Data Privacy: Protecting Your Business and Your Customers

Protecting data is good for business. Today’s consumers are increasingly concerned about their privacy, and they’re more likely to conduct business with partners that prioritize data security. Companies in the printing and mailing spaces face an added challenge: ensuring that documents bearing personal information do not accidentally get mailed to the wrong people.

Errors potentially creep into the process at multiple points in the workflow, which poses problems for firms processing documents containing confidential medical or financial information. Mailing operations with inadequate quality controls are at risk, and mail-service providers can lose customers who are seeking vendors that offer greater tracking capabilities as part of their risk-aversion strategy.

By demonstrating a commitment to data privacy, businesses can build trust and credibility with customers. Committing to privacy is also a smart business practice. IBM Security reports the global average cost of a data breach reached $4.45 million in 2023 — an all-time high and a 15% increase over the previous three years. Over 70% of companies worldwide are affected by ransomware and only 4% of them got all their data back, according to cloud-backup software firm Druva, Inc.

To protect data privacy, businesses need to implement robust measures, such as secure servers, firewalls, and encryption. They must educate employees about data best practices and to have a plan in place to respond to data breaches when (not if) they occur. Many experts contend that breaches are inevitable.


Cams Ensure Document Integrity

Companies that process documents containing confidential information need to respond to inquiries about the handling of individual documents, along with the ability to pass government audits. Even if a service provider is not directly involved in the delivery of medical or financial services, they are often considered “business associates” under governmental guidelines. As such, they must follow the regulations, submit to audits and investigations, and may be liable for fines or penalties when inadequate security and control processes can be proven.

Proprietary, camera-based products from DDS, such as iDataAudit and iDataScan, can help identify common security weak points and recommend ways to avoid disaster. For simple, one-camera mailpiece tracking, stand-alone iDataAudit can do the job. For more complex applications, such as matching personalized inserts to personalized letters or verifying data on the front and back of pages, customers can use the scalable vision system called iDataScan.


For enterprise-level work, iDataManager Central Server architecture comprises a suite of DDS software capable of managing information across multiple systems. iDataView connects customer computers to the Central Server database, displaying all current and archived jobs and reports and the up-to-the-second status of work presently in production. Managers can check production from the desktop rather than going to the manufacturing floor. A customizable dashboard enables users to monitor operator and equipment efficiency, job integrity, and more.

Without cam systems to provide piece-level tracking information, responding to inquiries about individual incidents becomes impossible. Assuming all the pages were correctly finished because “no errors were noticed” is no longer good enough. What is required: a verifiable record of the disposition of every page, mailpiece and reprint processed through the facility!


Data Breaches are Costly

Mailpiece tracking and accountability are quickly becoming the minimum requirements to attract all types of mailed communication. This now includes applications where it has never been of great concern before, such as direct-mail advertising. Companies using sophisticated data analytics and appended demographics to create highly personal marketing pieces seek the same tracking and control technology commonplace in the transactional document world.

In most cases of breached security, hackers obtain access to sensitive customer data and threaten to leak said information. Such was the case when a Texas consumer-products manufacturer suffered an attack that led to a $9 million, five-year contract for cybersecurity and managed services – a worthwhile investment considering the company averted disaster. Its customers’ online shopping carts had stopped filling as the clock ticked. The breached company was losing $1 million per diem in net income, coming straight out of its bottom line. Understandably upset about the blackmail attempt, the CEO wanted to give the proverbial finger to the threat actors who had gained backdoor access.

The company reported the ransom note to the FBI. The black hats had posed as good guys who revealed system weak spots and were happy to help fix things: for a price. A subsequent port scan would uncover that a breach was inevitable; the liberal use of default passwords (internally) was a primary culprit.

One industry expert observes that, while “no fun,” the incident-response business and remediation are necessary evils. When faced with the unthinkable occurring, how will your firm react? During such a nightmarish scenario, business continuity is crucial. “The key to the future is not reverting to bad habits,” he emphasizes.