CIO: Office 365 Data Loss Prevention for Personally Identifiable Information

The Main Point

Beginning April 1, 2019, the USDA Office of the Chief Information Officer will be enabling Office 365 data loss prevention policy for Personally Identifiable Information data. The implementation of Office 365 Message Encryption to Outlook and Outlook Web Access will allow USDA users to encrypt sensitive information before emailing it to recipients outside of USDA.

What You Need To Know

Until Office 365 Message Encryption is in place, you will receive a policy tip warning when you try to email unencrypted PII to an outside recipient from Outlook or OWA. See figure 1 below. This policy tip will not prevent you from sending your email in any way. Once OME is enabled, you will be prevented from sending the email until you encrypt the message.

Figure 1. Policy Tip Warning

NOTE: USDA cyber security teams will log and monitor unencrypted emails that contain PII.

Warning Email

You will receive the following warning email every time you send unencrypted PII to recipients outside of USDA:


EMAIL Sensitive Information Warning

You are receiving this warning because this email has been flagged as containing Personally Identifiable Information or other sensitive information. It is a violation of Federal law to send unencrypted PII or sensitive data outside of the USDA without properly encrypting the message, even for valid business purposes. Sensitive information detected may include tax identification numbers, social security numbers, or passport information.

All unencrypted messages containing PII sent outside of the USDA are recorded and monitored.

If you have questions or believe you received this message in error, please contact

Help is Available

For technical help call the Customer Help Desk at 1-866-945-1354 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339), start a chat with a CHD agent, or type the full KBA number or “keywords” in double quotes into the Search box on the CHD site to find helpful knowledge management documents.

The CIO is committed to providing reasonable accommodation in all of its activities, services, and programs for individuals with disabilities. If you require reasonable accommodation in accessing and using the information contained in this email, please email CIO News.

Visit the CIO News Archives for past emails.


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