Microsoft Encrypted Email
Security is an essential component of business communication. Businesses look for privacy and security as non-negotiable features when it comes to business email. Microsoft provides high standards of privacy and security as an integral feature of their Office 365 encrypted email solution. As a part of a larger and popular ecosystem of solutions and tools, this is a feature that makes Office 365 encrypted email a veritable resource for businesses looking for a private and secure means of communication.
The entire Microsoft Office 365 suite has baked-in security features that make this a popular solution for businesses and individual users alike. Office 365 encrypted email is branded as Office 365 Message Encryption or OME. This feature is based on Azure Rights Management and capable of fully encrypting all emails sent through Office 365.
OME has support for encrypted emails not only within the same platform but also outside it.
This means that businesses can use this to send encrypted emails to outside addresses, even to popular email services like Gmail and Outlook.
Let us take a closer look at Microsoft’s encrypted email plan.
Email encryption works by using a public encryption key to scramble and obfuscate the text data of the email. The encrypted message can be decrypted and read only by the recipient who possesses the private key corresponding to that public key. If anyone other than the intended recipient receives or intercepts the mail, the contents would be completely incomprehensible.
The encryption in Office 365 mail brings to the table many important benefits and features. Let us take a closer look.
- Encrypted email originating from Office 365 mailboxes can be sent to any email user inside or outside the organization irrespective of the email provider of the recipient.
- For B2C and B2B emails, customizable rights management service templates and do not forward capabilities are available.
- Users can utilize the email address of the recipient as the public key for encryption, thus removing the need for additional security certificates.
- In a message thread, each message can be separately encrypted.
- There is no need for any intermediate software or web client as emails are delivered directly to the recipient.
- Any device capable of accessing the internet with a web browser can be used to send encrypted emails.
- The encryption process is automated, precluding the need for expensive infrastructure.
- Users can have granular control over the encryption process for more customizability, including configuring transport rules, using rights management templates, and using their own encryption keys.
In a nutshell, these are just some of the most important features and benefits that users can derive from Microsoft’s encrypted email solution.
Office 365 Encrypted Email Setup
OME comes included as a part of specific Office 365 subscription tiers covering educational, enterprise, and government use. However, for users with other subscription plans, there is also the option to purchase a standalone subscription for the Azure Information Protection Plan which contains OME.
With the appropriate subscription level, OME is automatically enabled on the account.
From there on, sending an encrypted email is a simple task. The user just needs to access Outlook through the desktop app or the web interface, compose the email, and add the recipients. The encryption policy can then be accessed from the Permissions button on the toolbar. The user can then choose the right encryption policy and send the email.
Custom encryption policies can be called to action to further increase security or put additional restrictions on sharing and access once the email has been sent and received. Using the Encrypt option applies basic protection with no further restrictions. The Do Not Forward policy, on the other hand, provides encryption with an additional restriction on forwarding. This way, if a recipient forwards a message to another party, they would not be able to view the contents of the mail.
Another useful feature is the ability to set up mail flow rules. This allows users to specify certain conditions that need to be met in order for the email message to be encrypted.
Conversely, you can also set up certain conditions that will remove the encryption from the message. This is a convenient way to fine-tune the encryption setup after a new deployment of Office 365 mail.
Other vital features include the ability to turn on access to the OME portal using email IDs issues by other email providers and social accounts, using automatic timed message expiration, the ability to revoke emails, and the ability to generate one-time passcodes to give specific users one-time access.
Evolution and Adoption
With compliance norms getting tougher around the world and increasing instances of data breaches costing businesses dearly, it is clearly a good move for businesses to plug all possible security loopholes. Encrypted email can very well be a paramount cog in that wheel that allows businesses to safeguard a pivotal aspect of its communication.
Since Microsoft started rebuilding its solutions and services to cater to the cloud economy, a lot has changed in its service offerings and the brand has become a major player in the realm of cloud services.
Along with the rising adoption of Office 365 as an all-around solution for businesses, the adoption of its encrypted email plan has also grown over time. Microsoft has also kept consistently updating the encrypted email platform and adding more features to keep users attracted to this solution.
The encrypted email solution has added features like support for custom branded emails, more control over encrypting email attachments, extended encryption support for PDF files, using the unified DLP platform for email encryption based on DLP policies, email revocation, and better reporting and analytics.
With a focus on consolidating these features, it can well be said that the Microsoft encrypted email platform looks poised to garner even higher levels of adoption going into the future.
Businesses are waking up to a growing need to encrypt sensitive communication to protect business-critical information and put to bed privacy concerns. Using encrypted email also bodes well for businesses that are looking to achieve compliance regarding security and privacy issues and avoid data leaks. Keeping all this in mind, it seems like a salient idea for businesses to hop on board.