Message Encryption is replacing what was previously known as Exchange Hosted Encryption (EHE), and while the basic idea of using mail-flow rules for transparently enforcing encryption policies remains the same, there's one major change on the back-end. Specifically, there has been a move away from the Voltage Identity Based Encryption (IBE) to Microsoft's own Rights Management Services (RMS).
Why was this feature much anticipated? Because it enhances overall security and privacy controls within Office 365's Exchange Online component; it also does so in a customer friendly fashion by incorporating this useful functionality into higher-level O365 subscriptions (starting with E3/G3) at no additional charge (add-on for the lower-level subscriptions):
“Office 365 Message Encryption is an easy-to-use service that lets email users send encrypted messages to people inside or outside their organization. Designated recipients can easily view their encrypted messages and return encrypted replies. Regardless of the destination email service - whether it’s Outlook.com, Yahoo, Gmail, or another service - email users can send confidential business communications with an added level of protection against unauthorized access.”For more information, check out the following:
- Blog post on the Message Encryption announcement - here
- TechNet article that covers Message Encryption details - here
Also, since Rights Management Services (RMS) are essential to the Message Encryption functionality and are also a necessary component of the Information Rights Management (IRM) within different Office 365 components (e.g. SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, MS Office), it would be advisable to gain some familiarity with RMS/IRM. Here are a few helpful links:
- Office 365 Information Protection using Azure Rights Management
- Information Rights Management in Office 365 Documents
- Windows Azure Rights Management
- Enabling IRM Services with Exchange Online
- Enabling IRM Services in SharePoint Online
- Deactivating Windows Azure Rights Management
So, get cranking with Rights Management and Message Encryption. Enjoy!