About Secure Mail:
User-Based Email Encryption Frequently Asked Questions

User-based Encryption
and Secure Mail Services

Intermedia’s User-based Encryption and Secure Mail services are entering end of life.

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

Our User-based Encryption and Secure Mail services’ end of life date is March 1, 2021, and we are notifying our customers and partners. 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.

Intermedia will support the User-based Encryption service until March 1, 2021. We have created this Frequently Asked Questions page to help answer some of the most common questions about this.

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

No. Starting on March 1, 2021, the ‘Secure Mail’ 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:

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

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 Secure Mail software. This is why we recommend uninstalling the Secure Mail software before March 1, 2020.

Is there something I need to do?

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

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

If I do uninstall Secure Mail, can I still access my encrypted messages?

Secure Mail encrypted messages are currently secured in a format that requires the Secure Mail application to decrypt and read. After March 1, 2021, the Secure Mail 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 Secure Mail 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:

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

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

Do I need to decrypt all my secure emails?

No. Microsoft Outlook contains the built-in ability to decrypt S/MIME emails. When the Secure Mail software is uninstalled, all of the Secure Mail 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. Secure Mail 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:

How do I back up my certificates and keys?

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

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.