Recently, we have been asked by a few people if Paubox works with Microsoft Outlook. More specifically:
We use Outlook for our emails, would your encryption work through that or would we need to use a new program for our emails?
Paubox Email Suite solution enables organizations who use business email solutions such as Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 to send HIPAA compliant emails.
But is Outlook.com HIPAA compliant in the first place?
Is Outlook.com HIPAA compliant?
Outlook.com is not the same thing as Hotmail.
Back in 1996, Hotmail was founded as one of the world’s first free webmail services. In 1997, Microsoft acquired it and then rebranded it as MSN Hotmail. Hotmail was later relaunched to Windows Live Hotmail as part of the Windows Live suite of products.
In 2013, Outlook.com replaced Hotmail, which features Microsoft’s Metro design language and closely mimicked the interface of Microsoft Outlook.
Outlook.com is not the same product as Microsoft 365.
Every HIPAA compliant vendor must sign a Business Associate Agreement with the Covered Entities they serve. A BAA is a written contract between a covered entity and a Business Associate.
According to a 2013 press release by Microsoft about their updated Business Associate Agreement provisions, they mention, “Microsoft’s updated BAA covers Microsoft 365, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Windows Azure Core Services.”
Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM are mentioned as being HIPAA compliant, but not Outlook.com.
Microsoft does not explicitly mention Outlook.com being HIPAA compliant in their press releases, their HIPAA FAQ section, nor in their support forums.
As a result, if you are an Outlook.com user looking to send protected health information or other sensitive information, you will need an encrypted email solution to be HIPAA compliant.
Can I keep the Outlook Interface with Paubox?
Yes. Paubox’s email encryption solution is designed to work seamlessly with Outlook to provide a very fluid user experience.
When we built Paubox, we kept usability top of mind. In other words, Paubox seamlessly integrates with business email clients, including Outlook.
Perhaps most importantly, no setting changes in Outlook are needed or required.