Encrypting Emails


What is email encryption?
Encrypting an email message in Outlook means it's converted from readable plain text into scrambled cipher text. Only the recipient who has the private key that matches the public key used to encrypt the message can decipher the message for reading. Any recipient without the corresponding private key, however, sees indecipherable text.

Gannon Sensitivity versus Microsoft Encrypt?

  • The recipient(s) of the email can only reply back to the sender. They will not be able to forward, copy, or print the email.

  • It encrypts not only the email but the files inside.

  • Only active employees can use the Sensitivity feature.


  • When using the Microsoft Encrypt option, the recipient(s) can forward and print the email.


  • Trying to send a PDF that was created as a PDF and it has sensitive (PII) information contained in it will not work.  Microsoft only supports their file extensions.  A workaround is to create a .docx Word document and then save it as a PDF.

Note: Encrypting an email is not necessary when sending to a Gannon email. The email does not leave our containment, so the email is already secure. If you do try to encrypt the email to a Gannon email, it will remove the encryption you tried to add. If you send to a non-Gannon Microsoft account email, it will not ask to un-encrypt as it did it on the back end of Microsoft.

What happens when the recipient receives your email using Sensitivity?

  • The encrypted email recipient will receive an email stating "You received an encrypted email". They will have an option to get a one-time passcode, so it will not ask for their password. The passcode will get sent in another email to the same email the encrypted email came through.


How to encrypt an email using Sensitivity:

  • Open new email 
  • Select "Sensitivity" from the message toolbar 

  • Select "Gannon Highly Confidential"

How to encrypt an email using Encryption:

  • Click Options in a new message, drop-down Encryption, choose "Encrypt-Only" or "Do Not Forward" 

Additional information:

  • Must be on Office 365 or using the web-based office.com site, it will not work with mobile. 
  • Not finding the answer to your question, please contact the Help Desk:
    • Phone - 814-871-7501
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Article ID: 119652
Tue 11/3/20 3:53 PM
Sun 4/21/24 12:14 PM

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