How to send secure email in outlook

Last Updated: Feb 17, 2024 by

In today’s digital age, email has become the primary mode of communication for both personal and professional purposes. However, with the rise of cyber threats and data breaches, it is essential to ensure the security of your emails. Sending sensitive information through unsecured emails can put you and your recipients at risk. That’s where secure email comes in.

In this article, we will discuss how to send secure email in Outlook, one of the most popular email clients used by businesses and individuals alike. We will also explore the importance of secure email and how it can protect your sensitive information.

Why Is Secure Email Important?

Emails are not as secure as we may think. They can be intercepted, read, and even altered by hackers or unauthorized individuals. This can lead to the exposure of sensitive information, such as personal data, financial information, or confidential business documents.

Secure email uses encryption technology to protect the content of your emails from being accessed by unauthorized parties. It ensures that only the intended recipient can read the email, keeping your information safe and confidential.

Protects Sensitive Information

Secure email is crucial for protecting sensitive information, such as personal identification numbers, credit card details, or confidential business documents. By encrypting your emails, you can prevent hackers from intercepting and accessing this information.

Complies with Regulations

Many industries, such as healthcare and finance, have strict regulations regarding the protection of sensitive information. Sending unsecured emails can put your organization at risk of non-compliance and potential legal consequences. By using secure email, you can ensure that your organization is following the necessary regulations and protecting sensitive data.

Builds Trust with Clients and Partners

Sending secure emails can also help build trust with your clients and business partners. By taking the necessary precautions to protect their information, you are showing them that you value their privacy and are committed to keeping their data safe.

How to Send Secure Email in Outlook

Outlook offers various options for sending secure emails, including encryption and digital signatures. Here’s how you can send a secure email in Outlook:


Encryption is the process of converting plain text into a code to prevent unauthorized access. Outlook offers two types of encryption: S/MIME and Office 365 Message Encryption.

S/MIME Encryption

S/MIME (Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) is a widely used encryption method that uses digital certificates to secure emails. Here’s how you can enable S/MIME encryption in Outlook:

  1. Go to the “File” tab and click on “Options.”
  2. In the “Trust Center” tab, click on “Trust Center Settings.”
  3. In the “Email Security” tab, check the box next to “Encrypt contents and attachments for outgoing messages.”
  4. Click on “Settings” and select the digital certificate you want to use for encryption.
  5. Click “OK” to save the changes.

Now, when you compose a new email, you will see a “Protect” button in the “Options” tab. Click on it to encrypt your email before sending it.

Office 365 Message Encryption

Office 365 Message Encryption is a cloud-based encryption service that allows you to send encrypted emails to anyone, even if they don’t use Outlook. Here’s how you can use this feature:

  1. Compose a new email and click on the “Options” tab.
  2. Click on “Encrypt” and select “Encrypt with Office 365.”
  3. A pop-up window will appear, asking you to confirm the encryption. Click “Yes.”
  4. You can also set permissions for the email, such as allowing the recipient to forward or print the email.
  5. Click “Send” to send the encrypted email.

Digital Signatures

Digital signatures are used to verify the authenticity of an email and ensure that it has not been tampered with. Here’s how you can add a digital signature to your emails in Outlook:

  1. Go to the “File” tab and click on “Options.”
  2. In the “Trust Center” tab, click on “Trust Center Settings.”
  3. In the “Email Security” tab, check the box next to “Add digital signature to outgoing messages.”
  4. Click on “Settings” and select the digital certificate you want to use for your signature.
  5. Click “OK” to save the changes.

Now, when you compose a new email, your digital signature will automatically be added to the email.

Other Ways to Send Secure Email

Apart from using Outlook’s built-in encryption and digital signature features, there are other ways to send secure email. These include:

Using a Secure Email Service

There are various email service providers that offer secure email services, such as ProtonMail, Tutanota, and Hushmail. These services use end-to-end encryption to protect your emails, ensuring that only the intended recipient can read them.

Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

A VPN encrypts your internet connection, making it difficult for hackers to intercept your emails. It also masks your IP address, providing an extra layer of security.

Using Encryption Software

You can also use encryption software, such as GPG (GNU Privacy Guard), to encrypt your emails. This software uses public-key cryptography to secure your emails.

Best Practices for Secure Email Communication

Apart from using secure email methods, there are other best practices you can follow to ensure the security of your email communication:

Use Strong Passwords

Using strong passwords is crucial for protecting your email account from unauthorized access. Make sure to use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters in your password and avoid using easily guessable information, such as your name or birthdate.

Be Wary of Suspicious Emails

Phishing emails are a common tactic used by hackers to gain access to sensitive information. Be cautious of emails from unknown senders or emails that ask for personal information. If you receive an email from a known sender that seems suspicious, contact them through another means to verify the email’s authenticity.

Keep Your Software Up to Date

Make sure to regularly update your email client and other software to the latest versions. These updates often include security patches that can protect your emails from potential threats.


Secure email is essential for protecting sensitive information and complying with regulations. Outlook offers various options for sending secure emails, such as encryption and digital signatures. However, there are also other methods you can use, such as secure email services and encryption software. By following best practices and using secure email methods, you can ensure the security of your email communication and protect your sensitive information.

Gulrukh Ch

About the Author: Gulrukh Ch

Gulrukh Chaudhary, an accomplished digital marketer and technology writer with a passion for exploring the frontiers of innovation. Armed with a Master's degree in Information Technology, Gulrukh seamlessly blends her technical prowess with her creative flair, resulting in captivating insights into the world of emerging technologies. Discover more about her on her LinkedIn profile.