New Encryption Service for External Emails Available University-Wide Beginning June 1

Protecting the data entrusted to Ohio State is the responsibility of everyone at the university. Beginning June 1, 2022, all faculty, staff, and students will be able to encrypt external email messages using Proofpoint. The university previously used Zix for email encryption which required a personal license for each user.

When it is appropriate to share protected, restricted, or limited access data, every effort should be made to provide access using a secure delivery method other than email. Reference the Institutional Data Policy (IDP) Calculator to determine the best method for sharing university data. When you do need to encrypt an email message, it protects the message from being read by anyone other than the intended recipient.

To encrypt an email message, simply add the phrase “osusecure” to the subject line of your email message. Recipients of these encrypted messages that are Proofpoint users will receive the message with a footer noting that it is encrypted by Proofpoint. Recipients of encrypted messages that are not Proofpoint users will be required to log in to a portal to view the encrypted message.

Before you send an encrypted email, be sure that:

  • You are sending the email from an OSU-managed email account,
  • The recipient(s) are at an email domain that is outside of the university,
  • The information you are sending is appropriate for the recipient(s),
  • The message should be encrypted, and
  • Other secure delivery options are not available or preferable.

Considerations include, but are not limited to, the university’s Institutional Data Policy, FERPA, and HIPAA. Review the university's Institutional Data Policy for additional details.

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center also uses Proofpoint for email encryption. If you are sending or receiving encrypted messages between the university and Med Center, both senders and recipients will no longer have to log in to a portal to access encrypted data. Proofpoint will make this a seamless experience.

If you have any questions about this change, please contact the IT Service Desk at 614-688-4357 or email