How to Encrypt an Email in Gmail

More than 300 billion emails are being exchanged every day with a lot of choice available when it comes to email clients. Two of the most used email clients by businesses around the world are Outlook and Gmail.

That’s no surprise – who doesn’t have a Gmail address? Google’s G-Suite service is also popular – being utilized by more than 5 million companies worldwide. If you use Gmail for personal or professional use, it’s critical for you to know how Google ensures the security and privacy of your messages as well as what extra steps you can take to encrypt your emails in Gmail.

How to Encrypt Email in Gmail

Encryption adds an extra layer of security to your emails and its contents. Gmail encryption involves the use of the Transport Layer Security (TLS) method to protect emails for the regular, free accounts. TLS is basically a cryptographic protocol that provides end-to-end data encryption between applications over the Internet. It is mainly used when you communicate from your web browser to a web server.

However, there is no promise of data privacy with this encryption mode as Google scans every message sent to your account to look for malicious content or potential spam.

How Business Users Can Encrypt Messages in Gmail

Gmail also supports an enhanced version - S/MIME (Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) encryption for paid Google Workspace Suite accounts for business enterprise users. This method enables encryption via user-specific keys to protect emails during delivery and allows decryption only for the intended recipient using asymmetric cryptography to protect emails from being read by a third party. In layman’s terms, it uses a “public” key to encrypt emails and a “private” key to decrypt them.

Both the encryption protocols work only when the sender and recipient, both are using an email service which supports them. The sender and recipient’s email providers must have enabled TLS encryption protocols, otherwise the messages won’t be encrypted at all. Similarly, for S/MIME to work, both you and your recipient must enable it in your G-Suite accounts (technically, a Workspace Admin must do this!). An extra layer of complication in the case of S/MIME is that both parties must exchange keys in advance so that the encryption can be properly configured.

There’s another caveat. Both encryption protocols will protect and secure messages only during transit and not once the email reaches its actual destination server.

What About Gmail’s Confidential Mode?

Google pulled its trump card in 2018 when it debuted the new Confidential Mode feature in Gmail to help users protect their sensitive information from being shared accidentally or without their consent. Gmail’s new feature prevents recipients from forwarding, copying, printing, or downloading either the message or its attachments without the sender’s approval. Through this encryption mode, a sender can set an expiration date for the message, revoke message access (if there’s a need), and set an option to ask for a verification code by text to open messages.

The only downside to this is that the recipients are still able to take screenshots or photos of the attachments so the sender has to be really sure if they are sending the information to the right people. And because the message is hosted on Google’s server and the confidential mode feature doesn’t use standard email protocols to deliver the message, the recipients have to click a link to view the message in their browser.

So, are there other solutions that offer you a seamless email encryption experience while complying to privacy and compliance requirements? RMail, an award-winning email security solution from RPost, is your go-to candidate.

How to Send Encrypted Email in Gmail Using RMail

Rhyming aside, sending an encrypted email in Gmail using RMail is a breeze! To start, after logging on to RMail website, install the Chrome browser extension from RMail’s App marketplace and follow the guided instructions.

Once the installation is over, simply compose an email message like you normally do in Gmail. Only this time you have access to the shortcuts of all RMail features like Track & Prove, Encrypt, E-Sign, SideNote, and PDF Convert.

How to Encrypt Email in Gmail Using RMail
Gmail Email Encryption

How to Ensure You Are Sending Encrypted Emails

RMail for Gmail uses both TLS and message level encryption modes to secure your messages. Users can choose their preferred method of encryption. RMail also provides a dynamic encryption service, which automatically turns on the message level encryption with password protection to ensure 100% compliance, if it detects that your recipient’s email provider isn’t able to accept TLS. You can either choose to send a random, automatically-generated password to the recipient to decrypt the message, create a custom password, or allow your recipient to create their own.

How to Ensure Your Recipients Are Receiving Encrypted Emails

Your recipients will get an encrypted email with the RMail markings of “Registered Email” and “Encrypted Transmission,” which signifies that the email is sent registered and end-to-end encrypted. If you have chosen to send the email through RMail’s message level encryption, your recipient will receive an RMail Secure Message with the password to decrypt the document. They can also reply encrypted to your messages.

Absolute Peace of Mind with RMail for Gmail

It’s critical that highly sensitive data shouldn’t fall into the wrong hands. Email encryption solutions serve as organizations’ first line of defense against data breaches. RMail’s end-to-end encryption protects the email and its contents not just during transit but even after delivery while sitting in your recipient’s inbox.

Further peace-of-mind is guaranteed through the legal proof receipts (the Registered Encryption™ Receipt), which are built into RMail’s all-in-one service for court-admissible proof of fact of end-to-end encryption. The Registered Receipt™ e-mail includes an encrypted copy of a sender’s original message and all attachments as they were received by the recipient’s server. It irrefutably authenticates who said what to whom and when, and with which level of security, instantly and by email.

RMail has been top rated for its email encryption and security capabilities, besides offering the simplest user experience for the sender and recipient. Plus, it’s much more affordable at scale. Try it to encrypt emails for free!