What is Confidential Mode, and why use it?
This Gmail security feature, which was only available to the general public thus far, helps protect sensitive information sent via emails.
With the Confidential Mode, the recipient receives a link that gives access to the email content and attachments.
It allows Gmail users to disable copying, forwarding, printing, and downloading confidential content in their emails and to set an expiration date, after which the recipient cannot access the email anymore.
The sender can also revoke the access to their email anytime, as well as lock the message by requiring an authentication code, sent by SMS to the recipient, needed to get access.
Although it cannot fully guarantee the content’s safety (the recipient can still take a picture or a screenshot of the email), it allows senders to protect their data even if a hacker takes over an email address. This production is all thanks to the access revoking and the SMS authorization functions.
How to use it or turn it off?
Although G Suite users can already use the feature through the beta program, it will be set ON by default from June 25th, 2019. However, G Suite administrators already have the option to disable the Confidential Mode for the entire organization domain, or just for specific units, from the user settings in the Gmail settings page.
It is also possible for admins to block incoming confidential emails by setting a compliance rule.
For an end-user to send a confidential email, all he or she has to do to activate it is click the lock icon symbol at the bottom of the email before sending the email.
Confidential Mode and Google Vault?
Vault is Google’s web-based application to archive, search, and export data for G Suite users. It works with emails, chats and conversations, record, and files.
So, how do Confidential Mode and Vault work together?
Well, depending on the relation between the sender and the recipient, whether they are from the same organization or not, the processes won’t be the same.
As we saw above, the recipient of a confidential email does not directly receive the message, but a link to it. However, Vault can still hold, retain, search, and export the content, even after the email expiration date.
For confidential messages sent internally, between senders and recipients within the same organization, Vault will indeed archive, retain, and export the content.
When it comes to confidential emails received from external senders, the content is hidden from Vault. While it is still possible to hold, retain, search, and export the email subject, the content and attachments cannot be processed.
*Feature Image Cred: Google