Morse Watchmans controlling key
Lost or damaged keys cost authorities thousands of dollars to replace

Keys are a common element in any transportation department, and an automated key control system is a valuable tool. Key management systems offer multi-site transportation facilities increased security and control to help prevent authorized key access as well as reducing the number of lost or misplaced keys.

As an example, road repair is often done at night and requires equipment, vehicles, lights, generators and so on. Keys for these items can be secured in a key cabinet and, when they are accessed, the system tracks who took which key and when, how long the key was out, when it was returned and by whom. Keys for equipment belonging to contractors can also be stored in the cabinets, and temporary access permissions can be granted to contractor employees.

Key control for emergency vehicles

“Identifying and mitigating the risk of terrorist threats to the transportation industry is a serious challenge,” says Fernando Pires, vice president, sales and marketing, Morse Watchmans, a supplier of key control and management systems. “One important aspect of transportation security, in addition to other security solutions, is key control. As an example, keys for an emergency vehicle – such as an ambulance – that are not properly secured or accounted for could potentially allow a criminal or terrorist to use the ambulance in a criminal operation. Vehicle keys that are secured and accounted for in a key control system are less vulnerable to risk.”

Morse Watchmans’ key management systems deliver technology that provides both accountability and security. Physical keys are stored in a KeyWatcher or KeyBank system, which automatically records the access history of each key and user, allowing keys to be tracked, eliminating guesswork and the paper chase created by manual logs.

Knowing current usage information of keys

Whether the application is an auto dealership, a public utility with commercial repair vehicles or a university campus where cars are available for use by staff on official school business, key control solutions offer current usage information. Online monitoring allows administrators to easily check access activity records for current data including who is using or last used the vehicle; if it was returned damaged; returned with unusually high mileage; or if it was utilised without proper authorization.

Whether the application is an
auto dealership, a public utility
with commercial repair vehicles
or a university campus where
cars are available for use by staff
on official school business, key
control solutions offer current
usage information

For example, the New Brunswick Parking Authority (NBPA) in New Brunswick, N.J., implemented a Morse Watchmans KeyWatcher system to tighten control of access to keys and to allow management to more easily track and control keys that are used for NBPA vehicles, administrative offices, revenue equipment (parking meters) and other Authority assets. The tamper-proof key cabinet holds every key used in the organization, and each user has defined access to specific keys. Every time the key cabinet is accessed to either remove or return a key, the activity is automatically recorded, including time, date and identity of the individual accessing the cabinet.

Data reporting deters occurrences of unreported damage

Fully detailed and accurate reports generated by the key management system have eliminated NBPA’s problem of unreported damage to fleet vehicles and provided a verifiable audit of parking meter key usage. Lost or damaged keys had cost the authority thousands of dollars to replace; knowing who last accessed a key assists them in determining a remedial course of action. The system’s network connectivity allows management to release any key remotely.

Enhancing operational effectiveness with key management

Key management systems can also provide improved operational solutions in automotive dealerships. The accumulated data of key usage can be analyzed for inventory effectiveness as well as sales effectiveness. Slow movers can more easily be identified, as can vehicles that are shown the most or the least. In feet management applications, keys can be reserved for specific vehicles such as multi-seat vans to ensure that the vehicle is available when needed.

Lost or missing keys, unauthorized duplicate sets of keys, manual log books that are inaccurate and illegible or not knowing who might have keys when they should not – these are all problems that have the potential to undermine security initiatives, says Pires. Determining what problem the user needs to solve is the first step.

Integrating mobile devices with key control system

New feature-rich functions in key control systems more effectively meet the users’ needs in the transportation vertical. Integration of multiple locations, with common usage of databases and programming; real-time information; local and remote access; computerized reporting; specialized alert notifications and ease of use take key management to the next level. And, by integrating mobile devices with key control and asset management systems, security personnel or other authorized users can see a wide range of live information and can interact remotely with the key control system. Critical real-time information such as keys in use, overdue keys, alarms and system status that is easily accessed on a smart phone or mobile device, ultimately provides a safer, more secure environment.

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Larry Anderson Editor, &

An experienced journalist and long-time presence in the US security industry, Larry is's eyes and ears in the fast-changing security marketplace, attending industry and corporate events, interviewing security leaders and contributing original editorial content to the site. He leads SecurityInformed's team of dedicated editorial and content professionals, guiding the "editorial roadmap" to ensure the site provides the most relevant content for security professionals.

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