Trending: Modern Day Improvements on Drawer & Cabinet Locks

Aug. 2, 2017
Trends include programmable electronic locks support connectivity with a local or cloud-based access control system and the ever-increasing use of mobile devices to program and operate these small electronic locks

Good security begins with a lock on all perimeter doors as well as selects interior doors. This includes the small cam and-drawer locks that commonly secure desk drawers, wall and floor cabinets, file cabinets, lockers, and other forms of personal storage.

 “Whether we want to admit it or not, by the time the job is almost over, someone’s going to bring up the issue of security for the desk drawers and various cabinets that need to be protected,” says John Larkin, Senior Partner with Electronic Systems Consultants LLC (ESC) of Columbus, Ohio. “It’s somewhat understandable considering all the things that goes into a quality security system. But it’s something that must be done before we can honestly say we’ve left no rock unturned in our attempt to provide quality, effective security.”

In the past, most of the small locks that were used on these types of storage spaces were strictly  mechanical. Cam locks equipped with wafers were the norm and certainly not the exception. It was often more convenient to purchase keyed-alike cam locks than it was to rekey them. This is because the cost of these locks was comparatively inexpensive to the cost of labor needed to remove, rekey, and re-install them.

The solution: use programmable electric cab/drawer locks that support connectivity with a local or cloud-based access control system.  

Current Trends in Access Control

One of the most notable trends in the access control market today is the conversion of mechanical locks to that of electronic hybrids designed to operate in standalone mode or connect with a common ACMP (Access Control Management Platform)—whether local or remotely maintained in the cloud. In addition to regular door locks, this trend also applies to the electric locks that secure desk drawers, wall cabinets, drug carts, medicine cabinets, file cabinets, and other types of personal storage.

 “IHS Technology (NYSE: IHS) estimates the world market for mechanical and peripheral locking devices was valued at $5.2 billion in 2013. This total includes products such as electromagnetic locks, electric strikes, mechanical locks, exit devices and accessories. Mechanical locks accounted for the largest portion of global revenues, at 43.2 percent in 2013” (Growth Trends in the Mechanical Lock Industry, Security Solutions, a hard-print magazine based in Australia,

The second trend of note to locksmiths is the ever-expanding need for more trust by design where it comes to those who use these systems. This leads us directly to a third trend, the ever-increasing use of mobile devices to program and operate these small electronic locks. The latter is becoming a significant part of what is now touted as the “Trusted ID” concept.

According to SecurityWorldMarket, formerly SecurityWorldHotel, Stefan Widing, president and CEO of HID Global of Austn, TX, believes that 2017 will usher in a broad range of smart devices that altogether will result in what the industry will come to know as ‘Trusted Identities.’ Widing says, “This will directly impact how customers view and use trusted identities on mobile devices and smart cards for more activities in more connected environments” (source: HID predicts shift in use of ID technology,

Possible Applications Include Healthcare

Many small drawer and cabinet locks can be controlled by an ACMP. Many of them come with features that exist in large access control systems. For example, HES, an ASSA ABLOY company, makes a computer server cabinet lock specifically to secure the data inside a LAN (Local Area Network), which is exactly the kind of physical protection required by HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability Protection Act) for the protection of digital patient data.

HIPAA strives to protect all forms of patient data, from the physical notes taken by a physician or other staff members to the digital data that is kept on or off site in computer networks. Physical and logical security plays a leading role in maintaining patient privacy. These small but powerful locks have become an integral part of this effort.

 “So important is HIPAA that there are serious penalties for failing to maintain a reasonable degree of security. That’s why it’s so important that security companies and locksmiths, work together to protect written patient records as well as data storage servers in healthcare facilities,” says Larkins. “There is a regiment of small locks designed to fit almost every desk drawer and storage cabinet in existence. And by building them with the electronics necessary to process data and store information, we’re able to use them in a building-wide access control system. Our clients can use almost any kind of valid credential with them, including the customary keypad that requires a unique PIN to access them.”  

Of course there are many other applications where access controlled drawer and cabinet locks not only make it easier and faster to “rekey,” but now we’re able to store historical information in the form of an audit trail. An audit trail is a log that contains every person that has accessed the system. Not only does this include the person who initiated the event, but it also includes the day and time, the door used, and other information deemed necessary—even video surveillance footage of the event. Not only does this work well in healthcare settings, but it’s a slam dunk where it comes to securing personal items that belong to employees and visitors, such as lockers in certain areas of a hospital, such as a Radiology Department; bus stations; and elsewhere. This also includes school hallways, gym locker rooms, classrooms, corporate offices, general labor force, and more.

Electronic Processing and Data Storage Protection

One of the most important elements associated with site protection is that of network security and signal integrity in a LAN (Local Area Network) environment. Where logical security is handled by IT (Information Technology), physical security falls within the domain of savvy, knowledgeable locksmiths. A good example of a small electronic drawer/cabinet lock capable of securing server cabinets as well as other means of storage is the KS100 Series lock, made by HES. This one is designed especially for use with server cabinet doors with a standard 25mm (nearly 1 inch) x 150mm (approximately 5.9 inch) lock opening. The lock itself is only 1-21/32 inches wide by 8-1/2 inches tall.

According to HES, the KS100 uses existing ID badges so there are no keys to control or replace and no codes to secure or remember. The KS100 protects servers from malicious or accidental tampering by adding a credential. This includes a HID proximity (125 kHz) or HID iClass (13.56 MHz) credential.

From a strength point of view, the KS100 lock carries a Grade 1 classification and is fully encrypted using AES 128-bit wireless. You can power the lock using a POE (power over Ethernet) connection, thus saving the effort and cost of a separate local power supply. However, where it’s impractical or impossible to install Ethernet cable, the KS100 will operate using local  power in the form of a plug-in transformer.  

Communication with an access control system is carried out using 802.15.4 radio technology via an Aperio hub, which itself connects to an access control network using wired Ethernet. For additional information on the KS100 by HES, go to:

Convertible Use of Electronic/Mechanical Locks

The RFID Combi-Cam E Lock, manufactured by FJM Security of Lynwood, WA, also is designed for use with wall cabinets, server cabinets, and other containment devices. A full electronic keypad enables users to utilize a simple PIN or that of a RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) card. Also acceptable are keyfobs and/or ID bracelets.

According to the RFID Combi-Cam E Lock manufacturer, the lock offers an ergonomic, compact form cabinet lock that makes it more versatile in more applications. The battery life within the lock is rated at 10 years. The physical design of the lock also makes it a practical replacement in most cases because of the hole opening requirements is so close to other manufactured locks.

According to FJM Security, the CombiCam E retrofits any cabinet lock application without permanent, further cutouts required to make the lock fit. The CombiCam E standard offers a variety of optional programming features and the RFID version adds yet a few more. A low battery indicator flashes for 250 uses and a temporary battery supply is easy [to create] by simply connecting a [charged] battery to the two light nodes long enough to enter the code and open up the lock (

Remote Lock Management

LockeyUSA’s EC Series electronic cabinet and locker locks include seven electronic combination locks, available with three modes: public mode, private mode and Remote Allocation System (RAS) mode, which enables administrators to remotely manage all locks.

The Remote Allocation System is an online code management system available on all keypad locks in the EC Series. Through the online portal, administrators can view a detailed overview of all the locks the currently manage. The lock list provides information such as the serial number, location of the lock and who the lock is currently allocated to.

Adminstrators can manage a single lock code by clicking “Update.” They can change all codes at once by clicking “Manage” followed by “Advance Lock Codes.”

More Info:

Increased Use of Near Field Technology

Another notable trend in the use of electronic locks, whether they’re connected to an ACMP or not, involves the use of NFC (Near Field Communication). This makes it possible for locksmiths to program the electronic locks they install.

The use of NFC is growing. According to ESC’s Larkin, he first noticed the use of NFC in the security market when installers began programming alarm panels using a smart phone or tablet. “The locksmith ESC partners with uses a NFC-enabled tablet when installing the Kitlock 1550 Smart, made by Codelocks of Irvine, CA.”

The Kitlock 1550 Smart uses NFC for programming, as well as SMS through what the manufacturer calls NetCode. In addition, NetCode can be used over the Internet to do the same things, and more.

The lock itself is a multi-purpose drawer/door lock especially suitable for use with lockers. It comes with a 12-button keypad and supports a 4-digit end user pass code as well as a 6-digit technician service code and an 8-digit sub-master code. For additional information on the KitLock 1550 Smart lock, go to: