External Recipients of an Encrypted email

Below you will find useful instructions on how to open an encrypted email been sent to you by a North Lincolnshire Council employee.

When you receive an encrypted email, you will be required to enter a one-time passcode.

M365 will email the recipient a code to enter before they can view the content.

Should you use either of the Confidential/All Employees encryption options with an external recipient, they won’t have the required permissions to view the message as shown in the example below.

Receiving an encrypted email in different email platforms

The following examples show you what an encrypted email looks like to an external recipient for the following platforms:

  • Gmail
  • Hotmail / Outlook (same process)
  • External Microsoft 365


The recipient will receive the following example secure email which has the North Lincs Logo in the header, the email address of the sender, and a button to ‘Read the message’.

Encrypted email screenshot 1

Clicking ‘Read the message’ takes you to a outlook.office365.com with an option to sign in with a One-time passcode (also with NLC header).

Encrypted email screenshot 2

Clicking ‘Sign in with a One-time passcode’ triggers the passcode to be sent to the recipients Gmail address in separate email.

Encrypted email screenshot 3

Enter the passcode were requested to view the encrypted email and select Continue.

Encrypted email screenshot 4

The encrypted email will then be displayed.

The attachment can be previewed from within the web page, allowing to see the full word document with accessibility, translate and print options. Alternatively, click the download link to download the document. There is an option to forward and reply to all from this web page, including the other recipients of the original encrypted email. Note: Only use Reply All or Forward if necessary.


Receiving encrypted emails in Hotmail or Outlook looks the same as Gmail described above.

However, there are some subtle differences. As a Hotmail or Outlook user, you already have a ‘registered’ Microsoft account which ensures messages stay encrypted within the Microsoft platform.

You are not required to enter a One Time Passcode when using a Hotmail/Outlook account. The encrypted message is delivered directly into your inbox and can be viewed, including opening any attachments.

You cannot see other recipients of the encrypted email if they are using a non-Microsoft account unless you need to Reply or Forward. All recipients will then display in the ‘To:’ field as shown in the example below.

External Microsoft 365

If an external recipient has a Microsoft 365 account, they will receive an email advising they have been sent a protected message and need to click on the ‘Read the message’ button.