Companies such as Pitney Bowes have established offsite mail screening facilities, in which workers also digitize certain levels of mail so that client employees can receive the mail via their local area network.

Mike Critelli is CEO of Pitney Bowes. Most business executives know the company thanks to its long-running in-house postage metering systems equipment. Today Pitney Bowes provides a comprehensive suite of mailstream software, hardware, services and solutions to help manage the flow of documents, letters and packages into, within and out of organizations of all sizes.

Critelli and Security talked on the five year remembrance of an anthrax attack in the United States. A series of contaminated mailings arrived in Washington, D.C., and Florida, killing five people and hurting more. No one has been arrested for the crime.

Security solutions from Pitney Bowes enhance the safety, confidentiality, integrity and preservation of mail and documents daily and during disaster situations. Solutions screen for suspicious packages, hazardous substances and security risks in addition to enabling disaster prevention and recovery.

Security Magazine: What do you see is your business profile specific to products and services?

Critelli:We provide a comprehensive set of solutions centering on postal and carrier systems that work better for everyone. This includes hardware and software for addressing, mailing, sorting and tracking. We help our customers communicate better with their customers. This includes marketing services, printing management software and fulfillment. We are there to help people manage incoming and mailstream workflow as well as secure mail solutions.

“Ideally, organizations or their service providers should follow and secure the flow of mail, packages and documents from origin to destination. For some, this includes outsourcing of the initial processing of mail and even digitizing appropriate mail,” said Mike Critelli, CEO of Pitney Bowes.

Security Magazine: With readers keenly aware of security threats, especially through mail, document and package handling, tell us how Pitney Bowes views this sector.

Critelli:There are a number of important products and services we provide in this area. We concentrate on solutions and services that help our customers screen things as they come in. Such screening ranges from visual to biohazards. Ideally our approach encourages enterprises to use techniques to track items from origin to destination. In the long run, Homeland Security – working with businesses – could do itself a favor and develop a trusted sender program similar to the (airport) trusted traveler program where people are prescreened to simplify some security steps later in the security process.

A first goal is to put markings on packages to identify the sender and show handling activity from one point to another. Sender identification is important.

A second step is processing and screening of mail offsite such as what the U.S. House of Representatives mandates. Mail first goes offsite to a processing facility with the specialized equipment and operators to effectively screen.

Whether onsite or off, enterprise may wish to take certain levels of mail and scan them into digital format. With this level of security, the organization also gains efficiency by turning paper material into digital files carried over the local area net.

We are seeing customers more selective of what is delivered to them in the original format -- first class mail, periodicals and packages, as examples.

Security Magazine: With many readers overseeing security operations that are international, are there special needs for cross-border mail?

Critelli:Mail in the U.S. is based on a track and trace system. For cross border mail, the familiar barcode printing on mail is not available in a lot of (international) markets. There are outsourcing advantages, including increased security from specialty staffs often offsite and using specialty equipment, for enterprises handling U.S. and cross border mail.

Security Magazine: What do see in the future that should be implemented or will be?

Critelli:There will be more pressure to verify and route mail with security needs in mind. It makes sense to segregate letters and packages more surely from commercial airlines. That’s something that has to be, I believe. Detection based on technology needs to improve – America needs to speed up detection so mail can be cleared after checking for numerous security threats including biohazards.