Protect the Confidentiality of Form Responses with Encrypted Email

FormSmarts Encrypted Email (S/MIME) allows you to protect the confidentiality of the data submitted through your forms, while keeping the convenience of receiving form responses by email.

Encrypted Email (S/MIME)

FormSmarts encrypted email uses asymmetric encryption (also known as public-key cryptography) to encrypt a message before it is sent in such a way that only the form recipient can decrypt it. The email message itself is encrypted, not just the connection used to deliver it to its destination.

With encrypted email, a form response is encrypted in FormSmarts' backend and only decrypted by the email app on your computer or phone.

FormSmarts secure email is based on the Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME), an Internet standard that is supported by most desktop and mobile email apps.

Should I Use Encrypted Email for My Forms?

Any form that collects personal identifiable information (PII) like Social Security Numbers, health or financial data should be a prime candidate for being delivered by encrypted email.

S/MIME encrypted email is often an alternative to Advanced Protection, which requires form recipients to log in to FormSmarts to access form responses.

How Does Encrypted Email Compare with Standard Email?

Encrypted Email Standard Email
Message Encrypted Not encrypted
Connection Encrypted Usually encrypted
Permanent Storage Encrypted (message is only decrypted in your inbox) May be encrypted

How Can I Start Using S/MIME Email?

All you need to start receiving form submissions by secure email are:

  1. An email software or app that supports S/MIME (most do)
  2. A S/MIME certificate from a Certificate Authority (CA), which you can get free from the CA listed here after verifying your email address

Send by Secure Email (S/MIME)

You then need to install the S/MIME certificate and register it with FormSmarts:

  1. Install the certificate on the devices where you want to access encrypted messages
  2. Send an email digitally signed with the certificate to FormSmarts from one of the devices where you've installed the certificate.
  3. Edit each of the forms you want to protect and toggle on Send by secure email (S/MIME) in the Submit Actions tab, as shown on the screenshot above.

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About the Form Builder Blog

The Online Form Builder Blog is published by FormSmarts, a web form service providing all you need to create a form and publish it online in minutes. FormSmarts makes it easy to build a form and embed it on your site. You can then get form submissions by email or store them on FormSmarts and download an Excel report. Learn more about the many other benefits of FormSmarts.