What Is High Security?

Jan. 2, 2015
Risk Assessment, Threat Assessment, Foreseeable Liability & Specifying Locks

The term “high security” is a frequently used term in security and can have a wide range of meanings. In practice, high security can describe a category of facility, a classification of hardware or a philosophy of security management practices.

High security is a very subjective adjective in our vernacular in that it is often used to describe an aspiration rather than a status. It is a relative expression where some measures provide higher security than others, but in most cases merely provides a sense of security rather than establishes the actual conditions of a site.

Also it is not unusual higher security to be needed only at certain times. Very often, it is determined that higher security is warranted for a facility which otherwise was never designed or intended to have it. The trend is towards making schools, universities and shopping malls fortresses against acts of violence. No one is safe any more.

Another dimension has been added to the requirements for physical security, and that is of course the protection of intellectual property and data. Protecting both will frequently dovetail and interact.

Several metrics must be considered when determining how to best secure a facility.

  • Contents to be protected
  • Building design and construction
  • Geographic location
  • Doors & Locking hardware
  • Security management including countermeasures

For traditional mechanical locksmiths, security focuses on the door and perhaps the immediate surroundings.

  • The lock
  • The door into which the lock is installed
  • The hinges and door frame holding the door.
  • The walls adjacent to the door.

For locksmiths who have transitioned to electronic access control, the template often employs imaginary radiating circles expand away from a prime asset. Often there are multiple assets, and they may be all over the premises, so the template may involve a great deal more.

As a security professional. you soon realize that extent of the protection you are providing is limited and also highly reliant on a large number of additional factors, some of which may be unknowns. Concentrating on only one level hardly solves the problem, and if handled improperly, creates now ones.

Then there is what we actually mean by security. Are we protecting a facility’s occupants from an external attack, preventing facility occupants from leaving or protecting surrounding areas from the possible escape from the facility by dangerous hombres or hazardous materials?

Security has certain things in common with safety; life safety to be more precise. And they are also quite different.

One thing they have in common is they are door oriented. But the codes address the life safety issues of the facility, not its security.

Security consultants hunger for a challenge, and if you turn us loose on a door you’re likely to have a door that is secure, but not necessarily safe to egress.

So generally the life safety requirements are code driven while the security requirements are electives and highly subjective.

Also the goals for security upgrades have shifted away from protecting assets and more towards protecting people.

Schools are an excellent example of the shift of emphasis of security, and the introduction of what might have been deemed high security methods into a once docile environment.

As one example, not long ago, sell sheets for proprietary keyways focused on protecting assets such as computer hardware and sporting goods. Now we’re pulling out all the stops with video surveillance, access controls, security communications, safe rooms and high security hardware with the hopes of saving our children’s lives.

A Risk Matrix is used during Risk Assessment to define the various levels of risk as the product of the harm probability categories and harm severity categories. This is a mechanism intended to increase visibility of risks and assist management decision making.

Expressed in the most basic terms, a Risk matrix is developed by weighing up the risk of an event occurring against the cost to implement safety and the benefit gained from it.

Although many standard risk matrices exist in different contexts (US DoD, NASA, ISO), individual locksmiths, security dealers and organizations may need to create their own or tailor an existing risk matrix.


A good first step is always securing the openings. SECURITRON’s innovative MM15 combines shear and maglock to provide a lock that is probably stronger than the door assembly.

The hybrid design of the Securitron® MM15 MEMLOCK includes two spring-loaded, hardened steel jaws that deliver up to 4,000 pounds of ultimate holding power. In a forced-entry assault, the jaws clamp down on the armature plate and hold firm for an unmatched level of access control.

MM-5 features include:

  • 4,000lbs holding power
  • Mounting plate for easy, accurate installation
  • Automatic dual voltage (12/24V)
  • Accepts AC or DC current
  • Fail Safe
  • Ideal for mental health care and auxiliary detention facilities and other high-risk locations
  • MagnaCare Lifetime Replacement No Fault Warranty

More Info: www.securitron.com

Von Duprin

Electric strikes provide a relatively easy upgrade to electronic access control and, if chosen correctly, will not compromise the security of the door by introducing a point of weakness nor create issues on fire rated assemblies with straightforward frame prep and the ability to work with standard free egress mechanical hardware. 

Von Duprin provides quality security products at a price point where most projects can afford to use the best.  One such product is the Von Duprin 4200 Series electric strike for cylindrical locks.

Features include:

  • Field configurable 12/24 voltage utilizing dual-voltage internal solenoid
  • Field configurable power failure mode (fail-safe/fail-secure)
  • Non-handed, internal solenoid design
  • Heavy duty stainless steel faceplate
  • Latchbolt monitoring standard on 4212 only
  • Optional entry buzzer and rectifier kits available for AC to DC operation
  • 1 year electrical product warranty

The 4200 Series electric strikes are easy to order, configure in the field and install. The power failure mode (fail safe or fail secure) can be changed in the field without disassembling the strike. The 4200 series also features a 12/24 dual-voltage solenoid for field wiring of either input voltage. This makes it a great choice for commercial applications where traffic control is the primary function.

Compatible with a wide range of cylindrical devices, the 4200 series makes electrifying an opening simple. It is designed and tested to work with all Schlage and Falcon cylindrical locks as well as those of many other manufacturers.

Additional factory orderable options provide even greater flexibility. The 4200 series can be ordered with or without latchbolt monitor. An entry buzzer and rectifier kits are also available.

The 4200 series is compatible with all Schlage and Falcon cylindrical locks as well as cylindrical and deadlatch locks of many other manufacturers.

The 4211 is compatible with locksets with 5⁄8" (15 mm) throw latchbolts, or up to 3⁄4" (19mm) throw latchbolts with a 1⁄8" door gap.

The 4212 is compatible with locksets with 1⁄2" (12.7mm) throw latchbolts, or up to 5⁄8" (15 mm) throw latchbolts with a 1⁄8" door gap.

More Info: www.allegion.com

Adams Rite

Although aluminum doors & storefronts are not first choice for typical high security facilities, they are aesthetically pleasing, and may be an existing feature on a site where it has been determined that higher security is in order. By adding properly rated locks and application of ballistic glazing or ballistic laminates, the desired results may be achieved without resorting to Kabul-like appearance and construction.

I’ve been installing Adams-Rite locks on storefronts from the beginning, and quickly learned to avoid the disappointing knock-offs which fail to deliver the reliable performance or cost benefits of Adams Rite  by the time the project was over.

The MS1850S Series MS® Deadlock utilizes a laminated stainless steel bolt, activated by a pivot mechanism to provide maximum security for a single leaf narrow stile door.

A huge bolt of laminated stainless steel, nearly three inches long, activated by an uncomplicated pivot mechanism, has made this basic MS® Deadlock the standard of the narrow stile door industry. The length of this bolt provides maximum security for a single leaf door, even a very tall and flexible one or an installation where the gap between the door and jamb is greater than it should be.

A 360-degree turn of key or thumbturn throws or retracts the counterbalanced bolt. Key can be removed only when bolt is in a positively locked or unlocked position. The lock accepts any standard 1-5/32" diameter mortise cylinder or thumbturn from either or both sides. Cylinder must have MS® dimensioned cam.

For jambs too narrow to accept the long bolt, the MS1850S-050 offers a shorter bolt with hook shape to provide equal security against door-prying attempts. 1850S-020 short throw without hook is also available.

Second and third point locking bolts are available for pairs of doors. All use any make standard mortise cylinder and thus can be keyed into systems with other types of doors.

The “SCHOOLHOUSE” version is modified so that operation from inside is “unlock only.” This lock is handed and must be specified LH or RH. Specify Series SCH1850S. It uses the same faceplate and backset options as Series MS1850S. Operation from inside, with standard Adams Rite 4066 Turn or with 4550 Deadlock Lever. For wood or hollow metal, specify MS1850SN.

More Info: www.adamsrite.com


Securitech® is proud of their hard-earned reputation as the leading “Go-To” American manufacturer for special locking solutions. They are a continuous product development company and the products seen in their catalogue secure thousands of locations every day, but should be seen as the starting point for solving a site’s particular needs.

Securitech engineers and product specialists are ready to answer the call for high security products which are code compliant, to meet specific needs to prevent forced entry, provide proven vandal resistance, surpass durability standards, and/or interface with today’s sophisticated access control and electric locking systems.

Securitech works closely with fire and life-safety official to ensure that all products respect code requirements while providing the desired level of protection against forced entry and vandalism.

Securitech provides two different deadbolt locking solutions with electric release for offices and IT/Server rooms; the ElectraDB and AutoBolt Series.

Offices today need more than a latch for end-of-day locking. Securitech’s ElectraDB model in the Control Trim series provides electrically-released trim which operates a heavy duty mortise lock with both a deadbolt and latch for easy access control integration. During the day, the electric release allows the lever to retract the deadbolt. At the end of the day, the deadbolt is thrown for even greater forced entry protection. This product is ideal for high traffic doors

An optional “Request-to-exit” switch can be built-in and operate via movement of the interior lever for system notification of valid exiting. The lock body can also be supplied with door position and bolt position switches for complete alarm system signaling.

Automatic deadbolt locking, each and every time the door closes, should be the standard security protocol for IT/Server rooms with critical infrastructure equipment. Securitech’s AutoBolt™ 81LD-23 provides deadbolt protection, along with complete access control integration, including electric release, Request-to-Exit, door position and bolt position signaling all in one lockset. Optional Key Usage switch sends a separate and distinct signal to the access control or alarm system when a key is used for entry in place of the access control system.

Auto-Bolt locksets are trigger-activated. When the trigger hits the strike, a stainless steel deadbolt projects into the frame. Life safety is provided for, as a single motion retracts all the deadbolts for easy exiting.

Other Options & Functions including interior touchbar with built in request-to-exit are available.

Securitech’s MULTI-BOLT Multiple Point Lockset provides full function multi-point locking mortise lock & exit device latch lock by day, multi-point protection at night. It is aesthetically pleasing with the vertical bolts concealed within the door.

Multi-Bolt provides superior protection against break-ins with a single device 5” long, 5/8” diameter stainless steel vertical deadbolts with 1” projection One action locks or unlocks all the deadbolts simultaneously. It meets ADA and local code requirements for single motion exiting lock body. The lock fits into standard ANSI mortise lock preparation  and accepts 1 1/4” length mortise cylinder (standard and high-security). A wide variety of standard and custom functions meet specific locking requirements, Exterior lever contains vandal-resistant slip clutch.

More Info: www.securitech.com


The #4900 series Secure Interlock Door Control can provide power and control for up to 128 doors. The PLC logic allows only one door, in any defined area, to be unsecured at a time. Simultaneous requests for access or requests for access while another door is unsecured are denied to maintain the highest level of control.

Suitable for air locks or security mantraps, this door interlock system will effectively control normally unlocked doors, normally locked doors or any combination of both.

The controller may also be customized to control automatic door openers and provide timing and logic sequences for biological wash-down and air purging controls.

Lock control relays with DPDT outputs allow use of 12 or 24 volt DC fail-safe maglocks and fail-secure electric strikes. Both types can be used simultaneously on the same doors.

Any access control system can be used with the 4900 series controllers. The request for access input recognizes any normally open dry contact.

While the PLC controller requires regulated 12 or 24 VDC input, the intergral 4204 power supply also provides ample 12 or 24 VDC output to operate maglocks and/or strikes for each of the doors. The heavyduty power supply is ready for hook-up to the fire alarm system. An alarm output is also provided for monitoring the control system.

The DPDT relay outputs can also be used to control lighted door status indicators; which provide users with visual feedback as to when a door may be accessed. For user convenience, a green light is typically used to signify that a door is ready for access and a red light to indicate that a door is un-accessible. Dortronics #7201xL2-H hi-intensity LEDs are ideal for use with this system

Models include:

4900-PLC - Programmable controller capable of interfacing with up to 16 I/O modules for a total capacity of 128-Inputs and 128-Outputs

4900-I/O Module - Eight digital optically isolated inputs accept dry contact signals from door status switches and request-for-access devices. The #4900-I/O module has Additional capability providing Digital outputs which may be utilized for up to four more relays controlled by the PLC

Only one door may be unlocked or open at one time. Unlocking or opening one door automatically secures all other doors within the designated area. A request for access at any normally locked door will inhibit the REX inputs for all other doors in the area.

Lock relay contacts will allow low voltage red and green LEDs to be utilized for user feedback. Typically a green light indicates that access is permitted, while a red light signals that another door is open and access is denied at this door.

More Info: www.dortronics.com


The Farpointe P-640 Patagonia reader supports popular proximity card and tag technologies and adds an integrated keypad for dual-factor high security verification applications. The proximity card reader features an expanded eight-inch read range for increased convenience as the user enters a PIN on the keyboard.

Since many of the P-640 units are slated to be used outdoors or in dusty environments, the proximity/keypad combination is designed to meet IP67 certification. The unit features tamper-proof and weather-resistant epoxy potting to avoid problems with dust, mist or water. It works in temperature extremes from -40°F to +149°F. With distinctive blue backlit keys, the P-640 is very easy to read in dark environments. The P-640 mounts directly to a standard North American sized wall switch box or any flat surface.

Based upon proven contactless digital radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, Pyramid readers interface with a wide range of electronic access control systems by complying with the Wiegand communication protocol. They offer value-add features such as MAXSecure™ and fleaPower™, and can be ordered to support several proximity card and tag technologies. Additionally, Pyramid cards and tags are passive devices, eliminate maintenance by requiring no battery, and can be ordered to support several proximity reader technologies.

The MAXSecure security feature is available with Farpointe’s Pyramid Series  Readers. MAXSecure integrates a high-security handshake, or code, between card, tag and reader to prevent credential duplication and ensure that readers will only collect data from MAXSecure coded credentials.

More Info: www.farpointedata.com