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How to Improve Security by Installing New Locks in Your Office
There are lots of ways to keep your office secure, but installing new locks might be the most important and overlooked.
When is the last time you changed the locks on your office doors? Don’t remember? You’re not alone. It would probably be safe to say you’ve had the same locks since you moved into your current office. In fact, they may be the same locks the last tenant had!
No matter what business you’re in, you need a secure office. You have an alarm system, you may have security cameras, and you’ve taken steps to lock down your cybersecurity, but there’s a wide open hole in your security: your locks. Installing new locks is an easy and effective way to ensure that no one is getting into your office unless they’re supposed to be there.
Installing New Locks:
Why your current locks don’t work.
Take a minute to think about the locks on your office doors. There’s at least one to get into your building. If you share a space with other businesses, there’s probably a second lock to your space. Once you get into your business, there might be a third lock on the door to your office. How many people (that you know about) have keys to those locks? Do they all currently work in your office space? Have any of them lost or made copies of the keys? Do you know where all of those keys are? What about your cleaning service; do they have a key?
If those locks have been there for a while and you’ve had much turnover, there’s no way to accurately track how many keys are in circulation. And if, for some reason, the locks on your doors right now were there when you moved in, there’s no telling who might have a key.
Your business security is also compromised if your door frame or the lock itself is damaged, due to age, wear and tear, or an attempted break-in. And that old lock where you turn the little knob on the door handle—the one you can pop open with a butter knife—that doesn’t count, either.
Why does it matter? Is someone really going to try to break into your office? Did you just fire someone or have a round of layoffs? It wouldn’t be unheard of for a disgruntled former employee to vandalize or steal from a company. To a thief, there’s probably a lot more of value in your office than you think: employee records, proprietary information, contracts, and quite possibly, your company checkbook.
Installing New Locks:
What’s right for your office.
If a property management company oversees your office building, you may not have many choices when you’re installing new locks. If the choice is yours, however, it can be hard to narrow down what’s right. Whether you prefer an old-fashioned traditional lock or a fancy new electronic lock system, the first thing to consider is your local fire code.
Many building codes require that all doors are able to be easily opened from inside without a key or code. There are some very slight variations on this, depending on local building and fire codes. For instance, in the town of Brighton, New York, the fire marshal states, “If the door is equipped with a deadbolt, the bolt must release with the same motion that opens the door knob or latch.” In the state of Ohio, “Manually operated flush bolts or surface bolts are not permitted.” And for any locks, “The unlatching of any door or leaf shall not require more than one operation.”
In some states, deadbolts are not allowed on egress doors at all, and in others they are, but only if they remain unlocked during business hours. A qualified locksmith should know what the laws are in your community. So what are your options?
Smart locks are trending for a number of reasons. They’re compatible with smartphones, you can set temporary entry codes for guests, individuals can have unique codes for personalized access, some use biometrics such as fingerprints to lock and unlock, and you don’t have a key to carry, copy, or lose.
The downside to a smart lock is that, like any tech, there is some concern they can be hacked or have other problems. This isn’t to say that all smart locks are risky, and many of them are easily incorporated into an overall security system.
Traditional locks may have keys or use a keypad for entry. They range from lever-style handles to push bars to commercial-style deadbolts. They also vary substantially in price. A panic bar, or push bar, could be as much as $600 or $700 or as little as $150. You could spend over $500 for a heavy duty lever handle and lock with a keypad, or a commercial-grade deadbolt and lever handle may only be around $150.
While you don’t have to worry about anyone hacking these locks, you do need to pay attention to who has access to the keys. The best lock in the world won’t help you if your keys fall into the wrong hands.
While it’s easy to change a code on a smart lock, you can’t just change the locks every time a key gets out of your control, so it’s a good idea to limit who has a key to your office. The reality is that you probably don’t need that many. Depending on your hours, you may only need one or two keys for people who open the office and another key for someone closing the office. It should go without saying that keyholders need to be people you fully trust.
Another key to office security is making sure you have the right business insurance. Pekin Insurance is here to help you. Contact Heitmann Insurance Services today to find out more.