Redmond has lined up a special new feature for business users of Office 365. Users of the cloud powered service will soon be able to communicate security with people outside their organization.
The Office 365 Message Encryption service is a renamed version of the company’s Exchange Hosted Encryption, but it will include a bunch of new features too.
It is on track to be made available to Office 365 subscribers in early 2014.
A lengthy and detailed blog post on the official Office blog has all the details on this new service, which will be offered for free to Office 365 E3 and E4 users. Other users can get it for $2 a month:
“We’re pleased to announce the upcoming release of Office 365 Message Encryption, a new service that lets you send encrypted emails to people outside your company.
No matter what the destination-Outlook.com, Yahoo, Gmail, Exchange Server, Lotus Notes, GroupWise, Squirrel Mail, you name it-you can send sensitive business communications with an additional level of protection against unauthorized access.”
Microsoft claims this is an easy and effortless way for companies to send emails to people that are not directly employed by the business — several such situations are listed in the post above, from banks sending credit card statements to customers via email to consultants sending a contract to clients.
Emails clients will view the encrypted message sent via the service as an attachment, and the message will include instructions on how to open it up in a new browser window. Plus if the receiver of the message replies back or forwards the message to others, those emails will also be encrypted.