Smarsh Hosted Services User-based Encryption and Encrypted Message services are entering end of life.

End of life date: May 1, 2021. These services will not be supported and will stop encrypting messages after this date.

In contrast, Policy-based encryption will continue to be supported and is being enhanced. We recommend accounts with User-based Encryption consider Policy-based Encryption as an alternative. Policy-based Encryption will feature an Outlook add-in that offers a comparable user experience.

Smarsh Hosted Services will support the User-based Encryption service until May 1, 2021. We have the Frequently Asked Questions below to help answer some of the most common questions about this.

Q: Can I keep sending secure emails using User-based Encryption on and after May 1, 2021, even though the software is not supported?

A: No. Starting on May 1, 2021, the Encrypted Message button in Microsoft Outlook will not function for encrypting emails. This change will happen after restarting Microsoft Outlook after that date. When the button is pressed, this information pop-up with instructions will appear instead.

Q: Can I still open and read the existing secure messages in my Outlook after May 1, 2020?

A: Yes. To read your existing secure emails, the software will continue to function as normal. However, there is risk that upgrades to Microsoft Outlook or Microsoft Windows will introduce incompatibilities with existing Encrypted Message software. This is why we recommend uninstalling the Encrypted Message software before May 1, 2020.

Q: Is there something I need to do?

A: Yes. It is very important to back-up your Digital ID. Encrypted Message uses a password-protected PFX file stored on your local computer. This PFX file contains your certificates and private key history. After May 1, 2021, you will not be able to use the Tools & Settings application that was installed with the Encrypted Message application to restore your Digital ID. For this reason, it is crucial that you create and save a local copy.

See the How do I back up my certificates and keys? section below for step-by-step instructions.

Q: If I do uninstall Encrypted Message, can I still access my encrypted messages?

A: The encrypted messages are currently secured in a format that requires the Encrypted Message application to decrypt and read. After May 1, 2021, the Encrypted Message application will still provide this capability; however, there will no longer be any feature or security updates to the application. Therefore, we recommend that you take the following steps to ensure continued access to the messages you have previously encrypted:

  1. Either decrypt all messages or convert them to the Microsoft S/MIME format – messages in this format will be viewable natively using the Microsoft Outlook application.
  2. Back up your digital ID.
  3. Once steps 1 and 2 are completed, remove the Encrypted Message application from your desktop.

Options to convert messages to Microsoft S/MIME format and to back up your ID are available from the Tools & Settings menu.

Note: If your mailbox contains a large number of messages, the conversion can take many hours. If possible, we recommend you start this process and leave it to run overnight. The Tools & Settings application has the conversion option in the Encrypted Mail Options page:

Tools & Settings

When Encrypted Message is uninstalled, the uninstall process automatically scans the Outlook mailbox and converts all encrypted messages to Microsoft format.

After Encrypted Message is uninstalled, you can decrypt messages using native Outlook S/MIME support:

Outlook S/MIME

Q: Do I need to decrypt all my secure emails?

A: No. Microsoft Outlook contains the built-in ability to decrypt S/MIME emails. When the  Encrypted Message software is uninstalled, all of the Encrypted Message secure messages are converted to native Outlook S/MIME messages during the uninstall. Please note that this process can take several minutes, even hours, depending on the size of a mailbox. Do not stop the uninstall process or restart your computer until the uninstall is complete.

Optionally, you may also choose to decrypt your emails. Encrypted Message includes a feature to decrypt one message, or multiple messages, permanently, removing the encryption and leaving the emails in clear text.

You can select all the messages in a folder in Outlook, and right-click on an encrypted message. Select Decrypt Item(s) Permanently:

Decrypt Permanently

Q: How do I back up my certificates and keys?

Before uninstalling the Encrypted Message software, create a backup of certificates and private keys. To do this, the Tools & Settings application features a Backup / Export this ID option:

Backup/export ID

You now have a copy of your Secure ID in a PFX file. Keep this PFX file in a safe place, so that you can restore your certificates and keys in the event of a failed hard drive or new computer.