October 29, 2023
 min read

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

Secure your emails with our how-to guide on using Outlook and Office 365 email encryption. Protect your sensitive information with Strac’s security measures.

October 29, 2023
 min read

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

Secure your emails with our how-to guide on using Outlook and Office 365 email encryption. Protect your sensitive information with Strac’s security measures.


  • Email communication is a goldmine for cybercriminals, emphasizing the need for Outlook and Microsoft 365 email encryption.
  • Office 365 Message Encryption (OME) is included only in specific MS 365 plans like Business Premium, E3, and E5.
  • Whether on the Outlook desktop client or web version, encrypting Outlook email is seamless.
  • Strac can add an extra layer of security, offering features like instant detection and redaction of sensitive data in emails.

Email communication is integral to a business’ daily work, and it's hard to imagine a day without sending or receiving emails. However, digital communication has also increased the threat of data breaches. In fact, stats show that business emails are the second most difficult breach to identify and contain, taking an average of 308 days.

Outlook and Office 365 are two of the most popular email platforms in use today, and both offer robust email encryption features. This guide will lead you through the simple yet essential process of how to encrypt email in Outlook and Office 365.

Why Email Encryption is Crucial in Outlook and Office 365?

Businesses deal with highly sensitive data daily, whether it's financial data, client information, or internal communications. This data exchange often happens via email, making it a prime target for cybercriminals. An individual breach can lead to financial losses and damage a company's reputation and client relationships.

Outlook and Office 365 email encryption is a safeguard, ensuring that confidential information is accessible only to the intended recipient. It provides additional security beyond password protection, making it incredibly difficult for unauthorized users to access the email content. This is especially important in the era of remote work, where secure communication channels are vital for business continuity.

Gmail Redaction
Gmail Redaction

Licensing Requirements for Office 365 Message Encryption

Office 365 Message Encryption (OME) is not available in all Microsoft 365 subscriptions, so you'll need to ensure that your current plan includes this feature.

Microsoft 365 Business Premium, Microsoft 365 E3, and E5 are some of the subscription plans that come with OME included. These plans are intended for companies that require a high level of security, including advanced Office 365 email encryption

You won't have access to OME by default if you're on a different subscription, such as Microsoft 365 Business Basic or Microsoft 365 F3. In such cases, you may need to purchase an add-on license or consider upgrading your subscription to include OME.

Methods to Encrypt Emails in Outlook

There are multiple ways to encrypt Outlook email, each designed to meet different security needs. Let’s explore these in detail so you can choose the right one.

  • Using the Outlook Desktop Client
  • Using the Outlook Web Client
  • Encryption Options Within Outlook

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 below 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 offers 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.

These options are part of the broader Microsoft Outlook encrypt email features.

Encrypting Emails in Office 365

Office 365 integrates seamlessly with Outlook to offer additional encryption features. Here's how to allow 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 to Microsoft 365 email encryption. It allows you to set up policies that automatically apply encryption based on certain 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 a suite of 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 email. 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:

  • Logo: Replace the default Office 365 logo with your company's logo.
  • Background Color: Change the background color to align with your brand's color scheme.
  • Disclaimer Text: Add a custom disclaimer text at the bottom of the email.

To customize these elements, you'll need to use PowerShell commands. The process involves

  • Uploading your custom images and text to the Office 365 Security & Compliance Center.
  • Applying them to your encrypted emails.

Mail Flow Rules for Automatic Encryption

Setting up mail flow rules for automatic encryption can significantly enhance your email security by ensuring that sensitive emails are always encrypted. You can create these rules using the Exchange Admin Center in Office 365. Here's how:

  • Log In to the Exchange Admin Center: Open your browser and log in to your Office 365 account. Navigate to the Exchange Admin Center.
  • Go to Mail Flow: On the left sidebar, click on "Mail Flow."
  • Create a New Rule: Click on the "+" symbol and then select "Create a new rule."
  • Set Conditions: Define the conditions under which the email should be encrypted. For example, you can set a rule to encrypt emails that contain the word "confidential."
  • Apply Encryption: Under "Do the following," select "Modify the message properties" and then choose "Apply Office 365 Message Encryption."

Add an Extra Layer of Security With Strac

While Office 365 and Outlook provide robust encryption features, integrating with a Data Loss Prevention (DLP) platform like Strac adds an extra layer of security to your email communications. Here's how Strac complements the encryption methods:

Instant Detection and Redaction of Sensitive Data

Strac detects and redacts sensitive information instantly in emails and attachments. This feature works cooperatively with Office 365 encrypted emails to ensure that even if an email is accidentally sent to the wrong recipient, the sensitive data within it remains secure.

Seamless Integration with Office 365 and Outlook

Strac integrates effortlessly with both Office 365 and Outlook, enhancing the native encryption features of these platforms. The integration process takes just a few minutes, allowing you to bolster your email security quickly without any technical hassles.

Tokenization of Sensitive Data

The platform uses tokenization to replace sensitive data with unique identification symbols. This method retains all the essential information without compromising security. When combined with Outlook and Office 365's encryption features, tokenization ensures your emails are encrypted and stripped of sensitive data that could be exploited if intercepted.

Book a demo with Strac and enhance your email encryption level.

Ensure Data Security in SaaS!

Strac provides end-to-end data loss prevention for all SaaS and Cloud apps. Integrate in under 10 minutes and experience the benefits of live DLP scanning, live redaction, and a fortified SaaS environment.

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