How to Send Encrypted Emails with Outlook in Microsoft Office 365’s Azure Service

September 20th, 2023
How to Send Encrypted Emails with Outlook in Microsoft Office 365’s Azure Service

Ever wondered how to send Encrypted Email using Office 365. In today's interconnected world, email remains one of the most commonly used forms of communication, both in personal and professional contexts. However, when sensitive information is involved, ensuring the security and confidentiality of your emails becomes paramount. This is where encrypted email comes into play, and in this blog post, we'll guide you through the process of sending and receiving encrypted emails using Microsoft Outlook and an Azure subscription. By the end of this guide, you'll be more comfortable incorporating encrypted email into your daily routine.

Why Use Encrypted Email using Office 365?

Before we delve into the how-to's, let's briefly touch on why encrypted email is essential. Encrypted email is a must when you need to protect sensitive information, such as payment details, personal identification, or, most crucially, patient health information (PHI). Ensuring that these details remain confidential and inaccessible to unauthorized individuals is a fundamental security practice.

The method we'll be discussing today involves Microsoft Outlook, in conjunction with an Azure subscription. Keep in mind that access to these features requires a subscription, so if you're unsure about your setup, don't hesitate to reach out for assistance.

You can also check out our video to see how it looks when you send and receive an encrypted email.

Sending an Encrypted Email from Outlook

Now, let's walk through the steps to send an encrypted email using Microsoft Outlook:

1. **Compose a New Email**: Start by opening Outlook and clicking on "New Email" to compose a new message.

2. **Specify the Recipient**: Enter the recipient's email address, subject, and message content as you normally would.

3. **Enable Encryption**: In the email composition window, look for the "Options" tab or a similar option (location may vary depending on your Outlook version). Click on "Encrypt" to activate email encryption.

How to send encrypted email in o365

How to send encrypted email in o365

4. **Choose Encryption Type**: You'll be presented with different encryption options. If you want to meet basic compliance requirements like HIPAA, select "Encrypt Only." This option ensures that the email content is encrypted.

Encrypt Only for o365 emails

Encrypt Only

5. **Send the Email**: Once you've chosen the encryption type, click "Send" to dispatch the email securely to the recipient.

Receiving Encrypted Email using Office 365

When someone sends you an encrypted email, your experience as the recipient will differ slightly:

1. **Notification**: You will receive an email with a notification indicating that the sender has sent you a protected message. Click on the email to view its contents.

What an encrypted email looks like when its received

What an encrypted email looks like when it's received

2. **Accessing the Email**: To access the encrypted email, you may need to log in to a secure portal provided by Microsoft. This portal ensures that the email content is not transmitted through traditional email channels but remains securely hosted on the portal.

3. **Authentication**: You may be required to authenticate your identity through your email provider or by using a one-time passcode sent to your email address.

Sign into your portal to view the message

Sign into your portal to view the message

4. **Viewing the Email**: Once authenticated, you can view the email's content, reply, or take other permitted actions. The email is kept secure within the portal, reducing the risk of interception or unauthorized access.

Using Encryption Rules

To streamline the process of sending encrypted emails within your organization, you can set up rules in Outlook:

1. **Access Rules**: In Outlook, click on the "File" tab and select "Manage Rules & Alerts."

Manage Rules and Alerts

Manage Rules and Alerts

2. **Create a New Rule**: Click "New Rule" to create a new rule.

New o365 encryption rule

New o365 encryption rule

3. **Specify Conditions**: Define the conditions that trigger the rule. For instance, you can set rules to encrypt emails containing specific keywords or sent to specific recipients.

Setup rule for encryption

Setup rule for encryption

4. **Set Encryption Action**: Select "Encrypt" as the action to apply when the rule conditions are met.

5. **Customize the Rule**: Review and customize the rule settings as needed. You can add exceptions or additional actions based on your organization's requirements.

customize the encryption rule

customize the encryption rule

6. **Save the Rule**: Provide a descriptive name for your rule and click "Finish" to save it.

By setting up rules like these, Outlook will automatically encrypt emails that meet the specified conditions, making secure communication within your organization effortless.

Checking for Encrypted Email using Office 365

To verify that your sent emails were indeed encrypted, check your "Sent" folder. Encrypted Email using Office 365 are typically marked with a small lock icon. This visual indicator confirms that the email was sent securely and is inaccessible to unauthorized parties.

In conclusion, sending encrypted emails is a crucial practice to protect sensitive information and ensure compliance with various regulations. Microsoft Office 365, in conjunction with Azure, provides a user-friendly solution through Outlook, making secure communication a seamless part of your daily routine. Whether you're sending patient health information or other confidential data, encrypted email is a powerful tool for safeguarding your digital communications.