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Can I configure encryption defaults on outlook using Group Policy?

Posted on 2011-09-16
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I've been asked if its possible to use group policy to force a user to encrypt messages by default.  I have been able to do this using Group Policy but it forces encryption on every message and doesn't give the option to send as unencrypted.  Essentially management wants a set-up where a user has to make a concious decision to send an unencrypted email.

Thanks,
Ciaran
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Question by:ciaran_k
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Adam Brown earned 2000 total points
ID: 36550397
Exchange uses an All or Nothing approach for email encryption on Internal emails. Either the entire conversation between Outlook and Exchange is encrypted or it isn't. There isn't a way to allow users to send unencrypted emails if mail encryption is turned on. Now, this is for internal emails only (communication between Outlook clients and the exchange servers). Encryption on email going outside of the organization requires configuration of TLS or the use of S/MIME.

It may be possible to do it if you turn off exchange encryption with clients and utilize S/MIME. This will allow you to configure the default settings in Outlook to set the email Sensitivity level to Confidential by default (thereby allowing users to select a lower sensitivity) but that requires a significant increase in infrastructure, training, and work, since S/MIME requires user certificates to work (and user certificate distribution, which would be a phenomenal pain in the rump for a larger organization).
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