How Sensitivity Options in Outlook Can Help Protect Confidential Information

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How Sensitivity Options in Outlook Can Help Protect Confidential Information

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In today’s digital age, we send and receive hundreds of emails every day. While emailing has made communication quicker and easier, it also poses challenges when it comes to protecting confidential information. When you’re working with sensitive information, knowing and using the sensitivity options available in Outlook can help safeguard the data. In this article, we will explore how sensitivity options work in Outlook, when you should use them, and what each sensitivity level means. This article is written for managers, knowledge workers, and executives in non-profit organizations.

Normal – This sensitivity level is used for regular, day-to-day emails that don’t contain any sensitive information. It is the default setting for all emails in Outlook.

Personal – If you want to indicate that an email is for the recipient’s eyes only, you can choose the Personal sensitivity option. This option is suitable for email communication that is personal in nature, such as sharing an update about a family event or sending a personal message.

Private – The Private sensitivity option is used when you want to mark an email as confidential, and only specific recipients should have access to it. By setting this option, you restrict forwarding and replying, and you can ensure that the email is only seen by those whom you want to have access.

Confidential – This sensitivity level is the most secure sensitivity level in Outlook. It is used when you are working with highly sensitive data, such as financial information, legal documents, or any private information of an organization. With the Confidential sensitivity option, you restrict copy and paste functionality, and you can add encryption to the email.

When Should You Use Sensitivity Options in Outlook?

Knowing when and how to use sensitivity options in Outlook is essential to protecting confidential information.  If you’re working with an organization’s confidential information, it’s crucial to use the Confidential sensitivity level to secure sensitive data from unauthorized access. You should also use the Private sensitivity level when you want to limit the audience to specific recipients only.

The sensitivity options may also come in handy when dealing with HR-related content and private information like salaries, discipline, and performance reviews. The Private sensitivity level ensures that the information remains between the sender and the intended recipient.


In conclusion, sensitivity options in Outlook are a useful and essential tool for protecting confidential information. Whether you’re working with legal documents, financial information, or a non-profit’s sensitive data, it’s crucial to use them appropriately to ensure that the information remains confidential. By using sensitivity options, you can secure your data efficiently and prevent unwanted access or unauthorized distribution. If you’re uncertain about which sensitivity level to use, choose the highest level of sensitivity to ensure the email remains confidential. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!