The success and effectiveness derived from having a master key system in place will depend on the measures that you institute to keep that system secure. This article discusses some of those helpful measures that can keep the system safe from security breaches.
Use Patented Keys
It may be hard for you to prevent employees and other people with access to the master keys, such as cleaning companies, from making unauthorised duplicate keys. Posting a notice barring unauthorised key duplication may not be a sufficient control for that habit. How then can you ensure no one will duplicate the master keys without your permission? Select lock cylinders that can only be opened using patented keys. Such a master key system may initially cost you more but this cost will be justified by the higher levels of security that you enjoy when the random duplication of the master key is avoided.
Control Who Gets a Master Key
The locksmiths who make the master keys aren't usually involved in deciding who can access those keys. This is left at the discretion of the facilities manager or building owner. Master keys can be abused if they are given to individuals who aren't careful about how they use those keys. For example, a careless employee can leave his or her master key lying on a table. Such a key can be used by an unauthorised person to access a restricted area while the employee who was given the key is unaware. You can avoid such problems by thinking carefully about the individuals who get those master keys. Institute strict regulations about the penalties that will result when someone with a key allows that key to be misused.
Handle Rekeying Carefully
It may be necessary for you to rekey a master key. For example, you may wish to change that master key when an employee leaves your company. Don't select a locksmith randomly to make the new key. It is better to use the same company that designed the master key system when you want to rekey any of those master keys. That company will have a detailed understanding of the system and avoid making a new master key that can open locks that weren't part of the locks that the original master key was intended to open. Those "ghost" keys usually turn up when care isn't taken when selecting the locksmith to handle a rekeying project.
As you can see, your intentions of having an effective master key system can be thwarted once you don't take deliberate measures to protect that system once it is in place. Work with an experienced locksmith to design a system that will stand the test of time.