A couple months ago, we posted some Security Tips to Secure Vacant Businesses. In that post, we discussed some electronic security measures to secure commercial locations. These included technology-related ideas such as installing cameras, access control, and alarm-related products. However, that post did not include any tips on installing physical lock hardware to create security. In this post, we look at the mechanical side of security by addressing how to design a Medeco master key system to add security to your commercial or residential property.

We will begin by introducing Medeco locks, including their key-control policies. From there, we will dive into specific design decisions you can make to create the most secure system possible. Making wise decisions during the design process will keep your system effective for years to come. Finally, we will also discuss the difference between Medeco-created and dealer-created master key systems. Knowing the differences between the two will help you make a wise decision for your own system. Now, let’s get started with an introduction to the Medeco master key system!

Two Medeco cylinders

Medeco provides security through both high-quality lock hardware and a key-control policy that gives individuals the proper level of access to a property’s doors.

An Introduction to the Medeco Master Key System

Medeco master key systems combine the convenience of master key systems with the security of the industry’s top locking hardware and key control systems. Therefore, creating an effective Medeco system involves understanding both generic and Medeco-specific aspects of master key systems. In this section, we’ll give an overview of each, and then spend some time getting further in depth throughout the rest of the post. In short, master key systems allow home and business owners to create efficient keying systems for their properties. The “master” key that gives these systems its name opens every door on the system. From there, we can create keys that work other groups of doors or individual doors as needed.

Furthermore, Medeco systems introduce their own security benefits to these systems. For starters, Medeco locking hardware provides unique security against picking and drilling attacks. If you are starting a lock system from scratch, installing this equipment provides an impressive level of security. Additionally, if you have locks already in place, we can install retrofit Medeco cylinders into your existing lock hardware.

Finally, Medeco master key systems come with unique key-control security. This means that you create a list of authorized individuals that can receive key copies. Only people on this list can receive or create copies of your Medeco keys. As we pointed out in our Security Measures to Improve Employee Safety in Your Business, even the best lock hardware does not secure you against a burglar with a key. Medeco key control measures help you keep keys out of the wrong hands. Now, let’s look at the “nuts and bolts” of Medeco master key system design!

Designing an Efficient and Effective Key Level Plan

As we’ve pointed out, master key systems provide both security and convenience. From a security perspective, property owners should focus on keeping the most secure areas of a building off limits for most key-holders. After that, system designers should work to determine how to allow the most access with the fewest keys. For example, master key systems that encompass multiple properties may have a master key that only the system designer has access to. Each property in the system would have a “sub-master” key. These can go to managers of specific locations. From there, workers can receive keys that give them each access to a main door and their own individual offices. Thinking hard about your master key plan in advance allows you to give everyone the access they need without having to hand everyone a full ring of keys.

A man with a briefcase entering an office.

Medeco master key systems allow efficient access to specific doors. For instance, business employees often receive a key that grants them access to a front door and their own office.

Additionally, deciding who should create and receive key copies also plays a large role in system design. At the very least, system designers usually allow property managers and the most essential personnel to create key copies. These individuals can give out keys to workers as needed. Furthermore, authorized individuals can give one-time permission for others to receive Medeco key copies. For example, perhaps you need a new office key made, but cannot get out of the office to make the copy. By providing a signed, dated notice, you can give someone else one-time permission to create a key copy. This will take care of the issue at hand, without allowing anyone to create keys in the future. Now, let’s take a look at another important aspect of creating the best Medeco key system possible!

Determining Who Should Create Your Key System

At this point, you know the basics behind creating an effective master key system. With Medeco, you also have a couple options regarding who controls the system itself. In this section, we go over these options. We’ll begin by describing what is entailed with a dealer-created system. These systems represent the vast majority of the Medeco systems that we work with. From there, we will examine the pros and cons to having Medeco control the system. In some cases, this option does give users more flexibility. Let’s take a look at how a Medeco system works when a Medeco dealer controls it.

Dealer-Created Systems

Unlike most lock hardware companies, Medeco only allows certain locksmiths to install and service their products. In order to become a Medeco dealer, companies must go through product training and then apply for their own patented keyway. Having a dealer-specific keyway ensures that Medeco dealers cannot create keys that work with other company’s Medeco locks. That way, key holders cannot attempt to work around the integrity of Medeco’s key-control protocols by bringing a key to another locksmith.

When we design a Medeco system, we hardware from Medeco that comes equipped with our own unique keyway. This “locks” customers into using us for any future locations that they incorporate into their system. As long as all of a customer’s locations are fairly local, this method usually works out well. With any dealer-created Medeco system, dealers keep records of each system’s master key details onsite, allowing them to reference these records to create new keys or add locks to different levels of a master key system. Now, let’s look at how this type of system contrasts with a master key system created by Medeco.


A Patent Application

When dealers create Medeco master key systems, they do so using a patented keyway that other dealers cannot duplicate. Photo Credit: Feature Photo Credit: Nick Youngson on picpedia.org. Used under CC-SA BY 3.0 License.

Medeco-Created Systems

In some cases, Medeco designs a system for customers and holds all of their records. When this is the case, Medeco creates a card with a customer’s system information on it. Customers can bring this card to any Medeco dealer to have keys and equipment ordered from Medeco. At that point, the dealer places the order and Medeco creates the keys or locking equipment needed and ships them to the dealer, who then provides keys and installs equipment as needed.

You may wonder why, exactly, customers would wish to make working with their master key system so complicated. As it turns out, Medeco-created key systems do have their place. For example, national corporations or franchises that want to use a nation-wide Medeco master key system may elect to go this route. After all, a company with a large national footprint cannot expect employees to travel great distances to the locksmith who created their key system for new keys. In these instances, having Medeco create and maintain their key system represents the most efficient solution possible.

Putting Our Medeco Key System Design Tips to Good Use

We hope that this post has helped introduce you to smart Medeco key system design! Perhaps you’re familiar with master key systems, and simply want to choose the best one for you. Or maybe master key systems are a new concept to you, and you want to get started right. Either way, we encourage you to contact us with any questions you may have. We will happily answer any master key or security-related queries. Furthermore, we provide free site surveys to both new and existing customers. While on site, we can address any master key system-related concerns you may have. Additionally, we can address any lock hardware issues that we observe during our visit. Together, we can create a Medeco master key system that adds all of the security and convenience that these systems have to offer!