One question that understandably arises when someone is looking into using a virtual mailbox service is, “how safe are they?”
It is a very valid concern, after all, you will be entrusting a company to receive your physical mail on your behalf. This could be banks statements, personal checks, letters, and packages.
If you are running a business the mail items could be very sensitive in terms of your accounts, invoices, and other materials that certainly should not be handled carefully.
As a sobering thought, research suggests that almost half the adult population in the United States fell victim to a type of mail theft in 2020. A lot of the time, you may not even know it has occurred.
How do virtual mailbox services lessen the risk of their customers falling prey to such crimes?
That’s exactly what we will look into today.
Virtual Mailbox Security Protocols
The issue of security protocols is something you should be aware of when choosing a mailbox provider.
During the process of your mail being opened by staff, scanned, tagged, and stored there is potential for security threats (that might lead to identity theft) every step of the way.
The due diligence of your provider is vital in stopping this and for keeping your mail safe.
Here is a list of the minimum security protocols you should look for in a mailbox provider.
Security Protocol Checklist When Choosing a Virtual Mailbox Service
- Security background checks on employees
- Secured mail processing facility
- Video monitoring of areas with mail handling operations
- Restricted access to areas with mail handling operations
- An online platform (web and phone apps) with sophisticated in-built security
- 2-factor authorization on user logins and accounts
- Item tracking on all mail items
- Secure storage and disposal of mail
- Employee training on privacy protocols, such as HIPAA
- Secure check deposit processes
- Electronic data protection procedures in place
How mailbox providers work to ensure the security of your mail
We have discussed the process of how physical mail becomes digital mail here. However, as a summary of the security protocols involved, much can be understood from the points listed above.
A customers’ privacy and security have to be the main priority during every step of the process.
Staff will have had background checks and only those with relevant access will be able to handle your mail. Staff will also be trained on privacy laws and will meet HIPAA requirements.
Furthermore, cameras will monitor activity throughout the operations center.
The provider should also regularly audit its security standards in order to maintain the protocols in place, to ensure they are working as they should, and to keep its certification active.
The same applies to mail items in the digital domain. Once they have been scanned the technology involved in keeping digital content safe has to be up to relevant standards.
This includes encrypting data, building robust firewalls, implementing intrusion detection, and other quality assurance protocols.
Do all mailbox service providers meet these standards?
Virtual mail providers have to have sufficient security protocols in place in order to run their business. They will face closure if they do not.
However, there are varying degrees with which the standards are met, and how much information the provider will reveal on its process of meeting them.
This is understandable as disclosing security policies too publicly can make it easier for criminals to target the provider. In other words, they can use the information to find potential flaws.
Virtual Mailbox Services – Security Protocols Compared
Earth Class Mail
Earth Class Mail has one of the most stringent sets of security protocols of the current providers.
You will find all of what we have spoken about thus far within its mail sorting office and across its digital platforms.
Whether this is because of its position as one of the best business-orientated mailbox providers available, or just knowing what customers want.
Either way you look at it if you want assured security control these guys are hard to beat.
US Global Mail
Us Global Mail is another mailbox provider with exceptional security protocols. They manage this due to the fact they have only one available address through which mail is processed.
This tight, concentrated approach means that all security measures are targeted at one location.
This makes ensuring that security policies are followed an easier task for the company. The above-mentioned protocols are in place and they can be audited, measured for success, and tracked all in place.
Read our review of US Global Mail here.
Anytime Mailbox also provides security measures that meet industry standards.
They do this across thousands of virtual addresses by licensing software products and security processes to the business mailing centers that form part of their network.
This allows the company to operate safe mailbox services around the world, which has, in turn, made them very popular with expats, travelers and digital nomads.
There is a small trade-off when dealing with so many addresses that are run by outside operations, however.
A customer’s mail is only as safe as the franchise owner that is in charge of the virtual address location you have chosen.
While there are standards in place, policies will vary for how each address in terms of building, background checks, and other areas of security.
Read our review of Anytime Mailbox here.
iPostal1 Mail is another provider that offers thousands of addresses reliant on the partnership model. These partnerships mean that each individual vendor will differ in the way that it meets the security standards in place.
That being said, the security protocols are tight, it just means there is no uniform approach like you get with a service such as Earth Class Mail and US Global Mail.
Read our review of iPostal1 here
Traveling Mailbox is another provider that has tight security protocols in place. The company is completely HIPPA compliant and runs background checks on all relevant staff members.
Multi-Factor Authentication Options exist on its online platform, and data stored in the cloud is encrypted and has regular backups. They are also testing sending data securely over VPN.
Essentially, there is little to fault with the companies’ approach to both mail and online security.
Read our review of Traveling Mailbox here.
Virtual Mailbox security is obviously incredibly important and all providers take it seriously. They would not be able to operate if they didn’t.
Still, it is worth looking at the measures that each service provides in terms of security so that you are aware of how your mail is being taken care of.
I’m a 25 year veteran of USPS. I’m retired now, but as the editor of Mailbox Master, I can’t quite remove myself from the carrier industry just yet. 🙂