When it comes to sending secure emails, Office 365 email encryption is the solution to use. Email is a powerful technology for official communications. However, consider the small problem that hackers target email for malicious activities. As companies communicate through email, it puts a target on their back.
Nowadays, cybersecurity is a top priority for businesses. A standout cybersecurity practice is using Office 365 email encryption – an Office 365 feature that allows you to send encrypted email messages.
With businesses investing in other aspects of email, such as deliverability, it makes sense to boost email security to the next level. While there might be many tools to test and improve email deliverability, there’s an equal amount of email security practices to protect official communications channels.
But how does email encryption work, and can Office protect your emails from hackers and malicious actors?
You will find the answers to these questions in this article. So with all that said, let’s begin.
Send Encrypted Messages for Extra Security
Protecting communications should be a top priority for businesses that heavily rely on email as a form of business communication. Nowadays, companies use email to communicate within the organization and with suppliers, business partners, and customers.
So it makes sense to ramp up email security. One way to do that is by implementing Office 365 email encryption. With the native email encryption feature of the Office 365 suite, businesses ramp up email security by being able to send encrypted emails.
An encrypted email is difficult to reveal, as Office 365 uses TLS (transport layer security) to secure the connection between two servers. This gives you an added layer of protection that protects sensitive data and prevents hackers from viewing the contents of each email.
How Does Email Encryption Work?
The benefits of Office 365 email encryption are numerous. But how does the service work? Whenever you send an encrypted email, Microsoft makes sure only the intended recipient has the means to view the contents.
This is all thanks to a tool called a decryption key. With Office 365 email encryption, you can specify who can decrypt the email message. Only an authorized recipient with the exact private key that matches the encrypted message’s public key can decrypt it.
More so, Microsoft offers two forms of encryption options. Those are S/MIME encryption and Microsoft 365 Message Encryption. The recipient must also use an email service that supports the encryption options if you want to send an encrypted email. For example, Outlook is an email service that supports S/MIME and Microsoft 365 Message Encryption.
Here is how to send an encrypted message using both S/MIME and Microsoft 365 Message Encryption.
Sending Encrypted Email With S/MIME
The S/MIME encryption standard makes it possible to send encrypted emails to recipients using Outlook. However, before sending an encrypted email with S/MIME, you need to configure the encryption on Outlook.
Here is how to do that.
- Open Outlook, navigate to “File,” and go to the options tab or “Option;”
- Select “Trust Center” > “Trust Center Settings;”
- Look for the “Encrypted Email” option and select “Settings;”
- In “Certificates and Algorithms,” select the “S/MIME” encryption option;
- Press “OK.”
Now you have S/MIME encryption enabled. The next time you compose an email, select the “Encryption” button to encrypt the message.
Sending Encrypted Email With Microsoft 365 Message Encryption
Microsoft 365 message encryption is available only with an Office 365 Enterprise E3 license. This means an E3 license with Outlook will allow you to use the encryption option. To encrypt email with Office 365 message encryption, do the following.
- When composing an email, choose the “Encrypt” option from the top menu bar under “Options;”
- You will see a list of available restrictions, such as “Encrypt-Only,” “Do Not Forward,” “Confidential \ All Employees,” etc.
- Choose the restriction, finish composing the email message, and click “Send.”
Both encryption options will help protect sensitive information from getting into the hands of the wrong people. Additionally, it will add an additional layer of security that prevents unrestricted access to people within your organization.
Why the Need to Encrypt Emails?
Email encryption secures email communications. The need to do that is down to an increased trend in cybercrime. According to the 2021 IC3 report, there was a 7% increase in cybercrime complaints from 2020. We mentioned that email is the preferred medium for sending malicious links, attachments, and malware. One mistake, and you could be giving control over your email to a malicious actor.
That could potentially compromise the entire organization, as the hacker will have access to all of your emails. If you have sensitive or high-value information in your inbox, there is a high chance the hacker will steal it.
By encrypting email messages and specifying who can and cannot decrypt the message, you protect yourself and the recipient from harm. Since the recipient’s email address serves as the private key to decrypt, only the recipient can access the email.
Email encryption adds an extra layer of security that protects your email communications. Considering the emphasis, we place on email to safely deliver sensitive information to clients, partners, employers, suppliers, etc., what better way to protect email communications than with Office 365 email encryption.