Many businesses today use some form of Digital lock (Push button) either mechanical or electronic as a convenient way of controlling access to areas or in some cases cupboards or cabinets, but what should be considered before installing one?
An argument for installing digital locks could be the elimination of keys making the control of keys a thing of the past however we need to consider security as a digital lock is by nature less secure than a keyed lock because all that is needed to gain entry is the knowledge of the code and no use of the physical key.
The majority of these locks come with a factory set master code and a common problem is that all too often the end users do not change or remove this when installing therefore if someone knows the master code of this brand they could potentially unlock all locks of this type wherever they may be.
Even when master codes have been changed on installation it is all too often the case that the new code will remain for some time and in some cases several years, this often leads to the numbers on the keypads wearing which in turn makes it possible to determine the code by looking at the keypad. Mechanical locks of this type are even easier to determine as the code can be placed in any order for example, a code of 1234 could be put in as 4321 or 3241 and still unlock.
Another consideration when installing these locks is the education of staff, it is all too often the case that staff will write down the codes near to the lock such as on the door frame or on a notice board or sometimes on their own ID badge and so it only takes someone to have an investigative mind to discover the code. It is wise to change codes every so often but not too regularly as this is the time that people become lazy and will write down the new codes.
When it comes to changing the code it would be advised to use a code that is not too easy to guess for example do not use codes such as 1234, 5678 or a code which is a popular date in history such as 1066, remember the easier a code is for staff to remember the easier it is for someone else to figure it out.
Although digital locks (Push button) both mechanical and electronic have their place we would never advise using them where higher security measures are required due to several vulnerabilities not all of which have been mentioned here.
Security Risk Assessment (managing Physical & operational Security) by John M. White