Saturday, 13 Jul 2024

How to Encrypt Email in Outlook & Office 365 in 2023?

Email communication has become an integral part of daily business operations. However, with the increase in digital communication, the threat of data breaches has also risen. Business emails, in particular, are vulnerable to breaches, taking an average of 308 days to identify and contain. Outlook and Office 365, being popular email platforms, offer robust email encryption features. This article will guide you through the process of encrypting email in Outlook and Office 365.

Why Email Encryption is Crucial in Outlook and Office 365?

Businesses frequently exchange highly sensitive data via email, including financial information, client data, and internal communications. Unfortunately, this makes emails a prime target for cybercriminals. A single breach can lead to financial losses, damage company reputation, and strain client relationships. Outlook and Office 365 email encryption serve as a safeguard, ensuring that confidential information remains accessible only to the intended recipient. This additional layer of security, beyond password protection, is especially crucial in the era of remote work.

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Licensing Requirements for Office 365 Message Encryption

Not all Microsoft 365 subscriptions include Office 365 Message Encryption (OME). To determine if your current plan supports OME, you need to check its availability. Subscription plans such as Microsoft 365 Business Premium, Microsoft 365 E3, and E5 include OME. These plans are designed for companies that require a high level of security, including advanced Office 365 email encryption. If your subscription does not include OME by default, such as Microsoft 365 Business Basic or Microsoft 365 F3, you may need to purchase an add-on license or upgrade your subscription.

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Methods to Encrypt Emails in Outlook

There are multiple ways to encrypt Outlook emails, each catering to different security needs. Let’s explore these methods in detail:

Using the Outlook Desktop Client

Encrypting emails using the Outlook desktop client is a straightforward process. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to encrypt email in Outlook:

  • Compose a New Email: Open Outlook and click on “New Email” to compose a new message.
  • Go to Options: In the message window, navigate to the “Options” tab.
  • Click on Encrypt: Under the “Lock” icon, you’ll find the “Encrypt” button. Click on it.
  • Choose Encryption Type: A dropdown menu will appear with options like “Encrypt Only” and “Do Not Forward.” Choose the one that suits your needs.
  • Send the Email: Once you’ve selected the encryption type, compose your email and click “Send.”

Using the Outlook Web Client

When using the Outlook web version, you can encrypt Outlook email using the following steps:

  • Log In: Open your browser and log in to your Outlook account.
  • Compose a New Email: Click on the “New Message” button.
  • Click on the Lock Icon: You’ll see a lock icon at the top of the message window. Click on it.
  • Select Encryption Option: A panel will appear on the right side, offering encryption options like “Encrypt” and “Prevent Forwarding.”
  • Send the Email: After selecting the encryption type, compose your email and click “Send.”

Encryption Options Within Outlook

Outlook provides various encryption options to cater to different needs:

  • Encrypt Only: This option encrypts the email but allows the recipient to forward it.
  • Do Not Forward: This option encrypts the email and prevents the recipient from forwarding, copying, or printing it.
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These options are part of the broader Microsoft Outlook encrypt email features.

Encrypting Emails in Office 365

Office 365 seamlessly integrates with Outlook, offering additional encryption features. Here’s how you can enable Microsoft 365 email encryption:

  • Log In to Office 365: Open your browser and log in to your Office 365 account.
  • Navigate to Outlook: Click on the Outlook icon to access your emails.
  • Compose a New Email: Click on “New Message.”
  • Go to Options: Navigate to the “Options” tab within the message.
  • Select Permission: Choose the “Permission” option and select the type of encryption you want to use.

Note: Azure Rights Management is crucial for Microsoft 365 email encryption. It allows you to set up policies that automatically apply encryption based on specified conditions, such as the presence of sensitive data. This feature ensures that emails containing confidential information are always encrypted, reducing the risk of data breaches.

Advanced Features for Encryption in Office 365

Beyond the basic encryption methods, Office 365 offers advanced features for additional security and customization.

Customization and Branding

MS Office 365 allows you to customize the appearance and text of Office 365 encrypted emails. This is particularly useful for businesses that want to maintain a consistent brand image, even in secure communications. You can customize various elements such as the logo, background color, and disclaimer text. To customize these elements, you’ll need to use PowerShell commands, which involve uploading your custom images and text to the Office 365 Security & Compliance Center and applying them to your encrypted emails.

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Mail Flow Rules for Automatic Encryption

Setting up mail flow rules for automatic encryption can significantly enhance email security by ensuring that sensitive emails are always encrypted. You can create these rules using the Exchange Admin Center in Office 365. The process involves logging in to the Exchange Admin Center, going to Mail Flow, creating a new rule, setting conditions for encryption, and applying Office 365 Message Encryption.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I encrypt email attachments in Outlook?
    Yes, Outlook allows you to encrypt email attachments along with the email content. This provides an extra layer of security to protect sensitive data.
  • Are there any additional costs for email encryption in Office 365?
    Office 365 Message Encryption is included in certain subscription plans. However, if your subscription does not include this feature, you may need to purchase an add-on license or upgrade your subscription.
  • Can I customize the appearance of encrypted emails in Outlook and Office 365?
    Yes, both Outlook and Office 365 offer customization options that allow you to add your company logo, change the background color, and include custom disclaimer text in encrypted emails.


Encrypting emails in Outlook and Office 365 is essential for protecting sensitive information and ensuring secure communication. By following the methods outlined in this guide, you can safeguard your data and maintain the confidentiality of your email correspondence. Remember to check your subscription plan to ensure that it includes the necessary email encryption features. For more information on email encryption and other technology trends, visit Eireview.