How to Open a Secure Email in Outlook and Gmail.

May. 6, 2020

1:44AM PST

Despite what many of us may like to think, emails that you are sending and receiving are not necessarily always guaranteed to be secure. While we may want to believe that any confidential information is protected, online security is not always promised, particularly if you are using a larger email service like Gmail, Yahoo, or Outlook. If you want to learn more about increasing your online privacy and setting up a secure email account, head over to our site. But what if, instead of being the sender, you are on the receiving end of a secure email?

Fortunately, there are ways that you can send and receive secure emails using larger servers. Both Gmail and Outlook have built-in encryption methods that allow messages and attachments to be sent securely. If you are the recipient of the email, there are easy steps that you can take to open emails sent to you that are encrypted or secured by the sender.

Opening Secure Emails in Gmail.

Gmail has introduced a confidential mode that allows users to protect the content of email messages from unauthorized access. According to the Google support website, the confidential mode allows senders to “set an expiration date for messages or revoke access at any time. Recipients of the confidential message will have options to forward, copy, print, and download disabled messages.” If you receive an email through the Gmail platform that has been sent with confidential mode, reading it is fairly simple. You can view the email and any attachments for as long as the sender allows access, or until the expiration date. Additionally, a passcode may be required from the sender to open the email.

Opening Secure Email in Outlook

Outlook has options that use either S/MIME or Microsoft 365 Message encryption to protect the privacy of their users. For Office365 users, opening secure emails is relatively easy. Outlook authenticates recipients by sending encrypted messages as attachments, which then require the reader to sign-on using their organization's credentials or entering a one-time-only password to access the contents of the email.

However, even though Gmail and Outlook’s decryption processes are simple, there is one glaring issue; they only work if you are sending and receiving email on the same platform. If you want to decrypt and email that has been encrypted using a different method or program, the process is a bit more complicated. One option is to access the email using a one-time authentication code that is shared via a separate means (for example, over the phone), but this method can be extremely inconvenient if you have a number of clients who require regular access to encrypted email messages and attachments. The second option is to use a program that easily allows email decryption. 

 

It’s safe to make the assumption here that it is unlikely all clients and businesses will be using the same platforms to send and receive emails, which is why secure email integration is often considered to be too much of a hassle. However, there are third-party programs that make opening an encrypted email from a sender simple and user-friendly. The recipient of the email does not have to use the same program. To open an encrypted email, you click on a link that which leads to a two-factor authentication process, once this is completed, the email can be read and also responded to securely.

 

Gmail and Outlook have integrated S/MIME encryption into their programs so that senders can successfully encrypt emails, but unfortunately, this doesn’t provide a solution for those who do not use their services. Thankfully, third-party email security platforms have created a user-friendly solution to this problem, which makes secure-email access all the more accessible to everyone that wants to take measures towards protecting sensitive content or personal information.

 

Resources

“Encrypt Email Messages.” Outlook, support.office.com/en-us/article/encrypt-email-messages-373339cb-bf1a-4509-b296-802a39d801dc.

“Send & Open Confidential Emails - Computer - Gmail Help.” Google, Google, support.google.com/mail/answer/7674059?co=GENIE.Platform%3DDesktop&hl=en.

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