understanding-master-keys
As a business owner, you’re always looking for a simple way to allow your employees varied access to your property. You may have received suggestions to consider a master key system, but you’re not quite sure what it is or how it works. Don’t let your confusion turn you away – a master key system can be simply explained!

Understanding the Keys Used in a Master Key System

From greatest access to least, we’ve described the keys you may use within your master key system here:

    Great Grand Master Key: This key will open all subsequent key systems under it, including grand master, master, and change keys. In theory, you can continue to add locks until the system is extremely complicated.
    Grand Master Key: This key will give you access to the various master key systems that you have and the subsequent change keys under those.
    Master Key: This master key is the key that turns your simple, one-lock system into a master keyed lock. In many instances, this will be the highest-ranking key.
    Change Key: Also referred to as a sub-master key, this key will open only one lock and locks that are exactly the same as it. The change key’s corresponding lock can also be opened by the master key.

Understanding How These Keys Work in Your System

At a very basic level, you need to know that a master key system allows two or more keys to open one lock. To make this system work, pin tumbler locks are often used. These pin tumbler locks include a driver pin and a key pin. When the appropriate key is inserted, both pins are lifted so that they rest on opposite sides of the shear line.

We hope you’re not lost, but if you are, here’s a video for further explanation.

To lift the key pins to the correct height, your key needs to have the right set of grooves in it. If you want to change your standard pin tumbler to accommodate a master key system, we can help you do that by adding a master wafer which is placed between the key pin and driver pin.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Master Key System?

Now that you understand what a master key system is, you may still be unclear on what the benefits of this system are for you. Here’s the benefits our clients enjoy the most:

    Restricted access. Do you need to restrict access based upon an employee’s role within your organization? Great – master key systems can do just that!
    No heavy key rings. Say goodbye to carrying a heavy-duty key ring around with you.
    One key can do it all for you. This one’s pretty simple: one key, multiple doors, simpler life.

Overall, master key systems are a great option if you’re looking for a convenient way to create different levels of entry access.

What’s the Cost of this Convenience?

Like many things in life, the added convenience of this system is also the very thing that will leave you susceptible to security breaches. These include:

    Decoding using exploratory keys
    Vulnerability to lock picking

So, Is a Master Key System Really Worth It?

At this point, you may be wondering if this type of system is really worth it. Well, we can’t answer that question for you, but we can leave you with a few points to consider when making this decision.

    Weigh how this system will help your security, key control, and personal convenience against how susceptible your business is to being breached.
    Adding sidebars and active elements to your keys will make key exploration more difficult.
    You do not need to use a pin tumbler locks; disk detainer locks are a more complicated lock alternative that can be mastered.

Keep in mind that as you add further security measures, you’re making your system more complicated for yourself and your employees. Do the needed research, ensure you comprehend your system, and reach out to your local locksmiths at Great Valley Lockshop by calling 610-644-5334 or contact us online today with any questions!

If you’re searching for an alternative security method, check out all our commercial locksmith solutions here as well.

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