Email Safety and Protection

How to Protect Email Communications

Eckerd College provides two ways to protect email communications depending on the type of information you are sending. The Information Sensitivity Policy provides guidance on the classes of information and the appropriate level of protection.

Emailing Protected Information

Information classified as Protected by the Information Sensitivity Policy should only be sent in an email using Virtru. If you need this capability please submit a request to The cost for this service is ~$50/yr. Virtru provides end-to-end encryption and it also allows you to:

  • Revoke or expire messages

  • Control forwarding

  • Add watermarks to PDF, Office Documents, and common image formats (.jpeg, .png)

Examples of Protected information include:

Biometric data, E-Commerce (PCI), Protected Health Information (HIPAA), Social Security Numbers (SSNs). Student data that is not designated directory information; other personally identifiable information (PII) such as name, birthdate, address, Eckerd ID, etc. when held in combination in a way that could lead to identity theft or other misuse; certain research (e.g. proprietary or otherwise protected).

Gmail now also has a "Confidential Mode"

This name may cause confusion because Eckerd does not approve sending Protected information, described above, using this feature. This feature should only be used to send Operational or Public information as defined in the Information Sensitivity Policy.

Examples of Operational or Public Information include:

  • Budget information, personal cell phone numbers, departmental policies and procedures, internal memos, incomplete or unpublished research.

  • Advertising, product, and service information, job postings, press releases.

Gmail’s "Confidential Mode" allows you to:

  • Set an expiration date for your message.

  • Require an access code to view your message.

  • Disable options for email recipients to forward, copy, print, and download the message’s content.

To get the best use out of Confidential Mode, keep the following in mind:

  • Email sent in Confidential Mode is archived for eDiscovery as defined in the Email Retention Policy.

  • Email attachments can be viewed but not downloaded prior to the email’s expiration.

  • If you need greater revocation control, use Google Drive links instead of file attachments.

  • While confidential mode limits the ability of someone to forward, copy, print, and download the content or attachments, he or she can still take a screenshot of the content.

  • See Send & open confidential emails for additional information.