comes with the following advantages:

  • No sorting through keys: People in possession of a master key do not have to find the specific individual key for each lock. This is a particularly useful trait for people who require regular access to many rooms (such as owner-operators, security guards and custodians), and is most useful when installed in a building with many individually-lockable doors such as a school or gym.
  • Access to locks without keys: If the key(s) for one of your rooms becomes lost, you will still be able to access the room using the master key while waiting for the original key to be found or a new key to be created. This is very useful for accessing rooms containing important equipment or information (such as server rooms) even after a key is lost, preventing costly business downtime.
  • Fast emergency access: Having a master key on hand allows you to quickly access rooms and other areas in case of an emergency and can be used to provide the same level of access to firefighters and other emergency services.
  • Multi-level master keys: If you want some of your employees to have quick access to certain areas without providing them master access, sub-master keys can be created. These keys provide easy access to designated rooms, while remaining ineffective on locks only operable by individual or 'true' master keys.

Why shouldn't I have a master key system installed on my business premises?

While master key systems can be tremendously useful in the right hands, they also come with the following disadvantages:

  • Undermined security: Having a master key system installed does not make any of your locks secure under normal circumstances. However, losing a master key can dramatically weaken the security of your premises, and you may need to have all the locks in your building changed if the key is not recovered promptly.
  • Shoddy jobs: If a master key system is installed poorly, it can leave security gaps and make locks vulnerable to being picked or operated with skeleton keys. As such, it is always important to have a master key system installed by accredited commercial locksmiths services.