The Benefits of Office 365 Email Encryption

By Srikanth
8 Min Read
Office 365 Email Encryption

Office 365 email encryption adds a layer of security that protects both senders and receivers. Email encryption is an Office 365 feature regarded as a requirement in today’s age of growing cyber threats. The benefits of using Office 365 email encryption greatly outweigh the setup costs.

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To outline what the feature can do, we will talk about the growing security risks the business world faces and how email encryption makes your inboxes safer. But before that, let’s discuss what email encryption for Office 365 is.

What is Office 365 Email Encryption?

To stop the growing cyber security threat, Microsoft makes it possible to send encrypted messages. This feature prevents a malicious actor from gaining access to sensitive information sent through email.

Considering email is a frequent medium for cyberattacks, one way to protect employee inboxes is to use the multiple message encryption options Office offers. Office 365 email encryption works by encrypting plain text into ciphertext. Fortunately, the ciphertext is unreadable and difficult to decipher without a decryption key.

When you send an encrypted message to someone inside or outside your organization, you provide a decryption key to decode the ciphertext. Office also makes it possible to decrypt messages from a centralized server or through the sender’s device.

Office 365 email encryption isn’t a single feature but a combination of three. Consider all three as a separate security layer to protect your company from external and internal threats. 

With that said, what are the benefits of Office 365 email encryption? Let’s find out.

5 Benefits of Office 365 Email Encryption

Cybersecurity must be a top priority for any business using Office 365. The Office suite of products makes it seamless to improve productivity and collaboration within your organization.

However, Office 365 is a frequent target for cyberattacks. From spam to ransomware, malicious actors look to exploit anything from employee inboxes to end-points to gain access to your organization’s network.

If a hacker managed to breach past your company’s cybersecurity, there’s no telling what will happen. We are currently experiencing significant malicious activity where phishing attacks account for 90% of data breaches. So it makes sense to shore up your cybersecurity by implementing Office 365 email encryption.

Here is precisely why you should do it.

  • Protect Sensitive Information

The primary goal of email encryption is protection. Office message encryption allows businesses to protect sensitive information from getting into the wrong hands. In addition, being able to send encrypted messages will prevent data theft by unauthorized parties.

More so, internal or external recipients can use the Office 365 encryption feature by turning readable plain text into ciphered text. Then, when the recipient needs to read the ciphered text, they can use the private key to decode the text.

The more businesses protect sensitive information, the more trustworthy they remain in the eyes of the public.

  • Prevent Identity Theft

Businesses and organizations conduct most of their communications through email. As a result, email is the primary medium for exchanging information online, whether internal or external communications. According to Statista, 333.2 billion emails are sent and received worldwide.

Some portions of emails contain private information such as bank accounts, social security numbers, and other highly-personal financial details. When such information gets into the wrong hands, that’s called identity theft.

Identity theft is different from data theft. For example, suppose a hacker manages to get hold of your bank or log-in credentials. In that case, they can send fraudulent messages disguised as the account owner. However, with Microsoft’s encrypted email feature, the chances of someone accessing personal information through email are significantly lowered.

  • Gain Customer Trust

Companies must find ways to handle data safely. In today’s time, security breaches are unacceptable, resulting in losing valuable data. In addition, handling customer data is a sensitive subject since many customers distrust the way companies use their personal information.

Imagine the outrage if your company faces a data breach and loses all that data. It could very well mean the end of your business. Office 365 email encryption hopes to end that by giving employees the ability to encrypt messages and send encrypted emails. The additional layer of security means that only the intended recipient can view encrypted messages with no fear of prying eyes.

Suppose you handle customer data properly and manage to keep it protected. In that case, you gain the trust of your customers and clients.

  • Meet Compliance Guidelines

Handling customer data becomes a more significant issue if you’re a company that handles financial data, medical records, credit cards, and other highly sensitive data. We say this because businesses have to operate within specific compliance guidelines such as HIPAA, CFPB, etc.

These guidelines exist to protect the customer. And most of these guidelines specifically require companies to use all encryption methods to protect sensitive customer data. Office 365 email encryption is one way to meet compliance guidelines by sending encrypted email messages containing sensitive customer information such as bank numbers, personal health information, etc.

  • Prevent Email Hijacking

Email hijacking is when a malicious actor gains access to your Microsoft account and monitors email activity in hopes of compromising data or financial gain. Email hijacking can be best described as a man-in-the-middle type of attack where the hacker hijacks communications between the victim and another email account.

For example, the hacker might hijack communications and instruct the victim’s bank account to transfer large sums of money to a fraudulent account. You become a victim of email hijacking through phishing scams or other social engineering scams. With email hijacking, the hacker will trick the victim into revealing their log-in credentials to access their email account.

From there, they can wreak havoc and compromise your entire email security. But email hijacking is impossible with Office 365 message encryption. Since the hacker cannot reveal the contents of the email, there’s no way to gain access to the victim’s email account.

Conclusion

Email encryption is another security mechanism promising to protect inboxes and official email communications. With Office 365 email encryption, you can set up mail flow rules and determine which recipient can and cannot reveal the contents of emails containing sensitive or private information.

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