How Wake Forest University Effectively Manages Its Keys

Investing in an electronic key-management system helps the college keep track of its keys and improve security.
Published: April 6, 2021

Ed. Note: A version of this article originally appeared at  Campus Safety.

If you manage security, public safety or facilities for a school, university or healthcare facility, you know how challenging it is to keep track of the keys to all of the doors and cabinets on campus. Janitors, security officers, police officers, residence life staff and other campus employees usually must carry a bunch of keys with them on large key rings, which is a real hassle.

The KeyWatcher system

This approach poses significant risks because it’s easy to lose those keys or have them stolen. Additionally, when there are a large number of keys, doors and cabinets on campus, how do you keep everyone accountable for the keys in their possession? In many cases, those individuals might be carrying keys that don’t work anymore or can’t be paired with the door or cabinet that they open. These and many other reasons are why Wake Forest University purchased 36  Morse Watchmans KeyWatcher systems.

Although key-management systems can be expensive, the price tag of doing nothing could be even higher. It can actually cost an organization more to re-key an entire facility if a master key is lost than investing in an electronic key-management system. In my interview with James Byrd, Wake Forest’s director of physical security technology and Deacon OneCard, he describes how the university now more effectively manages its 500,000 keys, more than 50,000 keyed doors and 9,000 key users with KeyWatcher solutions.

James Byrd

These systems not only help the school manage its keys, it also integrates with Wake Forest’s video-surveillance system from  Genetec and access-control system from  Lenel and  HID. Byrd discusses how he determined what was needed by interviewing various stakeholders about their problems with this issue, including IT, public safety, residence life, facilities and others on campus. He also provides additional helpful hints to other campuses looking to do a better job managing their keys.

You can watch or listen to the full podcast interview  here. If you prefer to listen on-the-go, you can download the podcast to your mobile device on  iTunes and  Spotify. Make sure to follow or subscribe on Spotify or iTunes to be alerted to the latest episodes as soon as they become available.