You're an information management and security professional. It was just another ordinary day in the office, and then it happened. You were asked to reset a few passwords, upgrade the operating system on a few corporate laptops, and do a FIPS code lookup.

You work hard and have built a reputation of authority in your office. You didn't want to let your manager down and ask her what a FIPS code lookup was. So you jumped on your favorite search engine, which brought you here.

If you're feeling confused, you're in good hands.

What Are FIPS Codes?

A FIPS (Federal Information Processing System) code is a 5-digit code, made up of a combination of your state code (2 digits) and your county code (3 digits).

Similar to how the U.S. Postal Service uses ZIP codes to expedite mail sorting and delivery, many government agencies use FIPS codes for other local matters, such as the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Weather Service, and the U.S. Health and Human Services agency to help with data analysis and research purposes. They were developed and are regulated by the National Insitute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Why Should I Do a FIPS Code Lookup by ZIP Code?

Another popular use for FIPS codes is for data and content encryption and authentication – like with digital signatures or other identity management protocols, like for multifactor authentication. Leading telecommunications companies like 8x8 ensure their services meet security compliance standards like the U.S. Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), FIPS 140-2, for data encryption.

This ensures our clients, such as government organizations, educational institutions, and businesses that prioritize confidentiality that their voice and data communications are transmitted securely through our application. FIPS numbers are also in use in United States territories like Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Canada also uses FIPS codes.

FIPS Codes as a Data Security Practice

Best practices for multifactor authentication suggest that you use something you know, like a password, with something you have, like a code you receive through an SMS message or otherwise.

If you are using a single sign-on (SSO) application in your organization, a data security administrator can do a quick FIPS code lookup by your ZIP code and include it in the encryption algorithm in a user's profile to ensure they can access your VoIP and unified communications applications securely.

Where Can I Do a FIPS Code Lookup?

Whether you need to just get a single code for your office or if you have multiple locations across the U.S., you can quickly find your local FIPS codes at the U.S. Census Bureau website.

The latest standard for FIPS codes is ANSI INCITS 31:2009. FIPS codes are also used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in times of hurricanes, forest fires, and other natural disasters.

Keeping FIPS Codes Handy

Do you foresee needing FIPS codes on a regular basis? They are easily accessible through an Android mobile app and downloadable spreadsheets for Washington D.C., the 50 states, territories, and freely associated states and outlying areas. If you manage your company's identity and access management applications and build algorithms, bookmarking these linked pages will save you time and effort.

In industries like the government (FISMA), healthcare (HIPAA), and retail (PCI DSS), there are many mandatory compliance standards to meet. FIPS 140-2, like PCI, is a standard which applies across multiple industries. By contracting with a telecommunications service provider that is already certified to meet these standards, it should give you and your colleagues peace of mind.

Safeguarding Business-Critical Systems with FIPS Codes

Hopefully, this information helps to demystify how to do a FIPS code lookup, and why you'd want to do such a thing, to begin with. You can use FIPS codes to safeguard VoIP and UC apps and other business-critical systems. Or if you are working on geographically diverse research projects or data analysis, they can help you identify patterns and trends from across the United States and its territories.

When it comes to security, 8x8 provides reliable and compliant cloud solutions at a demanding level rarely seen by other cloud providers. Don't take your chances with a subpar cloud-based telecom system. Call 1-866-879-8647 or fill the form below to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 Product Specialist.


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