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Issue Date: Vol. 44, No. 4, April 2004, Posted On: 4/13/2004


Courtesy Vending Tightens Security With Electronic 'CyberLock' System


Emily Jed
Emily@vendingtimes.net

PORTLAND, OR - Courtesy Vending found the solution to costly access control headaches by installing Videx Inc.'s electronic "CyberLock" system companywide.

The most burdensome problem the full-line vending company repeatedly encountered was external theft. Across the company's 10 routes, Courtesy Vending's machines were secured with a variety of mechanical locks from several leading manufacturers, but they weren't thwarting the thieves.

"We had a big security issue that we had to resolve," recalled president Paresh Patel. "We were repeatedly the victims of break-ins by criminals with locksmith skills who hit every few weeks and wiped us out. We didn't even know the full extent of it until we had our new 'CyberLock' system in place. We also had an accountability issue; we couldn't tell who in our own company was getting into the machines."

After the first of a rash of break-ins, Patel bought 300 new mechanical locks, and within a week, when the thieves couldn't gain access, they drilled the lock out of one machine, stole the cylinder and made a key that opened all 300 locks. "Suddenly, you're not out just one lock and the money in one machine; before you realize it, they can hit 300 machines," Patel commented. "They weren't even concerned about the money or the product in that one machine; they wanted the cylinder."

FINAL SOLUTION

Patel put a stop to the thefts when he replaced the mechanical locks with the "CyberLock" electronic locking system. And subsequently, impressed with the tightened controls, Patel converted the locks in his office building, warehouse doors, safes and truck safes with "CyberLock" cylinders to control and monitor access to sensitive areas of the business.

Thus, Courtesy's door hardware, truck safe locks, padlocks and vending equipment locks became an integrated access control system. The system allows Courtesy Vending's management team to restrict each driver's access to specific locks at pre-selected days and times. "CyberLock" stores a complete history of all entries and attempted entries in both the lock and the key, providing a comprehensive audit trail of events for Courtesy Vending management.

"CyberLocks" replace existing mechanical lock cylinders without any wiring. The access privileges and battery power are located in the "CyberKey." Each time a key opens a "CyberLock," a record of the employee's ID, date and time is stored in both the key and the lock, creating a lock history and a key history. Additionally, "CyberKeys" can be programmed with a date to begin operation, as well as an expiration date.

The electronic locks cannot be picked because they have no keyway, and each key has a unique ID number that cannot be changed or duplicated. "Authorizer," an enhancement to the "CyberLock" system, adds network and modem capabilities, allowing management to control access and audit remote site activity from one central location. Service personnel can receive their access privileges and entry authorization daily at the exterior of a building by inserting their key into the "Authorizer" keyport. At the same time, a record of their activities from the previous day is uploaded to a host computer. The system provides exception reports, and notification of particular events by e-mail.

THE PAYOFF

According to Patel, it was well worth the cost and the few months of time it took for Courtesy Vending to install the system and have it fully operational. "It's a major investment, but it's well worth it if you're either going to pay for the electronic system or lose money countless times to theft. We wanted to be in control," said Patel.

In addition to controlling external theft, Courtesy Vending's Patel is certain the new system has curbed internal temptation, since all drivers know their machine openings and attempts at access are on record. Also, employees no longer have round-the-clock access to machines or the warehouse as keys are set to expire daily. "Every time they renew a key, I get an e-mail report. And if they try to open a machine when they're not supposed to, I get automatic notification," said the operator.

By the same token, honest employees value the system because it provides proof of their whereabouts.

As Patel moves closer to implementing handheld computers in his operation, he plans to further benefit from Videx's "CyberLock" system. "The two systems can work hand in hand, so I can cross-reference the handheld with the lock. If I know they were at a particular machine, I can ask 'Why did you go to the machine and not fill it?'" explained Patel.

"Implementing the Videx solution was a part of our strategy to get better control of our business We looked at it from the viewpoint that we weren't just buying a lock' we were buying peace of mind, increased security and access control over all our assets," said Patel. "Usually, when new control mechanisms are put in place, we face resistance from employees. In this case, I've been surprised to find that the employees actually support the new locks because not only do they protect us, they protect them too!"

The basic "CyberKey" system consists of a lock cylinder, a "CyberKey," a "CyberKey" station for programming the keys, a cable and "CyberAudit" software.

For more information about the "CyberLock" system, contact Videx, tel. (541) 758-0521, e-mail: sales@videx.com or visit the company's website at videx.com.


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