Electronic and Fingerprint Locks for Filing Cabinets

Close up of an electronic lock on a Phoenix filing cabinet.

An electronic lock fitted to a Phoenix Excel fireproof filing cabinet.

Recently, electronic locks have become more commonplace as either optional extras or standard fittings on fireproof filing cabinets. So what benefits does an electronic lock provide over the standard key lock?

Naturally, key locking is still the most common method of securing a filing cabinet. It’s tried and trusted technology, simple to use, requires little maintenance and is cost-effective. However, key locks are increasingly vulnerable to certain kinds of attack, particularly as lock picking tools and techniques are now widely circulated on the Internet. High security key locks may help, but these are rarely installed on filing cabinets. Keys also must be hidden or kept somewhere safe, otherwise a burglar will easily find them. There’s also the added danger of losing the key and not being able to open your filing cabinet.

An electronic lock eliminates these inconveniences. There’s no key for you to lose or for a burglar to find. Nor can someone pick the lock with a few cheap tools bought online. The only way past an electronic lock is to know the PIN or to break into the filing cabinet by sheer brute force, which will quickly attract attention.

Electronic locks may incorporate a variety of other features that provide further security. These might include:

  • Time delay, so that the filing cabinet can only be opened after a specific period.
  • Wrong code lockout, which disables the lock if the wrong code is entered too many times.
  • Built-in alarm, so that an audible warning will sound if a burglar attempts to break into the filing cabinet.
  • Access control, so that only certain members of staff can open certain drawers.

Should you forget your PIN, most electronic locks will either have a master override code or come with an override key, so you’ll never be locked away from your documents.

The Phoenix Excel FS2244E fireproof filing cabinet

The Phoenix Excel FS2244E Fireproof Filing Cabinet.

A more modern form of electronic lock incorporates a fingerprint scanning module, allowing a filing cabinet to be unlocked with the touch of a finger. In the past, these scanners were unreliable, but improvements in technology have resulted in scanners that are fast, accurate and almost foolproof.

Fingerprint locks share many of the same benefits as electronic locks, with the added advantage that there’s no code to forget or key to lose. All you require is your finger; should you happen to lose that, gaining access to a filing cabinet is probably the least of your worries!

While fingerprint locks can be more expensive than standard electronic locks, they also offer a greater level of security. As with normal electronic locks, they will usually have some means of overriding the lock in the event of a malfunction or emergency.

The Phoenix Excel series is among those fireproof filing cabinets available with key locking, electronic locking or fingerprint locking.

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