Do you encrypt confidential client email? You should, of course. But do you? The problem with encryption is that it can be cumbersome. In fact, both encryption and decryption can be a hassle.

Now there is a free application that makes encrypting and decrypting emails so easy that, well, even a lawyer can do it. Called Enlocked, it works with Outlook, web-based email clients and even Apple and Android mobile devices.

Enlocked adds a "Send Secure" button in Outlook.

To use it with Outlook, simply download the plugin, install it and restart Outlook. Now, when you compose an email, a new button appears on the tool bar, “Send Secure.” Compose your email as you normally would. When you’re ready to send it, use this new button. Your email is encrypted and sent.

Of course, encryption requires decryption at the other end. To read your email, the recipient will also have to have the plug-in installed. If you send an email to someone who has not installed Enlocked, then he or she automatically receives a separate email explaining that they are about to receive an encrypted message and describing how to install the app in order to read it. Recipients no longer receive this message once they install the app.

Once the recipient has installed Enlocked, then he or she is able to read your encrypted email just as any other email. The decryption is seamless and invisible.

For Web-based email programs, such as Gmail or Hotmail, Enlocked provides browser extensions. Extensions are available for Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari.

For mobile devices, Enlocked has apps for the iPhone, iPad and Android. A BlackBerry app is “coming soon,” the website says.

You can install Enlocked on as many devices and in as many browsers as you like. Besides installing it in Outlook, I also installed the Chrome extension and tried it in Gmail. Just as in Outlook, when you compose a message in Gmail, a new button appears, “Send Secured.”

Worth noting is that Enlocked uses the OAuth protocol to work with your email. This lets it work with your data without ever having direct access to your data or to your email passwords. If you should ever lose a device, then you can block access to encrypted messages on the device simply by changing your email password.

For encryption, Enlocked uses PGP, which is the original and, safe to say, most trusted encryption program.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.