Are Standard Key Cards Enough?

January 29, 2018 at 12:15 PM

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Standard key cards are designed to provide physical access control and security in restricted access areas. They are commonly used in public yet restricted places like gyms, hotels, and work stations just to mention a few. When the key card's technology was first introduced, it was embraced by many organizations and dubbed the long awaited security solution. But, are standard keys really effective at ensuring security? Though they are produced and sometimes managed by reputable security firms that offer a wide range of centralized and scalable security management systems, standard key cards are business security measures that should be well thought of before implementation. Here is why.

They can be shared

Standard key cards are designed to work with a specified security system. For instance, a hotel will have a unique standard key card and security system. Meaning that its standard key card will not work in another hotel, but it can operate effectively in its other branch because branches use one security system. So, one key card issued at one hotel branch can work in multiple branches in different locations. As much as hotels are governed by one core board or executives, branches should operate and invest in unique security measures. 

Can be duplicated easily

Standard key cards can be duplicated easily. The current internet of things wave means that people are more aware of the things around them and how they operate. That said, it is easy for a high schooler to learn how to hack anything including your electric business control system through Google or Reddit. Also, a person can simply mail the key card to an online business for duplication. So, you can never know the number of duplicated key cards out there and how the holders intend to use them. 

They can be abused

Standard key cards do not contain a photo of the person authorized to use it or a feature discreet to the authorized user. As such, the key card can be shared by friends some of whom may not be allowed to access certain parts of a building or services. A good example would be a gym where members use standard key cards to access the facilities. It would be possible for friends to share the key card. Meaning that a person who has not paid for the facilities will utilize them anyway and if malicious, they can plan and execute a robbery easily. 


When it comes to business security, even the slightest security gap can cost you a fortune if not your entire investment. Hence, the need to upgrade your security access solutions by utilizing more secure technologies. Maybe you could add photos or finger print technology to the key cards. Alternatively, you can utilize mobile applications designed for access control. Security experts’ advise consulting with your security provider to learn of new security ideas and technologies that would seal security gaps associated with standard key cards. Also, business security systems should be reviewed and often upgraded to counter leaked business security information.