In today’s professional environment, we often find ourselves needing to share sensitive information with others, both in and outside of our organization. This can include medical files, financial documents, and personal information. There are multiple methods to share this information securely, but these can range from expensive software to time consuming project stand-ups.

However, there is a solution that is both cheap and simple to set up. With a Microsoft 365 business tenant, you have the option to implement Office 365 Message Encryption (OME). OME is recommended for sending sensitive information to people outside your organization, whether they are consumers or other businesses and regardless of which email provider they use (Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Outlook, etc.).

All you have to do is set up specific rules/triggers (ex: have a user enter ‘encryptme’ in the body of the email) and Exchange will mark their email for secure encryption (including attachments!). You could also skip the user entry portion and set rules for automatic encryption if outside your organization, on detection of sensitive data patterns, or even specific senders/recipients.

Ok, I know you’re thinking that this all sounds good, but how much is this going to cost me?

OME is built on Azure Rights Management (RMS). This is not automatically included in every M365 product license. The only licenses to include this as part of the package are E3 and above. All Business Basic/Standard and E1 will require the Azure Information Protection (AIP) add-on. This will cost you $2/user/month. However, the good news is that recipients do not require a M365 subscription or license to view encrypted messages. They will just need to enter a one-time passcode to open the message (if using Outlook, this will be handled in the background automatically).

Microsoft’s encryption offering is an easy (and cheap) method to sending sensitive information outside of your organization. The diverse rules that can be created will reduce the impact on your end users and will require less training on the what/when/why questions.