In light of a report earlier this year that exposed the vulnerabilities of keyed entry systems based on master keys, some school leaders are considering replacing the entry systems in their district’s most sensitive areas with electronic versions. The CyberLock system, from Oregon-based Videx Inc., is one of the best such systems we’ve come across.

The CyberLock system replaces a standard mechanical cylinder lock and key with an electronic version that is more secure and also enables school and business officials to track who has entered and when. One key can open many locks, including doorways, padlocks, cabinets, safes, and vending machines—and the locks cannot be picked or duplicated.

Installing the cylinder into the lock hardware is as simple as removing the existing mechanical cylinder and replacing it with the CyberLock cylinder. The lock installs without wiring of any kind and does not contain a battery. The power required to open the lock comes from a 3-volt lithium battery in the key itself.

The system’s CyberKeys are programmed with the access privileges for each user. A standard key holds a list of up to 1,250 locks the user can open, with the schedule of days and times they are allowed access.

Each time a key is used at a lock, a record of the lock identification number (ID), date, and time is stored in the key, and a record of the key ID, date, and time is stored in the lock. The key stores up to 1,150 of the most recent access events, and the lock stores the most recent 1,100 access events. Locks and keys also record when an unauthorized person attempted to open the lock.

The system’s CyberAudit access control software for the PC allows administrators to manage locks and keys, define user access privileges, create master and reset keys, and view a log of audit events. The CyberKey Authorizer enhances CyberLock systems by providing the ability to update keys without returning to where the host computer is located and simplify the management of expiring keys.

A complete CyberLock Starter System costs $797 and includes two CyberKeys, a programmer, a CyberLock electronic cylinder, a base station, a serial cable that connects the base station to a computer, and the CyberAudit access control software.

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