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Worried about GDPR and Email Encryption ? Let us migrate you to Office365

What is email encryption and how does Office 365 use it?

Encryption is the process by which information is encoded so that only an authorized recipient can decode and consume the information. Office 365 uses encryption in two ways: in the service, and as a customer control. In the service, encryption is used in Office 365 by default; you don’t have to configure anything. For example, Office 365 uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) to encrypt the connection, or session, between two servers.

Here’s how email encryption typically works:

  • A message is encrypted, or transformed from plain text into unreadable ciphertext, either on the sender’s machine, or by a central server while the message is in transit.
  • The message remains in ciphertext while it’s in transit in order to protect it from being read in case the message is intercepted.
  • Once the message is received by the recipient, the message is transformed back into readable plain text in one of two ways:
    • The recipient’s machine uses a key to decrypt the message, or
    • A central server decrypts the message on behalf of the recipient, after validating the recipient’s identity.

For more information on how Office 365 secures communication between servers, such as between organizations within Office 365 or between Office 365 and a trusted business partner outside of Office 365, see How Exchange Online uses TLS to secure email connections in Office 365.

Watch this video for an introduction to Encryption in Office 365.

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