Subscriber Discussion

Should I Use 'CYberlocks'?

Has anyone in the forum community had experience with using 'cyberlocks' Any operational PROS or CONS? Issues?

thank you,

PS - I am an end user and not affiliated with cyberlock nor their competitors.

Yes, I have used them.

They are very low cost and fast and easy to install in existing locksets or to add padlocks.

The main drawback is that it is not a "live" access control system where events are displayed in real time, and doors can be controlled manually. The system depends on information being passed from the locks and keys back to a central system when the key is "recharged" at pre-defined intervals. It essentially transmits information like a virus between the keys and locks. There is no way to immediately lockdown or revoke someone's access.

I've primarily used them in cases where the expense of adding a door to an access control system was not feasible or where network infrastructure is not available.

Cyberlocks fit into the "Digital Lock/eCylinder" category. See our eCylinders update that profiles the general product type.

Here is a overview video of the exact product:

Dovetailing what John Grocke writes above, the general pros of this type of system are:

  • Quick retrofit onto existing doors. Lock cylinders get replaced, but nothing else.
  • Low learning curve. Existing users just use different keys to open doors, they don't have to 'relearn' a different credential method.

However, there are some big cons:

  • Keys are expensive. Rather than a brass key or card that costs <$5, an eCylinder key can run ~$85 or more. You can't just lose them or have them unreturned as carriers turnover.
  • Lock updates propagate to doors manually (via other keys), and perhaps leave security vulnerabilities beforehand.

Like John Grocke writes, they find the best fit where adding traditional EAC cannot be done, like remote storage closets or moveable storage carts.

We have deployed Cyberlock in a number of large sites in Australia such as Airports, Schools & Race tracks. The main reasons for the deployments included:

1. Lower cost per door than traditional EAC. You can swap out the existing cylinders in the locksets. No cabling to the door. In a retro fit situation where the facility is vast this saving is substantial.

2. Audit trail was required on the lock cylinder. On one site they had many doors already on a traditional EAC system. The audit trail ability of the traditional system was overcome by using a normal key. So Cyberlock was introduced to ensure there was an audit trail on all doors.

3. Access control on locks that you can put on traditional EACs such as padlocks and cupboard locks.

3. No more expensive re-key costs associated with losing a Masterkey in a system. Like traditional EACs you blacklist the lost key from the software. Someone has to go to the cylinders and touch them with a key that contains the blacklist. If the lost key is presented to the cylinder with the blacklist its programming is wiped. On the Enterprise software you can programme the other keys to virally distribute that blacklist to other cylinders in the installation.

General notes:

As described above, the Cyberkey system is primarily an 'Offline' access control system where you can restrict end users from using a door based on time of day and day of week parameters, you can also get an audit trail of which doors they have used. These are features a normal masterkeyed system can not give you.

There is a new feature in the system called Flex that allows you to wire up doors making them online and you use cards for these doors. This allows you to use the one software package for online and offline doors. I have not used that feature.

The keys in the system are expensive at around A$100 but it is the key that makes the magic happen. The keys are where the power comes from to operate the lock. These are either battery powered or rechargeable. They are a big key too, like a modern car key.

There is some maintenance that you need to do on the keys and the locks to make sure the contacts are working all the time. It becomes frustrating for customers if they present the key to the lock and it will not make contact. This is primarly on external locks.

We like the product and promote it as a solution to customers. It works well where there is a stable user base that will take care of the keys like a school or utility for example.

Below are some links to blog entries I have made about our experience with Cyberlock: Cyberlock overview, Darwin airport case study, 3G modem to upgrade cyberlocks



Thanks for feedback from the field, Ryan.

One of the large beverage company uses Cyber locks at many locations. Its a solution that has its place and has been around for some years now. Pretty pricey keys though. If your concern is the company or the quality of the device, i would not worry about it. The big question is: with all the technology out there, is it the right fit for your application.

Thank you all for the excellent feedback. I appreciate it!