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How To Secure Emails In Microsoft Outlook

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Microsoft Outlook is one of the most widely used email applications and Personal Information Managers in the world. The application is a part of Microsoft Office suite and allows you to take notes, maintain journals and manage contacts and tasks apart from sending and receiving emails. As well as working as a standalone application, the software can also be used to share emails and tasks with a variety of servers, applications and mobile systems. This article will focus on how to secure emails in Microsoft, and reveal several methods for keeping your data safe within the application.

1. Encrypt Your Messages

Encrypting an email message is one of the best ways to protect its content from snoopers and hackers. Outlook makes it easy to encrypt messages so that they can be read only by the intended recipients. For the encryption to work, both the sender and receiver need to share a public key certificate (digital ID) and the receiver needs to provide his private key to unlock the email. As such, this method of security is perfect for corporate environments since all email users are connected to the same email server and it is feasible to assign public and private digital IDs to all of them.

To encrypt the current email message (as well as its attachment), click on “Options” tab, select “More Options” and then click on “Message Options”. In the Security Settings option, click on “Encrypt message contents and attachments” and send the message.

In order to encrypt all outgoing messages by default, click on File -> Options -> Trust Center -> Trust Center Settings. In the Email Security tab, look for Encrypted Email option and then click on the checkbox next to “Encrypt contents and attachments for outgoing message”.

2. Secure Outlook with a Password

For enhanced security, you must secure Outlook with a password so that other people cannot access your confidential information and emails just by launching the software. To specify a password, just click on Main and then on “Secure” option available within the Actions menu. Type a very strong password that cannot be guessed or breached with dictionary attacks and then click on OK. It is also a good idea not to store the password within the password vault so make sure to uncheck the “Store Password” setting.

3. Use Digital Signatures

Digital signatures can help you to ensure the authenticity of the sender and receiver. You need to get a digital ID from your company before you can sign messages with your digital signature. To sign the current message with your digital signature, click on Options -> Permission -> Sign Message. To sign all outgoing messages by default, click on File -> Options -> Trust Center -> Trust Center Settings ->Email Security and then choose “Add digital signature to outgoing messages check box” option available under “Encrypted Mail”.

4. Use a Reliable Security Tool

For total security of your system and data (including emails), it is necessary to use a reliable anti-virus and firewall software. Before finalizing the anti-virus tool, make sure that it includes advanced email security features and is able to scan incoming messages automatically. Since a lot of viruses and spywares are propagated through email attachments, using a strong security tool for email protection is absolutely essential.

5. Update Outlook

Microsoft releases security updates and bug fixes for all its softwares (including Outlook) from time to time. To remain protected from newly discovered security flaws, it is highly important to apply security patches and updates as soon as they are released. If you use Outlook in a corporate environment then the updates would be released by your IT department but if you use it for personal emails then you have to check for the updates manually and apply them as soon as they become available.

June 10, 2014

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