A lot of our customers ask if there’s a way to stop people from copying their keys.
The answer to that – obviously 😉 – is yes, YES, YES!
The way to do this is using ‘security’ cylinders.
It’s a bit of a stupid name, because all cylinders provide some degree of security. They ought to be called high-security cylinders.
And what’s high-security about them? They have copy-protected keys that are patented. This normally means that the key blanks needed don’t circulate among locksmiths and key-cutters.
We use EVVA EPS high-security copy-protected keys in our cylinders, giving you the added security of knowing who gets keys for your door.
What’s EVVA EPS?
EVVA is an Austrian brand of high-quality locking products which, as of 2019, is 100 years old. Among other things, they manufacture the EVVA EPS (Extended Profile System) range.
An EPS key has two ‘profiles’ (a profile is more or less the ‘shape’ of the key-hole). The first profile is the traditional one (i.e. the shape of the keyhole). This is typically a patented profile shape which is tricky, if not impossible, to pick.
The second profile is on the side of the key. It’s a place where a second set of pins (known as a side bar) goes. The existence of this second profile makes it even harder/even more impossible to pick.
A key where either one of the two profiles is incorrect won’t turn in the lock.
These features give the key high security. The fact that the keys are registered by patent means it’s not something you can just get copied at a local key-cutting shop.
What gives me control over the keys?
Every lock we issue has a key number associated with it. This number is normally registered to somebody or to a company.
For instance, if Edmond Dantès buys the lock with code no. 1234, we can register the keys in his name. If somebody comes to us asking for copies of 1234, we’ll tell them that we need written permission from Edmond first.
If Edmond has a company, e.g. Thomson & French Limited, he may choose to allow anybody from said company to order keys. As boss of a large bank, say, Edmond might be happy to delegate the responsibility of the ordering of keys to somebody else. So long as that person is from Thomson & French, we would issue keys. Otherwise, no.
This means that you always know who is getting keys cut, because we don’t issue them to people whose names aren’t listed in the registry.
And why should I care?
The following case studies show a few types of people who would benefit from EPS high-security locks:
The landlady has just had to evict a tenant. She didn’t want it to come to that, but that’s just the way it is. Upon leaving, the tenant gave up their EVVA EPS key.
But did the tenant secretly make a copy of their key? Does the landlady need to change the locks on her door, just in case?
Fortunately not, because she knows the tenant can’t have made extra keys without her knowing about it. The landlady has peace of mind and doesn’t need to book a locksmith.
The Airbnb host
If you’re letting people in and out of your flat for short-term lets, especially if you don’t really know them, you might be a bit nervous about security. You’re handing your front door key out to a bunch of strangers all the time.
Surely one of them might be nefarious enough to distribute copies of the key to their friends, and suddenly you’ve got squatters, right? (The scenario is a bit exaggerated, but the security concerns are real.)
With an EPS lock, you would know that Airbnb tenants couldn’t have gone to their local shoe-repair shop for new keys. Again, peace of mind.
The property manager
A property manager in charge of a building with, say, 20 flats, would find an EPS cylinder particularly useful, especially in a city like London, where there’s a high turnover of renters. If everybody were able to make duplicates of the keys to the communal door, you’d have an eternal nightmare making sure old tenants couldn’t come back.
We’ve heard from some of our property manager clients that some… shall we say ‘underground’ stuff happens in blocks of flats, e.g. drug dealing, where customers/addicts get issued a key and can let themselves in to the building. That’s certainly not something you’d want in your block.
Registered keys help against this.
Furthermore, over time cylinders wear out. Time, as they say, makes fools of us all, including locks. This is especially true if the cylinders get used a lot, e.g. by 40-100 people per day in a large block.
The EVVA EPS system has the advantage that you can create a new cylinder to an existing key code. If your key code is 1234 and your cylinder has worn out, we can make a brand new cylinder to suit your key. This means that, ten years after fitting it to a heavy-use communal door, you can keep your keys instead of having to issue tonnes of new ones.
The security-conscious homeowner
Some might argue that the bulk of burglary protection for the average person comes from having a slightly harder-to-open front door than the next house. Burglars, being opportunistic creatures, will often shy away from anything vaguely complicated. A registered cylinder is more than vaguely complicated and very likely less attractive to attack than the next house’s lock.
On top of this, you can be reassured that any house-sitter, contractor, colleague or anybody else whom you might lend your house key to won’t be able to make copies without your express permission.
There are some additional benefits that come with having an EVVA EPS high-security cylinder in your door:
Keys cut to code
If ever you need a new key made, you won’t need to pay anybody a visit. Simply give us the code number, we can make a copy and send it to you securely in the post. No need to go out of your way to wait in a queue in a shoe-repair shop after work.
It’s always possible to build numerous locks to work on the same key.
Suppose you want all locks on your door to work on the same key, or perhaps you have several communal entrance gates to your premises where you’d rather have them work on the same key. This is something we can easily do for you.
Do you need a master-key suite for your block of flats or office block? No problem, EVVA EPS allows for that. Pretty much any level of complexity is possible, whether you need just a basic suite with a master key and ten so-called ‘differs’, or a suite with 1000 differs under 50 sub-master suites.
(To see how crazily complicated master suites can be, check out our blog post about the London Underground!)
Some of our customers use our EPS cylinders on the communal entrance doors to big blocks of flats. It’s not uncommon that a lock on a large-ish block gets used 200 times in a day, every single day. EPS cylinders are quite good at handling heavy use, but after a few years of 200 uses a day, even a robust EVVA cylinder will struggle to cope.
Alas, that means the barrel needs replacing, along with 200 keys!
Well, actually, it doesn’t mean that at all. We can produce a brand new cylinder to suit the same key so that you’ll not need to replace the keys at all. Pretty neat, right? And it saves a huge load of money in the long run.
Keeping London Secure Since 1991
We’re always here to advise you on security. Call us on the number below and we’ll help you out.