Protect Your Sensitive Outlook Messages with IRM

b2ap3_thumbnail_Outlook400.jpgHow confident are you that the e-mail you send will only be seen by the individual that you are sending it to? What is to prevent someone from forwarding or copying your message? In Microsoft Outlook, there is a security feature called Information Rights Management (IRM) that you can use to secure Microsoft Office files sent via Outlook.

Microsoft Outlook's IRM feature is great for any business concerned with sensitive content being leaked. IRM restricts sharing permissions with Microsoft Office files sent by Outlook; this includes documents from Word, presentations from PowerPoint, and workbooks from Excel. Any business that leans heavily on Microsoft Office applications will find this IRM feature to be especially helpful.

IRM for Outlook works by restricting permissions by the user, and even though these restrictions can technically be worked around by someone with a digital camera or a third party screen-capture program; IRM is still a secure route and the next best thing to having your message "self-destruct in 10 seconds." Sharing and editing permissions for IRM includes:

  • The ability to use support file extensions. This makes it so that your file cannot be viewed after a certain period of time (like an expiration date).
  • Allowing only the file recipients that you authorize to be able to take your file and modify it, copy and paste it, forward it, and print or fax it.
  • The ability to prevent the Print Screen feature in Windows from capturing an image of your file with a screen shot.
  • The ability to customize your restrictions. An example of how this can come in handy is maybe you do not mind if your message gets forwarded, but you still would like to make it so that your file cannot be edited.
  • The ability to enforce corporate policies in regards to the use and dissemination of content that belongs to the company.

To take advantage of IRM for Outlook, you will first need to set up Windows with Windows Rights Management Services (RMS). To install RMS, go to Control Panel > Add or Remove Programs > Add New Programs > Windows Rights Management Services Client > Add. By installing RMS, you are setting yourself up as the RMS administrator which means that you can configure IRM permissions and restrictions to your liking.

As a new RMS administer, the next time that you open an Office application, you will be directed to connect to a licensing server to verify your credentials and download a use license. In order to add use restrictions to any file, you will have to connect with a licensing server and download a use license with each file.

With all the licensing and administration mumbo jumbo out of the way, you can now set permissions in the project that you make in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. If you are the author of the project, you can adjust the permissions to the file by going to File, clicking on Protect Document (or Presentation, or Workbook), and then go to Restrict Permission by People, now click on Restricted Access. You can now assign the access levels that you want for each user. Be sure to explore all of the permission options that you have before you, if you need to, you can give very specific permissions to some people, while giving full access to others.

If you e-mail your file using Outlook, then Outlook will honor these permissions that you set using IRM. This is a great way to prevent people from forwarding, printing, or copying your files from Outlook. Microsoft Office is built for business, and therefore has some pretty sweet security features available to its users. If you would like help setting up these security features in Microsoft Windows and Office, or if you would like to know about additional network security solutions available to your business that will best fit your company's size and policies, then call COMPANYNAME at PHONENUMBER.

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Thursday, 25 April 2019

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