By providing a secure EEPROM (Electrically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory) device or other non-volatile memory (NVM) with a wireless interface as a system operation key (SOK) to control the configurable machine option attributes, various problems associated with machine option configuration and updates may be accommodated. At initial SOK install the identity of the machine is written to the NVM, i.e. the machine serial number. This is performed during the initial machine power up or reboot sequence. As part of the power on or reboot routine the machine will check via the wireless interface to ensure no tampering has taken place and that the machine identity and the NVM serial number location data match. A new swapped in SOK can be installed so long as the NVM serial number location has not been previously written to with a conflicting identification number. The machine will then write the serial number to the new SOK thereby protecting it.