Keyed-Alike, Keyed-Different, Master-Keyed, How
do I chose a key option ?!?!
... looks like I chose the wrong one.
Don’t Get Locked In.
Too often we hear stories of people stuck in a jam because of a bad
decision they made years ago that they didn’t even know they were
It’s time to clear up the confusion once and for all.
Buying locks for your company’s equipment is essential in today’s
environment. And choosing the right one is a daunting task that many
people find themselves facing. But there’s one aspect that many
buyers don’t take enough time analyzing: key options. Getting the
correct key option for your situation is equally as important as getting
the appropriate product. Choosing the wrong key option can lock you into
a box that you can’t find your way out of.
How many keys do you need?
Who needs to have access?
What if someone loses a key?
Will you need to expand your locking system in the future?
These are all questions you need answered before you can make a well-informed
decision. (Don’t get overwhelmed… we’re here to help
How many keys do you need?
Does everyone need to have their own key or does the administrator need
to hold the only one? Having too many of the same key floating around
could lead to a security breach, as one could easily end up in the
Who needs access to what?
Are you trying to prevent internal theft, or are you worried more about
outsiders? Do your workers need to be able to unlock their own equipment
to take it home at night? Does your IT team need to be able to have
access to all equipment for maintenance? The amount of access you want
to allow directly influences the purchase you make.
What if a key is lost?
Do you want to be able to replace it? Certain keying options do not allow
for easy key replacement.
Will you need to expand your locking system?
Will your needs grow in the future or is this a one-time buy? You want
to make sure your protection can grow with your company. The choice
you make on your first purchase can not only have an impact on your
security’s effectiveness, it can also weigh on the ease and convenience
of future purchases. Even if you think this is a one-time buy, it may
not be. Most companies end up going with the product they originally
purchased, without thinking twice about it.
||Take the time to make a solid decision. Don't get yourself locked
in - or out, for that matter.
Outlined below are the three most common key options (keyed-alike, keyed-different,
and master-keyed), although there are many more available in today’s
market. Take time to look them over and discuss the alternatives with
a professional before you make any decisions.
A set of locks “keyed-different” means that each lock
is opened by a different key. Generally, keyed-different is recommended
for individuals who are only buying one lock and will never have
to replace the key. Buying keyed-different locks for an organization
can be a disastrous mistake. If a key is ever lost, it is nearly
impossible to replace.
A set of locks “keyed-alike” means that the same
key can open all of the locks. It is perfect for a computer lab
laptop setting, where the equipment rarely moves. Most often, an
administrator or IT professional will hold onto the keys, allowing
only authorized personnel to have the ability to open all locks.
This key option is ideal for universities and other large organizations
where restricted access to equipment and key control is a concern.
WARNING: Try not to let a single keyed-alike system grow beyond
a couple hundred locks. As your organization grows, you may want
to consider securing your equipment in KA groups (by floor, department,
building, etc.). Employees can lose, copy, or take keys with them
when they leave the company, jeopardizing all of your equipment
that can be opened with the same key. By choosing to KA in groups,
any key control problems only reduce the security level of a small
part of your security system.
A set of locks “master-keyed” means that each lock can
be opened by its own individual key, but there is one “master” key
that opens all locks. A master-keyed system is ideal for office settings
where each person is responsible to lock and unlock their own equipment,
but an administrator or tech support team needs to have the ability
to access all equipment, whether for supervisory or maintenance purposes.
As stated earlier, there is an ocean of keying possibilities which we
have only dipped our toes into. There are multi-leveled keying systems
such as keyed-alike master-keyed series, grand master-keyed series, key
controlled combination padlock series, and so many more.
on which system is right for your unique situation, make sure to consult
a professional locksmith or call us at (800) 466-7636 for all of your
computer lock needs.