Why Office 365’s Email Encryption Doesn’t Add Up


Thought Leadership

Why Office 365’s Email Encryption Doesn’t Add Up

Zix Staff

With the growing realization that data security and email encryption are absolutely essential, large email providers are rushing to play catch-up. But are they paying attention to the users?

In November 2013, Microsoft first announced message encryption for Office 365. But after some initial complaints over the system’s usability (people receiving the encrypted messages had to be logged into a Microsoft account to view them), things are starting to change.

Last Friday, Microsoft announced that recipients of Office 365 email no longer need a Microsoft account to view messages. Instead, they can view their encrypted messages using a one-time passcode that Microsoft sends via email, which expires after 15 minutes. It’s not clear to us what happens to that message if the user doesn’t open it in the 15-minute window, but it seems like a less-than-ideal solution if you’re trying to fix a usability problem.

Despite the head scratches regarding the announcement, what actually raised eyebrows was the figure that Microsoft touts when it comes to the number of emails they are encrypting.

Since going live eight months ago, Office 365 Message Encryption has been used to protect the content of more than 1 million emails.

Seem like a lot? What if we were to tell you that…

Zix encrypts 1 million messages in a single business day.

Why? Because we understand the concept of “ease of use” and so do our end users.

For approximately, 75% of encrypted messages delivered by Zix, no password or portals are needed. Senders and recipients simply exchange email as they normally would. All outbound messages are automatically encrypted, mitigating virtually all risk, and are automatically decrypted on the receiving end. The other 25% of messaged can be received through a convenient, mobile-friendly secure Web portal.

Many email encryption products in use today are outdated and complex, which can lead to employees skirting the rules to avoid having to deal with the hassle of encryption. Clearly, this puts businesses in a precarious position, especially with the number of data breaches that we read about happening daily.

If you want to get your employees and, more importantly, your valuable customer and partners on board, make sure you’re deploying an effective, easy-to-use email encryption solution.