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New Email Encryption Process Available July 12

Posted Date: 28 Jun 2016

Modified Date: 28 Jun 2016

Effective Date: 12 Jul 2016

Beginning July 12, all Northwestern Collaboration Services users will be able to use a simple keyword process to encrypt sensitive email messages to recipients outside the University. This security tool, along with initiatives like Multi-factor Authentication and an upgraded Email Defense System, is part of a continuing effort to provide a secure electronic environment for faculty and staff to appropriately share such information.

Email encryption at Northwestern, powered by IronPort, is a simple way to securely transmit information so only the intended recipient can read the contents of an encrypted email. This helps to insure the confidentiality of the email and protects information from being stolen or accidentally accessed by unintended recipients.

Any message containing Personally Identifiable Information (PII), Personal Health Information (PHI), or other sensitive information such as Social Security Numbers, student records, or research data should always be encrypted.

End User Impact

To manually encrypt from a Collaboration Services email address (ex.,,, insert any of the keywords listed below, in brackets, anywhere in the subject line of an email. The only requirement is that keywords must be contained within brackets, e.g., SUBJECT: Student Account Information[secure] or SUBJECT: [private]New Employee Information

Recipients of encrypted messages will have to go through a one-time registration process to view the email. Once registered, the recipient will be able to view encrypted email by entering a password. There will be a link and information within the text portion of the encrypted email directing them to the instructions on how to register (mobile devices and standard email clients); instructions are also available on the IT site.

University email messages (e.g., “” to “”) or messages sent between University email accounts and other trusted affiliate email systems (e.g., “” to “”) are automatically encrypted and do not require any additional security. Note that messages sent to Northwestern Google Apps student accounts (e.g.,, are not automatically encrypted.

Additional Information:
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