How Microsoft 365 Encrypts Company Emails for Complete Security

Think of all the sensitive information that travels through your company’s email messages every day. There are messages that may contain customer account details, attachments that can include sales figures, and more.

Many Rhode Island businesses just assume their emails are protected, but in many cases they’re in plain text format, not encrypted, and can easily be read by anyone who may intercept them or receive them accidentally. Part of any good cybersecurity plan includes data security, which extends to the information shared via email. 86% of business professionals choose email as their preferred communication method. Email is the most widely used form of business communication and on average 82% of organizations have reported an attempted email-based security threat in the past year. If your business is not using an email service that has email encryption capabilities, then you’re leaving yourself at risk of having sensitive data compromised either accidentally (e.g. auto-fill selects the wrong person) or through a targeted attack by a hacker.

Why Microsoft 365 is Your Best Friend for Email Security

If you use Microsoft 365, then you already have email encryption capabilities to protect your company’s sensitive data.  Users can choose to encrypt any or all messages, and the attachments. What this does is make the message contents unreadable by unauthorized parties. Microsoft offers a few ways to do this, both on a basic user level and an organization-wide level. Here is how encryption works:

  • The message is encrypted, and the plain text is converted to an unreadable ciphertext.
  • The message remains in this encrypted form during transit.
  • When the message is received, the recipient can use a key to decrypt the message or a central server may decrypt it after validating the recipient’s identity.

How Basic Encryption Works in Outlook

Outlook users can encrypt any message and its attachments within the program. Just follow these steps:

  • When your message is open, click the "Options "menu item
  • Then click the "More Options" pull-out menu.
  • Click "Security Settings" to get another pull-out menu.
  • Check the "Encrypt message contents and attachments" checkbox.
  • Choose any other desired options, like a security label, if your organization uses these.

Advanced Company Email Encryption

Microsoft offers Office 365 Message Encryption that that can be automated and connected holistically to company data security policies. The Office 365 Message Encryption (OME) is built on Microsoft Azure Rights Management, which helps secure email through a few different methods, including:

  • Message and attachment encryption
  • Identify policies
  • Authorization policies

Email messages can be encrypted using a Do Not Forward or an encryption-only option. Administrators also gain more control over which messages are encrypted instead of relying on users to make the choice. For example, a rule can be set up to automatically require encryption of all messages that:

  • Are addressed to a specific email address
  • Contain certain keywords in the subject line

The advanced encryption through OME can help companies with compliance and data security by automating encryption and seamlessly incorporating it into company-wide data security policies, such as ensuring any messages classified "sensitive" have a "Do Not Copy" and "Do Not Forward" protection added along with encryption.

Benefits of Using Encryption with Microsoft 365 Email

Makes Encryption Easy for the Sender and Recipient

Encrypted and rights protected messages can easily be sent to people both inside and outside your organization. It doesn’t matter whether or not they use email in Microsoft or another platform, like Gmail. The recipient’s email address can act as the public key used to decrypt the message, which eliminates the need for certificates that can slow down encrypted messages.

Control Over Encryption of Email Threads

What happens if you encrypt a message but the recipient replies, quoting your original message, and doesn’t encrypt their email? Office 365 Message Encryption can ensure the security of responses by encrypting each message within and email thread.

Integration with Data-Loss Prevention (DLP)

If you’re using DLP in Microsoft, encryption will fold right into any policies you have set up. It’s designed to make compliance management easy by incorporating Right Management Services templates and integration with other security features in Microsoft 365 and Azure.

Full Control Over Your Message Encryption

You have the flexibility to manage your own encryption keys. Users have end controls that allow them to quickly manage rights templates and encryption on their end as well. You can also use single-action Exchange transport rules and policy-based encryption. The feature is flexible to fit into any type of message security flow that your Rhode Island business uses.

Get Help Setting Up Secure Email Encryption

Onsite Techs of Rhode Island can help your business set up automated email encryption to protect your data and improve compliance. Contact us today to set up a security consultation at 401-415-6290 or reach out online.