Electronics is finding its way into all types of locks, and padlocks are no different. Electronic padlocks must have two important security features: mechanical strength and electronic security. Mechanical strength is how the padlock is constructed, what material the body is made of and the type of shackle and locking mechanism.
- Padlock body should be made of hardened steel
- An option for a shackle guard should be offered (this would extend the body so the shackle is protected from physical attack)
- Shackle should be made of hardened steel and offered in different sizes
- The locking mechanism should be “Double Ball” (this is a stainless steel ball on each side of the shackle that prevents the shackle from being pulled out when locked)
- Electronic lock cylinder should be protected from pulling and other physical attacks
Electronic security is how the mechanical part interfaces with the electronic part of the padlock. The padlock would be designed to accept an electronic lock cylinder. There are two types of cylinders; one with a mechanical key override and the other without a key override. The benefit of a key override is that the electronic padlock can be used in a mechanical padlock system. For example; the electronic key would have a key blade that looks like a mechanical key, it would open both types of padlocks. Electronics would provide scheduled openings and closings, the ability to lock out a certain key, temporary access and audit capabilities. Power to operate the padlocks is contained in the key.
- All electronics to operate the padlock are contained in the lock cylinder
- Key contains the battery power to operate the lock
- Lock cylinder available with or without a mechanical key
- Scheduled openings and closings
- Ability to lock out a certain key
- Can be programmed for temporary openings and closings
- Audit capabilities drawer lock factory
Many other features are manufacturer dependent; such as the ability of the padlock to be part of a larger security system. One electronic key can be used to open a gate padlock, then open the exterior door, then open interior doors and cabinets. Each one of these locks can be individually programmed or programmed in a group. All would have audit capabilities so the administrator can see who entered the gate or door and at what time. Any one of these locks can be programmed to lock out a certain key.
Biometrics is being added to padlocks to enhance the security and eliminate the key. This will be the subject of another article.
George Uliano is a security professional with law enforcement and security experience. He earned a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice and Business graduating with honors. George holds 3 patents on different Padlock and Cam Lock designs. This combination gives George and His Company Locking Systems International Inc the unique ability to provide “The Right Lock” with The Right Security” at the “Right Price”.