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New Year, New Multifamily Security Strategies

As we usher in a new year, it’s an opportune time for multifamily property managers to reevaluate and enhance their security measures. With the ever-evolving landscape of security threats, staying ahead is not just a goal but a necessity. Here are some valuable tips to help you fortify your security strategies in the coming year.

Regularly Update Security Protocols

Security protocols should not be stagnant. Regularly review and update your security policies to adapt to emerging threats. Conduct staff training sessions to ensure everyone is up-to-date on the latest security procedures. Encourage a culture of awareness and accountability among your team.

Enhance Lighting and Surveillance

Well-lit areas and robust surveillance systems act as powerful deterrents for criminal activity. Ensure that all common areas, parking lots, and entry points are well-lit. Consider upgrading or expanding your surveillance system to cover blind spots and vulnerable areas, providing an extra layer of protection.

Regularly Audit and Monitor Key Usage

At HandyTrac, we understand the importance of monitoring key usage and we recommend conducting regular audits of key distribution and usage to identify any discrepancies. Implement a robust HandyTrac key control system to easily track and manage keys, ensuring that only authorized personnel have access to them.

Community Engagement for Increased Vigilance

Encourage a sense of community among your residents. Establish neighborhood watch programs or online forums where residents can share security concerns and updates. A vigilant community is an effective one, contributing to overall safety.

Emergency Preparedness and Communication

Ensure that your property has well-defined emergency procedures in place. Regularly communicate these procedures to residents and staff. Implement a reliable communication system, such as text alerts or a mobile app, to keep everyone informed in case of emergencies.

Collaborate with Local Law Enforcement

Forge strong partnerships with local law enforcement agencies. Share information on security measures, and seek their input on enhancing safety. Collaborative efforts can lead to a quicker response in case of emergencies and contribute to a safer environment.

As we step into the new year, you can prioritize the security of your multifamily property by adopting these proactive measures. At HandyTrac, we are committed to providing solutions that enhance the safety and well-being of your community. By implementing these tips, you can create a secure and resilient living environment for your residents in the years to come. Here’s to a safe and prosperous new year for your multifamily community!

Keeping your Key Control System and Office Germ-Free

office cleaning tipsViruses and other harmful germs can remain infectious for long periods of time, especially on hard surfaces such as stainless steel and plastic. Without frequent and thorough cleanings, an office can quickly become a hotbed of infection putting both your staff and residents at risk. With this in mind, here are a few tips for keeping your key control system and office areas sanitized and germ-free.

Key control system cleaning tips

Used to store physical keys and other vital community information, key control systems serve as an integral resource for community staff. And along with frequent interaction comes the need to sanitize often.

The datalog

The main point of contact on a HandyTrac key control system is the system datalog, used to operate the system. Using a microfiber cloth and solution of mild dish detergent and water, wipe down the touch screen, numeric keypad and biometric reader (if applicable).

The key box

For the rest of the system, almost any type of disinfectant will do.

One thing to note: all cleaners that claim to kill germs require EPA registration. As such, you should keep an eye out for cleaners that are approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to ensure proper sanitation.

Sanitize before and after use

Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer nearby as an added defense against harmful viruses and germs.

Office cleaning tips

When cleaning office areas, be sure to…

  • Wear disposable gloves, a gown and a face mask
  • Clean surfaces using soap and water, then follow up with an EPA-approved disinfectant
  • Frequently clean high touch surfaces including tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc.

For more office cleaning tips and considerations, check out the CDC’s Facility Cleaning and Disinfecting guide.

To learn more about HandyTrac key control systems, contact us today.

HandyTrac Key Control Interfaces with Popular Property Management Software

resmanHandyTrac Systems, a leading electronic key control company, is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with property management software companies, ResMan and Yardi to provide seamless work order delivery for multifamily, student and military housing customers nationwide.

“Over the past 20 years, we’ve discovered that multifamily property managers are inheriting a variety of roles to satisfy the ever-growing list of community needs,” notes Larry Kratz, President of HandyTrac. With this in mind, we’ve teamed up with ResMan to simplify key activity management through consolidated processes, and simplified access procedures.”

Upon request, ResMan and Yardi users with a HandyTrac Premium Touch system now have the ability to customize their experience through the use of a unique and secure work order system. Features like service order and staff data importation will allow managers to quickly and easily monitor key activity and work orders through their ResMan dashboard.

“We believe that when provided with the right tools, property managers can do it all. By leveraging this partnership, property managers will benefit from efficiency improvements, and ultimately, get the most out of their management products.”


About ResMan:

ResMan provides innovative technology solutions to the property management industry by making property investments and operations more profitable and easier to manage. For more information, visit myresman.com.

About HandyTrac:

HandyTrac likes to consider itself the low-cost leader in multifamily and military housing key control; managing keys for more than 5 million apartment homes throughout the country. We offer three unique cloud-based systems that provide instant access to archived reporting and provide the ability to manage your communities with a single login through your computer or smartphone. For more information, contact us today.

Cost Justified: Savings Pay for Key Control System in 6 months

Properties these days are understaffed, making time saving systems and tools more important than ever. HandyTrac key control systems can save maintenance staff significant time each day locating, pulling and returning keys, and keys-out reporting.

Time and motion studies prove that you can recover your entire key control investment in just 6 months!

time saving key control systems

How often?

How often does an employee walk to the other end of the community only to find they pulled the wrong key? How much time does that waste? How much does that cost?

How long?

How long does an expensive outside contractor that is “on the clock” stand around and wait while you try to locate misplaced keys?

How much?

How much does it cost you to re-key a unit because the key has been misplaced?

Why HandyTrac?

HandyTrac protects over 5 million units across 800+ companies nationwide and offers an ironclad warranty on every system.

Additional features include:

  • Remote access: Keep tabs on your keys from any internet-enabled device.
  • Detailed real time reporting: Always know where your keys are and why.
  • Audit trail: Reports are backed up to Amazon Web Services.
  • Bilingual: English and Spanish options available.
  • Touch screen: Stunning 7″ touch screen integrated to streamline workflow.
  • and much more.

To learn more about our time saving key control systems, contact us today.

Using Computerized Key Control to Prevent Mail Theft

mail-theftTasked with the handling and delivery of nearly 188 million pieces of mail each day, postal workers have become prime targets for criminals seeking bank statements, social security numbers and other personal information. Mail theft and subsequently identity theft are increasing at an alarming rate, and property managers can never be too careful.

Recently, a disturbing video was taken inside a Chicago apartment community showing an unnerving trend: thieves with a key. In the video, two men are seen using their own key to not only gain access to numerous apartment buildings, but also the mailbox units inside.

“That feels like such a violation,” said Kathleen, a Chicago resident. “It could lead to identity theft. It could lead to checks being stolen. So I think it’s really disturbing that someone has the key to get into my mailbox.”

This, unfortunately, isn’t just a one-off either. Key thieves have struck multiple parts of the city in recent months with no signs of slowing. Authorities also report an increase in the number of postal carriers “confronted with force” to hand over their key on their routes.

In addition to posing a direct threat to postal employees, mail theft results in stolen personal information which can wreak havoc on the lives of those affected. And if a key is stolen, the solution isn’t as simple as making a new key. That process, referred to as ‘re-keying,’ requires considerable time and money.

Using Computerized Key Control to Prevent Mail Theft

Using a computerized key control system, property managers and postal employees can instantly reveal who checked out a specific key using a secure audit trail. Additionally, users can implement multi-factor authentication procedures, requiring users to offer information such as a pin code (something you know), access cards (something you have) or biometric fingerprint readers (something you are) before gaining access to the system.

Taking property security one step further, computerized key control systems from HandyTrac anonymize property keys and utilize a state of the art bar-coded system. This system prevents users from memorizing where specific keys are hung using random rotation: an automated process that hangs keys in random locations in the box.

With two secure key management systems to choose from, HandyTrac is an affordable and sensible solution for any community or facility.

For more information about our computerized key control systems, contact us today.


References:

Para, Marissa. 2019. Postal Workers Worried About Safety As Mail Thefts Are On The Rise. CBS News Chicago. Retrieved from https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2019/12/31/postal-workers-worried-about-safety-as-mail-thefts-are-on-the-rise/

Case in Point: Smart Key Management Matters

When property management companies operate without a smart key management system in place, they invite unnecessary liability onto the property; putting residents, staff and the company at risk.

Last October, authorities in St. Francis, Wisconsin responded to a multifamily community main office break-in that resulted in the disappearance of 11 separate unit keys. Two residents later reported items missing from their apartments but their doors had been locked.

smart key managementWithout a smart key management system, lost or stolen keys are untraceable. As a result, no suspects or clues were identified in this case, leaving the property management company with eleven compromised locks needing replacement, premises security liability, potential damage compensation charges, and a community full of concerned residents.

With a smart key management system by HandyTrac, property managers can rest easy knowing that community keys are in good hands. Keys are housed within a 18-gauge steel cabinet, anonymized to prevent quick identification and secured using multi-factor authentication procedures. Additionally, our systems offer real-time reporting capabilities, allowing property managers to keep tabs on community keys from any internet-enabled device.

Since the management oversees keys to all units, protecting and monitoring the use of those keys is one of the most important parts of keeping residents safe — and also one of the aspects most likely to be targeted for negligence. Not only do the keys need to be kept secure, but their use needs to be tracked. You need an audit trail — you need to be able to document and trace who had use of the keys, when they obtained them and when they were returned.

To learn more about our smart key management systems, contact us today.

How to implement an electronic key system

Implementing an electronic key system can be rewarding for many reasons, the most apparent being an improvement in community security; but how exactly does one accomplish this task?

Step 1: Review your community/facility needs

electronic key systemPrior to selecting and implementing an electronic key system, it’s important to review your community or facility’s needs. Start by asking yourself the following questions:

“How many residents does my community have?”

“Which electronic key control features are most important for my community?”

“Do I require bilingual options?”

“Does my community use Yardi software?”

If you have trouble answering any of these questions, that’s okay! We’re here to help. Contact us at your convenience to speak with a sales representative in your area. They will be happy to answer any questions you may have and layout all the options suitable for your property.

With these questions answered, it’s time to begin the system selection process.

Step 2: Select a system

Between the Standard and Premium Touch, there’s a system for any sized application or budget. A few of HandyTrac’s notable electronic key system features include:

– Stunning touch screen displays

– Instant reporting

Multi-factor authentication

For a full list of electronic key system features, view our products online or contact us to speak with a representative.

Step 3: Installation

Using the tutorials and resources provided by HandyTrac, installation is a breeze. Simply visit the Resources page to get started. And, as always, if you run into any trouble, give us a call!

Step 4: Training your staff

Once you’ve installed your system, it’s time to gather the troops and begin training. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Emphasize the importance of key control. Present and future staff should understand that key control is a top priority for your community. Emphasize that a key system ensures their protection as well as yours.

Keep the process consistent. Once you have the system in place, make as few changes to the process as possible, with possible exception of completely revamping it for security reasons. Every time you change the procedure, you’ll have to retrain your employees.

Make the process as simple and straightforward as possible. This may seem a little paradoxical considering that a secure system requires multiple steps, but if those steps make sense to your employees, they will memorize the process quickly, and it will become second nature through repetition.

And vualá! Your electronic key system has been implemented, providing valuable security and peace of mind for community managers and residents alike.

For more information about HandyTrac, contact us today.

Using Multi-factor Authentication to Improve Key Security

Multi-factor authentication can be a property management company’s best defense against key loss and premises liability. How, you ask? Let’s cover the basics:

multi-factor authenticationWhat is Multi-factor Authentication?

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) has become the standard in recent years for securing internet of things (IoT) devices and systems. Utilizing protocols such as a pin code entry (something you know), access cards (something you have) or biometric fingerprint readers (something you are), MFA protects highly sensitive information and equipment from falling into the wrong hands.

How does MFA improve security?

The primary benefit of MFA is that it provides layered security to otherwise vulnerable data and systems. The more authentication layers/factors in place, the safer your assets are from perpetrators.

MFA meets electronic key control

Implementing layered security features including MFA, randomized key rotation and more, our electronic key control systems offer the highest level of security, reporting and flexibility.

With our Standard Touch model, users are required to complete a two-step authentication process using a unique access card and pin code prior to gaining access. Taking it a step further, our Premium Touch system implements MFA through the addition of a biometric fingerprint reader.

To learn more about our system features and pricing, contact us today!

HandyTrac introduces new version of its most popular touch integrated key control system

touch key controlFeaturing a 7-inch touch screen display, badge and pin access, instant reporting, and bilingual options for English and Spanish speakers.

HandyTrac today introduced the new Standard Touch key control system, bringing streamlined touch integration and improved security to its most popular and most affordable system. Available in single and double cabinet options, the Standard Touch features a stunning 7-inch touch display and intuitive capabilities including one touch building pull integration and work order review, automated audit trail maintenance, and instant reporting. The Standard Touch key control system also has bilingual options, catering to both English and Spanish speakers.

“The new Standard Touch key control system packs even more value into our touch product line,” said Larry Kratz, President of HandyTrac. “Beyond secure key storage, the Standard Touch introduces powerful new ways to multi-task, track absent keys, and view more information at a glance on the touch display. This new key system with touch integration takes everything people loved about our Classic system and makes it even better for accessing, monitoring and controlling keys.”

Designed to be convenient and durable, the Standard Touch system cabinet is made of 18 gauge steel with black powder coat finish, and is wall mounted for ease of use and space conservation.

Features:

– Large 7″ touchscreen
– Badge and PIN access for authorized staff
– Built-in Wi-Fi connection
– Bilingual options for English and Spanish speakers
– One touch building pull integration when pulling multiple keys
– Single login to review reports for multiple properties
– Audit Trail – Reports are backed up to Amazon Web Services
– Customizable activity codes
– Instant reports; keys out, who has key and why, when returned
– Ability to review individual work orders with one touch

About HandyTrac

HandyTrac revolutionized computerized key control with the introduction of the Classic key control system in 1995. Today, HandyTrac protects over 5 million units nationwide and is the leading key management and control system in the multi-housing and commercial property industry. HandyTrac principals have over 30 years of experience in real estate property management and over 25 years of experience developing software systems for multi-unit residential properties.

For more information, contact us today.

HandyTrac Fall Trade Show Information

fall trade showWith fall nearly upon us, we’re looking forward to another fantastic season of trade shows! Visit our booth at one of the shows below for a HandyTrac system demo, and see firsthand how HandyTrac helps community staff manage keys and prevent premises liability. We hope to see you there!

AAKC Trade Show
9/25/19
Overland Park Convention Center, Overland Park, KS
Booth #71

The AAKC Trade Show features over 100 Supplier Partners with a variety of products and services for the KC multifamily industry. Reservations are free to all multifamily personnel. For more information, visit the event website.


Florida Apartment Association Conference and Trade Show
10/2 – 10/4/19
Hilton Bonnet Creek, Orlando, FL
Booth #216

The FAA Annual Conference & Trade Show is the premier state conference for the apartment industry. More than 900 multifamily housing industry professionals interested in sales, marketing, recruitment and retention, maintenance, career development, leadership, customer service, technology, and more, will be inspired by the nationally renowned keynote speakers and the breakout sessions. For more information, visit the event website.


IAA Midwest Multifamily Conference
10/9 – 10/10/19
Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis, IN
Booth #618

The Midwest Multifamily Conference is the largest industry conference dedicated exclusively to helping Midwestern apartment professionals reach new levels of professional success. Connect with multifamily specific vendors servicing the entire state of Indiana as well as surrounding states on the trade show floor. Over 200 companies will be represented and ready to show you and your team the latest and greatest products and services that will make your life easier. For more information, visit the event website.


2019 NMHC OPTECH Conference & Exposition
11/11 – 11/13/19
Hilton Anatole, Dallas, TX
Booth #151

The NMHC OPTECH Conference & Expo offers an unparalleled educational and networking environment with exclusive peer-to-peer roundtables, property and revenue management workshops, and cutting edge content and speakers. For more information, visit the event website.