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How to achieve world-class print and mail compliance with your business

How to achieve world-class print and mail compliance with your business

Think of all the sensitive mail that you, as a consumer, receive each day. After a regular health checkup, your primary care provider might mail you an office visit summary, perhaps with prescription information. Separately, you might also receive a disclosure in the mail from your health insurance company, explaining what payments were made for your visit.

How would you feel if either of these statements were sent to your next door neighbour’s house instead? How about a credit card bill? Auto insurance policy? Mortgage notice? Tax forms?

All of these documents have private information that is meant to stay that way – private. When sensitive customer information ends up in the wrong envelope or delivered to the wrong address, it poses security risks to the consumer and serious compliance risks to the company that sent it. According to the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach is around $4 million USD, which demonstrates the considerable financial cost of insecure information.

That’s why enterprise mail operations need to stay on top of print and mail compliance. If your organisation is on the wrong end of a compliance dispute, you could be forced to pay millions of dollars in fines or face serious reputational risk. By understanding how you are responsible for sensitive consumer information, and then making technology and process changes within your mail operations to secure this information, you can improve your ability to stay compliant.

Pick Your Poison: Regulated Communications by Industry

Every mail operation should carefully manage customers’ personally identifiable information (PII). PII includes anything that could distinguish an individual’s identity either alone or if combined with other information. That means businesses need to secure any mail sent that might contain a person’s name, date or place of birth, mother’s maiden name and other distinguishing facts. Countries have national privacy protection laws to regulate PII, like Japan’s Act on the Protection of Personal Information, Australia’s Privacy Act of 1988 or India’s Information Technology Rules, 2011.

Under the umbrella of these privacy laws, PII is regulated across a number of industries. In the area of public health, privacy laws oversee compliance for healthcare providers and insurers, requiring the secure transmission of private healthcare information. Your mail operation needs to secure patient bills, notices and statements sent through the mail, as well as disclosure forms.

In consumer banking or lending, the regulations control how financial institutions collect, disclose and safeguard private financial details. This could affect how you mail billing or account statements, credit risk disclosures, collection letters and even welcome letters. This could apply not just to banks or lenders, but also insurance companies that send out policy notifications and credit card companies that mail credit documentation letters.

Another challenge is the sheer volume of material businesses produce that could potentially contain PII. While increasing print volumes creates a growth opportunity for mail service bureaus, it also means even more sensitive information to securely print, insert and sort.

Capabilities That Help Ensure Print and Mail Compliance

How do you ensure that your mail operations are effectively securing PII and meeting industry and federal regulations? By creating a tightly controlled and efficient mail centre that incorporates the very best in world-class operational technology and compliance capabilities at every step of the process.

For example, with a printing system, you can print codes on each page and scan each piece as it is printed to implement tracking and ensure accurate communications. Automated resynchronisation and reprinting solves multi-stream printing challenges and helps you create reports for tracking and auditing purposes. Additionally, duplex verification ensures the integrity of each mailpiece by reading codes on both sides of each page to prevent out-of-sequence printing.

Intelligent printing systems can inspect for the presence or absence of values such as MICR print codes used in check printing, the readability of postal or other barcodes, colour accuracy for brand logos, colour consistency between jobs and across fleets of printers, and calibration tracking to insure that a numeral “8” doesn’t become a “6.” 

A modern inserting system with file-based processing facilitates compliance and quality by creating a traceability record for every mailpiece that can be monitored throughout its lifecycle. Inserting privacy technology can even implement in-line, high-speed weighing capabilities to ensure each mailpiece includes the proper contents. High-integrity mail and parcel sorters can accurately scan and sort mailpieces at a high speed, ensuring you don’t have to slow down operations to address compliance.

Benefits of a Trusted Print and Mail Compliance Partner

Ultimately, your goal as a mail operator should be to achieve full mail chain of custody, automatically tracking and tracing mail pieces from finishing through to sorting and then to hand-off to the postal service. As your mail solutions partner, Pitney Bowes can help businesses address end-to-end compliance needs with the latest technology solutions and expert compliance services.

One American provider of printing and mailing services for the finance and healthcare industries upgraded its environment with a modern inserting system, document product software and data management solution from Pitney Bowes. As a result, the company has been able to reduce downtime between jobs, save money in reduced staffing jobs and process mail at a higher rate of efficiency and integrity. All the while, the operator can send up to 25 million pieces of sensitive mail each month with assurances of compliance and security.

That’s what’s possible when you engineer your mail centre for operational excellence. As regulators draft tighter compliance mandates and customer expectations for privacy become even higher, you can continue to meet and exceed internal and external standards.

Pitney Bowes is a trusted partner to mail operators looking to consistently satisfy industry and federal compliance. Learn more about print and mail compliance solutions from Pitney Bowes, including our high-integrity mail finishing solutions and expert mail professional services and consulting.