What is Proofpoint?
The Secure Email Center is powered by Proofpoint, a commercial software service that the University purchased in order to comply with the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA). Proofpoint's job is to prevent Protected Health Information (PHI) from falling into the wrong hands, either through theft or negligence.
Do I need to use it?
Only Staff and Faculty have access to this feature. It is primarily accessed by those in the Business Associates Agreement (BAA) in the Health Care Component (HCC), which covers anyone who potentially works with PHI.
Sharing PHI via email should be avoided whenever possible, but this new feature is available for situations when email is the only available option to share PHI. Typically, these involve one-time communication with an individual, such as a patient.
How does Proofpoint work?
The software allows users who work with PHI as part of their job responsibilities to manually encrypt any email sent from their University account.
The message's recipient(s) will in turn receive a notification from Proofpoint telling them they have a secure message waiting for them via a secure web link. The link will take the recipient(s) to a Proofpoint website where they'll be asked to log in before they can view the message.
For a more in-depth overview, see the Proofpoint Secure Email Center