How to Encrypt Emails in Outlook

A study of IT leaders across the US and UK revealed that 95% of leaders believe data is most at risk when using emails. Additionally, 83% of organizations have experienced email data breaches, out of which human error accounted for 24%.

Another report says that nearly two-thirds of organizations that fell victim to a data breach hadn’t encrypted their data. With email continuing to be the dominant form of business communication, the case for email encryption can’t be stronger!

Most businesses use Microsoft Outlook to share emails often containing sensitive information like personally identifiable information (PII), credit information, meeting agendas, budget documents, IT tickets, client information, etc. With so much confidential information being exchanged, it’s critical to secure emails in Outlook, considering rising cyber threats to businesses.

Furthermore, stringent data privacy regulations like HIPAA and GDPR, among others, regulate how PII should be treated. Incorrect handling of client data can cause companies to incur fines of up to €20 million!

As Microsoft Outlook continues to be one of the most widely used email clients, let’s explore how you can encrypt your emails in Outlook.

How to Send Encrypted Emails in Outlook

There are two primary encryption Office 365 Message Encryption options to secure and send encrypted emails in Outlook.

Option 1: Office 365 Message Encryption

You can use this option only if you have Office 365 email account or 365 subscriptions. (The encryption option is not available in Outlook 2013 and 2016 versions, or Microsoft Office one-time license purchases.) Plus, you can send an encrypted email to any email client – on Outlook servers or other email networks, such as Gmail.

Office 365 Message Encryption is a four-step process:

  • Compose a new email like you normally do.
  • Click on “Options” in the message bar and select “Encrypt” from the dropdown.
  • Apply the relevant settings.
  • Send encrypted message.

Your recipients will receive an HTML message, which they can download and open in a web browser or mobile app. However, there are no restrictions on attachments when it comes to protection – meaning, the recipient can choose to download them on their local machines, print, or forward them to others.

Option 2: Certificate-Based Encryption or S/MIME

This encryption technique is a bit complex than the Office 365 Message Encryption and involves exchange of public and private security keys to encrypt and decrypt emails. You need to purchase a security certificate from a certified provider and add it to your Outlook by following the guided instructions. Here’s how you can install the certificates:

  • Click the File option in the top left of your Outlook window and select Options.
  • Click Trust Center in the new window and choose “Email Security” from the settings.
  • Click on Import/Export located under “Digital IDs”.

Once you finish all these steps, you can share the signed certificate with your recipient. Your recipients also must install the certificate and send you an email. When both of you exchange emails, you receive both public keys and private keys from each other that can be used to encrypt and decrypt emails.

RMail for Outlook

This is probably the easiest and the most powerful way to encrypt your emails in Outlook. Your recipients don’t need to install or set up anything on their device, sign up for an account, or purchase anything from any service provider.

And you can send encrypted messages to pretty much any email service like Hotmail or Gmail. All you need to do is install our RMail for Outlook app in Microsoft Outlook, restart your Outlook application, and start composing your email. As simple as that!

The encryption experience is as simple for your recipients as it is for you.

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