Microsoft: Office 365 Message Encryption coming in early 2014

Business users of Office 365 will be able to access a new feature in early 2014 made to offer more secure communications with folks outside a company. Microsoft’s new service is Office 365 Message Encryption, a newly renamed version of the older Exchange Hosted Encryption that will include some new features for Office 365 subscribers.

The official Office blog has more information on the new service, which will be free for Office 365 E3 and E4 users and cost $2 a month for all other users. Microsoft said it was made as a way for companies to send such emails to people who are not directly employed by the business “without the administrative overhead required to use S/MIME or similar technologies.” Microsoft added:

Setting up the transport rules is simple. Administrators simply select the action to apply encryption or remove encryption in the Exchange admin center. This is an improvement over EHE, which required complex headers and multiple setup steps.

Emails sent on this service will view the encrypted messages as an attachment, and it will include instructions on how to open it up in a new browser window. If the receiver of the message decides to reply back or forward it to others, those emails are also encrypted.