Morse Watchmans Blog

Securing the Large Venue Facility

Fernando Pires March 6, 2017
Fernando Pires

High security, high-profile events staged at arenas, stadiums and convention centers across the country require special planning that involves risk assessment, crowd management, staffing, communication, emergency response procedures and so on. Technology used to support the safety and security plan for these events and for the regular day-to-day operation of the facility also requires special attention that can’t be compromised.

Compromises are often a bad choice in any physical security application – such as purchasing one system instead of another because it is less expensive even though it doesn’t quite meet all the requirements. Another example is staying with manual systems instead of upgrading to automated ones because manual systems have always been used and they work just fine. Many security decision-makers also run separate systems because the technology does not allow integration. These are all reasons that may seem justified at the time but can place the facility in a vulnerable position.

Advances in security technology have eliminated many of the reasons to compromise, making new installations or system upgrades easier and more effective in securing a large venue facility. Among new technology solutions that can have a significant impact on physical security and overcome compromises in security operations is an automated key control and asset management system.

The automated key control systems are designed to store and control access to mechanical keys or card keys. Keys are secured in the tamper-proof cabinet and can only be accessed by authorized individuals with a proper code, badge or biometric identification. All access activity is automatically recorded and from this data, management has a complete history of who used which key and when as well as the current location of each key.

The increased security provided by a key control and management system helps to reduce the vulnerabilities in large venue facilities. With upwards of 100 plus locking doors in a typical 40,000 seat facility, knowing where a particular key is or who may have last used a key is critical to both the operation of the facility and to the physical security and safety of the conventioneers, delegates, press, employees and premises. When sensitive keys are lost track of, or go missing, it can result in a very expensive re-coring/re-keying of the facility as well as the possibility of the key being used for malicious purposes. Automated key control systems help eliminate these kinds of problems.

Further, issues that have been missed in security evaluations or procedures or insufficiently addressed can be easily resolved with key control hardware and software solutions – without expensive remediation costs. As an added benefit, a key control and management system can be integrated with building operations and security systems such as access control or video surveillance to create a more powerful and effective security system. Sophisticated key management also allows for a wide range of options for developing a key management system, including the flexibility to have different levels of security in different areas of the building. Securing personal computers, cash trays, weapons, cell phones, hand-held radios and other larger objects is similarly easy and convenient when locker-style modules are built into the system.

Online monitoring, updating and reporting capabilities enhance the functionality of a key control system and add to the integrity of the venue’s security. By integrating key control management software, stadium management can more easily control the system and maximize its reporting capabilities. Activity reports of key usage such as movements by time, date and user code can be analyzed for improved control of access and security issues. With this capability, management can better sort and analyze information to maintain maximum control of access and security issues.

Although there is no simple one-stop solution for protecting large venue sites, a well implemented key management system can be a valuable tool in support of this goal.