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Loss Prevention Insight: Traditional Locks vs IC Cores

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Physical security for a store’s loss prevention can take many forms. Whether you want to secure your inventory, guard your company’s proprietary information, or keep your employees safe, you’re most likely using a physical lock and key. Traditional locks and interchangeable core locks are the two most common lock types you can choose from. But which is better for your organization?

There are three things to consider when choosing between a traditional lock and an interchangeable core lock:


There are two separate costs that need to be covered when it comes to the difference between traditional locks and IC core locks: Upfront costs and long-term costs. Traditional locks generally have a lower upfront cost due to their simple design and dependence on older lock technology. They’re cheaper and easier to install compared to IC cores. This means you can spend less to get your organization equipped with traditional locks than you would to install IC core locks.

But that lower upfront cost comes at a price: In the inevitable situation that a key goes missing and a rekey is needed, traditional locks need to be rekeyed by a locksmith or replacing lock hardware. While the price of rekeying by a locksmith varies, it’s not unreasonable to expect to pay somewhere between $150 and $450 per rekey, with additional fees added for after-hours or weekend calls. That can add up in the long term. IC core locks, on the other hand, may cost more upfront to purchase and install, but they eliminate the need to call a locksmith for a rekey. In the event that locks need to be changed, you can simply remove the core of the lock and replace it with a new one. In the long term, IC cores cost you less money.


The financial cost isn’t the only factor worth considering when choosing a lock style. You also want to think about how a particular lock style might affect the logistics of your organization. A certain lock style may be more convenient than another for your particular business.

Traditional locks may be more convenient for a much smaller organization with a limited budget, fewer staff, and very low turnover. That’s because they’re cheaper and quicker to install for an organization that has few locks and just needs them installed quickly.

IC cores may be better suited for larger businesses with multiple locations, a large pool of employees and higher turnover. Because the risk of a key going missing is higher, IC cores are a more convenient option.


Which lock type provides more security? The truth is, when it comes to regular day-to-day operations, traditional locks and IC cores provide about the same amount of security. The big difference comes in the event of needing to rekey. When a key goes missing, a security breach could happen at any moment. The sooner your locks are changed, either by rekeying a traditional lock or by swapping to a new IC core, the sooner your organization is secure again.

When you’re at risk of a security breach, every second matters. And when seconds matter, the locksmith could be days (or even weeks for larger facilities) away. Since traditional locks require a locksmith callout for a rekey, you could be at risk of a security breach for a lot longer than you’d hoped. With IC cores on the other hand, swapping to a new core takes only moments without needing to call a locksmith.

Now that you know the main differences between traditional locks and IC cores, you may be wondering which one is right for you? The good news is there’s no need to exclusively use one or the other. If one location in your organization would benefit from the added security of IC cores but another location would be better suited to traditional locks, it’s perfectly reasonable to use them both. Remember that locks are tools, and it’s necessary to use the right tool for the job.

Still not sure which is right for you? Check out another blog post we wrote, The Best Locks for Your Organization.

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