Earlier this month, Microsoft announced a number of new tools and protections for Office 365 that are designed to boost security for cloud users. This included new file recovery tools, password protection when sharing links over email and the ability to prevent a message from being forwarded (something I bet Claire Swire wish had existed back in 2000). Now, the promised email encryption feature is also being rolled out.
Details of all the new features were outlined in a blog post made by Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365, Kirk Koenigsbauer.
The ability to restore your entire OneDrive storage has been part of the business offering for a while but it’s now been extended to personal accounts as well. So, if you’ve been hit with a ransomware attack or some other data loss incident you’ve got a shot at recovering your data.
Email encryption will work by recipients receiving a link to a trusted Office 365 webpage where they can choose to receive a one-time passcode or re-authenticate with a trusted provider before viewing the email. Recipients who view the encrypted email in Outlook.com, the Outlook for iOS and Android app, or the Windows Mail app can read and reply just like they can with any other email. And if you compose an email that contains sensitive information the software can detect it and suggest that you send the message with encryption.
Email encryption isn’t new. The problem remains that email was never designed to be a secure communication tool so everything we do is a bolt-on. Microsoft’s approach seems to be a reasonable compromise but it still relies on users to choose when a message is encrypted, unlike most of the instant messaging services we use today.