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Setting the Security Level at Your Self-Storage Site: Choosing a Lock System

By Rich Morahan Comments
Continued from page 1

A second kind of cylinder system provides an additional hasp for a tenant padlock. In this version, the cylinder provides security, but the tenant can still attach his padlock as a seal to protect against undetected intrusion.

Mounted inside the door with no shackle or latch to cut, the cylinder-latch system can be paired with a lock-out option that allows the operator to lock the unit without needing another lock. The tubular key version usually has more than 20,000 usable key codes and is pickable by only a skilled criminal, the kind who usually goes after vending machines and other more valuable targets.

The high-security cylinder lock is virtually pick- and drill-proof, and a powerful marketing tool for any facility, particularly one in a high-crime area. Now the double-hasp option allows an operator to provide renters peace of mind along with a master-key system.

The cylinder lock is mounted inside the door, with no shackle or latch to cut. The cylinder system adds to its security features by ensuring every unit on a site looks the same. A thief is faced with 200 to 400 or more possible targets, not just some vulnerable ones with inviting locks.

Electronic Locks: Part of an Automated Facility

I called the cylinder-latch system a 21st-century device, but it’s still mechanical. Self-storage is now also seeing the rollout of electronic locks, often tied to 24-hour kiosks that dispense rental agreements along with door codes that can move a new tenant in without human intervention.

This wireless system is battery-powered and provides individual unit security and access control. It typically integrates with a facility's access-control system, allowing locks to automatically engage and disengage when a tenant gains access at the gate keypad. In addition, the locks can be secured by the operator via the software, automating the overlock process if a tenant is in default.

Make the Investment

All these products can be explored and evaluated online. Google a few key words like “self-storage cylinder locks,” “self-storage electronic locks,” and “self-storage security,” and you’ll be driven to stories, specs and testimonials. There’s no excuse to settle for mass-produced locks that a teenager can cut, pick or bump.

You’re responsible for the security of your business, which is much more valuable than any tenant’s property. Protect your investment by using a cost-effective lock system that meets your business needs.

You need a security plan, and your local market impacts your security choices. You may be compelled to meet your competition with all the bells and whistles of gate pads, cameras and door alarms, but consider the cost per unit of these features, and then balance that cost per door with your locks. You’d probably prefer to rent units based on features, not price. Why not offer tenants a free lock that sets every unit at your facility to the security level you require? You’ll set yourself above your competition and protect your investment at the same time.

Rich Morahan of Richard Morahan Associates writes frequently on security and marketing for the self-storage, information-destruction and restaurant industries. To reach him, call 617.240.0372, e-mail; visit

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