Microsoft Office 365 is set to get email encryption in 2014.

The software giant intends to push out a new Office 365 feature, which will enable users to subscribe to one of the Redmond-based company's enterprise hosting plans in order to send encrypted email messages.

The Office 365 Message Encryption feature will encrypt all the messages by default; however, the recipients will require either Office 365 or a Microsoft account ID to read the email. It is basically a new version of Exchange Hosted Encryption (EHE), which will make it easier to encrypt emails on multiple platforms.

Microsoft said it is an optional feature and will work with several email platforms like Outlook.com, Gmail, Yahoo, Lotus Notes etc.

"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," notes Shobhit Sahay, product marketing manager on theMicrosoft Exchange team, in a blog post.

Recipients of the email will see an encrypted message attachment in their email. On double-clicking the same, it will open in a new window. In order to view the email message, the recipient will be required to authenticate the same, using Office 365 or a Microsoft account ID.

"With Office 365 Message Encryption you can send sensitive information to people outside your organization with the confidence that that information is protected," per Sahay.

Sahay also noted that messages will be encrypted before leaving Microsoft's datacenter "to prevent any spoofing or misdirection." Moreover, the messages will be secured in transit using TLS and SSL.

However, per Microsoft, Office 365 users in China will not be able to avail the encryption service.

Microsoft intends to introduce the encrypted email feature by March-end 2014 and customers who are currently using EHE will get upgraded to Office 365 Message Encryption around the same time.

The feature will be added to Office 365 enterprise-level E3 for $20 per month for each user. For E4 plans it will be $22 per month for each user.

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