I was at a security meeting for one of my projects recently, and I heard the security consultant refer to the “secured side of the door,” meaning the inside – the area that is protected by the security system.

I don’t know about you but my brain was imprinted long ago with the method of determining the hand of a door, starting with, “Stand on the secure side of the door – the side where you would insert your key.”  When I heard the term “secured side” I started questioning myself…maybe senility is already setting in.  I went to the place where I store most of my brain-power these days – Google, and the first result was the Wikipedia entry for “Door.” In that article it states that “For most of the world, door swings, or handing, are determined while standing on the outside or less secure side of the door while facing the door (i.e., standing on the side you use the key on, going from outside to inside, or from public to private).”

Huh?  This is the opposite of what I was taught.  I hate it when you’re positive about something and then you start to doubt yourself.  Luckily, the 2nd and 3rd Google results were door handing instructions that included the description of the secure side – the side of the door where you would insert your key.  This is how I learned it, and how I had it spelled out in my door handing post from way back (I added this to the FAQ page).  I checked with a few of my hardware pals and they remembered it the same way I did – the secure side is outside – where you would insert your key.  Then I checked with some security consultants and they confirmed that their terminology was the “secured side,” meaning the inside – the area that was secured.

Neither industry could come up with an official definition published anywhere…they are just terms that have, over time, become part of the terminology.  Since the two terms are so similar – separated only by one letter – and have the opposite meaning, it’s important to be aware of the potential conflict.  For most door applications the secure/secured sides of the door should be obvious, but occasionally it could cause some confusion.

So, I ask you – what terminology do you use and where did you learn it?

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