Address Verification

Virtual Address Privacy and Security: All You Need to Know

By 1 May 2024May 23rd, 2024No Comments
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Virtual Address Privacy and Security: All You Need to Know

All those remote business owners, entrepreneurs, digital nomads, or expats who often fall behind collecting their physical business mail can now enjoy a real address without the need for an office. A virtual address has come to their rescue by offering an excellent mailing experience, which is more flexible, versatile, and simple than anything provided by physical addresses.

But, before jumping on the bandwagon, many individuals and business owners have one common question in their mind: will the use of a virtual address for postal mail compromise data security and privacy in favor of agility? For anyone having this or other concerns regarding virtual address use, we have written this detailed post covering everything about this topic. So, let's read to find out what it is like to use virtual addresses. 

What is a Virtual Address?

A virtual address, or a virtual business address, is a real physical address that a company uses to run its operations. It is called a virtual mailbox that you rent at a mail center, close or distant from your residence or office. Quite similar to a Virtual Private Network (VPN), it is used to hide your actual identity (address) from the public for any given reason. You can use it to receive and send mail and for services needing you to provide address information.

The virtual address can be at a ship store or an executive business center in an office building. Usually, providers are located in places with many other businesses, like downtown areas of cities, rather than in residential areas. These addresses have been around for a number of years, available today with the exception that exclusive software or other digital means are used to access and manage virtual addresses remotely. These are professionally staffed and full-service locations. All in all, it is a location that you can use in place of a physical address.

Read More: HIPAA Compliant Direct Mail

Types of Virtual Addresses:

A number of virtual addresses are there. Of all addresses, some are more suited to certain people. Plus, every address comes with varying features, functionality, and of course, cost. Here are the different types of virtual addresses:

  • Virtual PO Box – Although it is a cheaper option to receive letters, virtual PO boxes have more restrictions than others
  • Virtual Street Address – This type comes with all important features and is best suited for personal use
  • Virtual Business Address – The right type for businesses needing a virtual address for various reasons
  • Virtual Returns Address – Ideal option for online sellers to receive things when they are sent back
  • Virtual Redirection Address – A good choice for redirecting mail for any reason. You can use it as your new destination address to get redirected mail
  • Virtual Parcel Address – It gives you a delivery location to be used before your parcel is forwarded to you elsewhere.

Read More: Address Verification API

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How Does Virtual Addresses Work?

You might get confused if you hear about the virtual address for the first time. It is a service, often called digital mail, virtual mailbox, and virtual mail, that lets people receive and respond to postal mail even when they are not in the office space. An elementary explanation of a virtual address is as follows:

  • You select an address from a virtual address service
  • The virtual address service receives the mail sent to that address
  • The mail is then scanned and uploaded by the virtual address service to a cloud-based service where you can see it

This is the most basic process; however, the details of what a virtual mailing address is and how a service actually operates vary a lot. And those details are crucial when it comes to the security and privacy of your confidential information. 

Read More: Mail Forwarding Services: Benefits and Top 10 Mail Forwarding Service Companies

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Uses of Virtual Address:

In all respects, a virtual address can give home-based or small business owners the best of all possible worlds. It not only helps them present a professional appearance to their customers but also let them work from the comfort and convenience of their own home. Individuals and families can also use the virtual address for various reasons, including sending and receiving letters, forwarding letters to other locations, digitizing posts, storing mail items, etc. Plus, students or freelancers can use a virtual address to keep their personal mailing addresses private. Those who are sole proprietors or run a large corporation can also make use of a virtual address for regular business communication, as well as, any legal correspondence from the government.

Key Benefits of Virtual Addresses:

Many businesses go for virtual addresses for their company. Of all the wonderful benefits, here are the most important ones:

Professional Presence

No matter what your industry is, a professional appearance can be important to build credibility in the sight of potential customers and keep up the trust of your current clients. Typically, virtual addresses are located in commercial areas rather than localities. So, having a virtual office address on the company’s letterhead, business cards, emails, and other print marketing materials presents a more professional presentation of a home-based business owner.

Extended Privacy

If your business is online or you work from your home, this information will be out there for the world to see – even if you don’t want it to be. And yet you try to restrict where you include your address, some legal reporting, and filings, like information of the registered agent for your company, become a matter of public record. To many people, this visibility can cause a rise in some major privacy considerations. If you face such an issue, the virtual address is your best bet for eliminating such concerns.

Better Legal Flexibility

Based on your location, you may run into many different restrictions on operating a home business. For instance, zoning restrictions may prevent you from legally running a business from your home. Or those who are on rent may have a clause in their lease forbidding them from operating a business from their rented premises. However, with a virtual address, your home address would not be your legal business address.

Read More: Best Ways to Print and Mail Legal Documents Securely and with Automation

How Do Virtual Address Services Ensure Security?

Every virtual address service strives to ensure the security of your information. Some of the best practices that providers follow include a secure facility that has constant monitoring, restricted access technology, background checks, full training of employees having access to mail, barcode tracking of mail items, onsite destruction of mail items under supervision, and mail items only opened/scanned with permission from the owner. The establishment of these practices helps with the prioritization of security, accuracy, and efficiency.

Each arrived piece gets its own identifier – a barcode used to inspect operations performed on that piece of mail. It works when the request prompts an internet work order. On receiving the work order, the operator scans the barcode on the right bin and checks the mail before anything gets shredded. All processes ensure that each action taken matches the customer’s intent. Also, the customer can see a detailed report of every transaction. So, this process gives customers quick and accurate service while offering them the greatest level of security and data privacy.

How Do Virtual Address Services Keep Up Privacy?

At the time of turning over your mail elsewhere, you want to ensure that it is in the right hands and the address service is managing it in a manner safest for your privacy. Now, how can this service ensure that your data privacy is maintained?

First and foremost, the answer to this question focuses on the facilities where mail is received and kept. The VA service that is focused on protecting your data will have procedures ready to restrict access to that mail. While the provider’s virtual addresses work country-wide, their facilities are monitored almost always. Best-in-class restricted access technology is used to make sure that only approved workers enter the facilities.

The next part is the employee practices to ensure the privacy of the data. This service screens potential employees and has full oversight of their actions in order to avert any privacy breaches. Providers carry out background checks on the entire workforce and need exhaustive training for employees handling mail. In addition, they maintain total oversight throughout the mail-handling process.

The last part of their business to focus on is the processes involved with handling mail. No matter how much secure your facility is or well-trained, your employees are, if the VA service has inadequate security measures built into its processes, your privacy will not be guarded. Their non-existence could lead to an employee unintentionally scanning and sending confidential information to the mistaken person. In all, the merger of secure facilities, assessed and trained workforce, and highly-developed processes mean these services can make customers feel assured that their confidential information will remain private.

Read More: Benefits of Mail Scanning Services

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Conclusion

No matter at what point your business is, you can always go for a virtual address. Get a virtual address prior to filing your formation documents so that you can keep your personal information private on public documents. While this may not be a good option for businesses on a tight budget, companies wanting to expand to new or many locations should definitely give it a shot. So, carry out careful research and pick a trusted service that keeps your business mail secure yet provides you straightforward virtual access via a private browser or encrypted emails.

Lastly, Our best-in-class address verification software and award-winning print and mail services provide you with an additional capability if a low deliverability rate is an issue. Our team has designed PostGrid so that anyone can integrate it easily with all their existing data sources like system solutions, CRMs, web- applications, and so on.

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