Sending Email Securely


E-mail security is essential to protecting the identity and privacy of SMU employees, students, and partners in education. Sutter Health compliance regulations require that all communication of PHI and/or PII transmitted to recipients, including SMU students, outside the Samuel Merritt University network, must be encrypted.

Why Send Encrypted Email?

As a University, we are obligated and committed to protecting the privacy, identity, and safety of our students, prospects, and employees.  Since the University routinely transmits sensitive health information between clinical coordinators, Student Health Services, students, and our liaisons at clinical sites, it is imperative the the institution adhere to HIPPA regulations when handling such information.  Why would you send personal or confidential information in an unprotected email? Sending personal, confidential information in an unencrypted email is the equivalent of writing it on a postcard for all to see.

Encrypting your email will keep all but the most dedicated hackers from intercepting and reading your private communications. 

When do I send Encrypted Email?

All email messages containing electronic personal health information (PHI) or personally identifiable information (PII) transmitted outside the Samuel Merritt University domain must be encrypted, using an SMU approved methodology for email encryption.

Personal health information (PHI), also referred to as protected health information, generally refers to demographic information, medical history, test and laboratory results, insurance information and other data that is collected by a health care professional to identify an individual and determine appropriate care.

Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is information that can be used to uniquely identify, contact, or locate a single person or can be used with other sources to uniquely identify a single individual.  Precautions are necessary when an individual’s full name is accompanied by any one of the following attributes:

  • National identification number (SSN)
  • Vehicle registration plate number
  • Driver's license number
  • Face, fingerprints, or handwriting
  • Credit card numbers
  • Digital identity
  • Date of birth
  • Birthplace
  • Genetic information

How To Send Encrypted Email

When sending from your Samuel Merritt email account, simply include [Encrypt] or [Confidential] anywhere in the subject line of your message (as shown including the brackets).

Your recipients will receive a link to the encrypted message in their regular email inboxes, and then access the encrypted message using Cisco Registered Envelope ServiceFirst time recipients will be required to register online

You will receive notifications in you SMU inbox as secure messages are read by intended recipients.


Reference Information

Sending Secure E-mail

Receiving Secure E-mail

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