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G Suite Admins Blog > G Suite Business, Security and Governance

The Secret Inbox: All G-Suite Users Receive Gmail Confidential Mode

G-Suite users receive Gmail confidential mode learn how it works and what you need to know

Good news G-Suite users! You can now make your email content more private and protected than ever, thanks to the official arrival of Gmail confidential mode.

Google had officially announced that the Gmail confidentiality feature was to be switched on as a default capability for all Gmail users starting from June 25th of 2019, when the service is generally available. This new functionality will give G-Suite users on Gmail the chance to send emails that are more secure than anything they've used before.

For instance, using Gmail confidential mode, you can send emails that have their own expiration dates and automatically self-destruct in the inbox. Additionally, when you send an email through confidential mode, you'll prevent anyone from copying, downloading, printing or forwarding your message.

If you don't want to use this service, then administrators will need to switch the confidential mode option off within their admin settings.

What You Need to Know about Confidential Mode

Gmail confidential mode was originally introduced in 2018, with a beta option available in March 2019. As with other messaging services that use self-destruct, like Snapchat, it's worth noting that there isn't anything to stop a customer from taking a screen-grab of a message. Additionally, confidential mode emails are not encrypted end-to-end. If you want something private, you need an encrypted service.

According to the Google help center, confidentiality mode works on the same technology that powers Google Vault - the storage spot that companies can use to support their eDiscovery and archiving needs. When someone sends content in confidential mode, Gmail removes the message body and attachments of the message and replaces them with a link to the content shared.

If someone receives a confidential email on Gmail, they'll see the linked message as part of the email copy. Third-party vendors will just show a URL that people can click on to get the content.

How Does Confidentiality Mode Work?

The Google Vault can retain, search, hold, and export confidential messages sent in a company's domain. However, the Vault doesn't have any visibility into the content of confidential messages, and it doesn't gather any data from Teams. In other words, you needn't worry about information being sent to third-parties.

To deliver information securely via Google Vault, the Gmail application attaches a copy of the confidential message to the recipient message. However, this link will only be attached when the person receiving the email, and the person sending it are in the same organization. You can only access the information through Vault, and you won't be able to view the copy within a Gmail account without Vault access.

Archiving tools from third parties that businesses might use to manage their emails won't be able to access the confidential copy sent in this mode. What's more, if you want to delete all of the copies that are available for a confidential mode message, they will need to be removed within the sender's account.

How to Use Confidential Mode

Starting from June 25th of 2019, confidential mode will be available for any G-Suite Gmail user, and it will be switched on automatically. The mode can be accessed either via the mobile Gmail app, or the desktop. If you want to turn confidential mode on when sending a message, go to the Gmail app on your phone or log in on your computer.

  • Click on compose to create your email
  • In the bottom right-hand side of your email window, click on "confidential mode."
  • If you've already got confidential mode turned on, click on "edit"
  • Set a passcode for your email and an expiration date

Remember that the rules you set for your confidential mode emails will impact the attachments in the document, and the message copy. If you don't provide an SMS passcode, then the recipients who use the Gmail app in your business will be able to open the content straight away. If you're emailing someone who doesn't use Gmail, then they'll get a passcode sent to them so that they can open the other content.

When you choose to set an SMS passcode for your confidential email, your recipients will get a passcode sent to them via text message. You'll need to enter the recipient's phone number for this to work. Click save when you're finished editing to ensure the email is ready to go.