Using the secure messaging system is much like using any other Internet browser-based e-mail system. The single biggest difference is that all communications using this system are encrypted. The following frequently asked questions should answer almost anything that may come up. If you still experience any problems and need assistance, please refer to your internal business contact.
Q: How do I log on to the secure mail service?
To log on to the secure message service, you need to have already been sent a secure message. Click on the link provided in the secure message notification to access the secure mail service. When prompted to log in, enter your e-mail address (case-sensitive) as your user name, and the password you chose when you registered. If you have not already registered, the first time you go to the secure mail site you are shown the registration screen. Before you register, please review the section on selecting an effective password.
After logging in, you are directed to the web-based e-mail program.
Q: How do I receive a secure message for the first time?
Log on to the secure messaging service via the link from a secure message. Enter your e-mail address (case-sensitive) as your user name, and the password you chose when you registered. If you have not already registered, the first time you go to the site you are shown the registration screen. Alternatively, if the earlier secure message has expired, you can go to the site https://securedelivery.pacificlife.com/swm. You will then be asked for your e-mail address (case-sensitive). Once you select the Submit button, you will be transferred to a blank compose-message page. At this point you can enter the Pacific Life employee's e-mail address, add an attachment, or just type an e-mail. All data in the session is encrypted to allow secure, confidential e-mail.
Q: How do I send a secure message for the first time?
Log on to the secure messaging service. Enter your e-mail address (case-sensitive) as your user name, and the password you chose when you registered. If you have not already registered, the first time you go to the site you are shown the registration screen.
Q: How do I create an effective password?
A password must be at least eight characters in length, with at least one uppercase letter, one lowercase letter and one number. Ideally, it should not contain proper names or words that you might find in the dictionary.
Q: What if I forgot my password?
The "Forgot Your Password?" link is contained in every secure e-mail you receive from us. After clicking on this link, enter your user name (your case-sensitive e-mail address) and select Submit. This will clear your registration. Enter and confirm your new password, then click Submit. Your Inbox will be displayed and you will receive a confirmation message that your password was reset.Q: What if I have difficulty entering my password?
If you fail five or more times to enter a correct password, you will receive a message stating that your password retry count has been exceeded. Return to your secure e-mail notification message and use the "View Message" link to re-enter your password.
Q: How do I know when a secure e-mail is sent?
Once you submit an e-mail through the secure mail delivery service, you will receive a pop-up message that states the message was queued for delivery. Depending on your browser security settings, you may receive an additional pop-up message indicating that the page contains both secure and nonsecure items. In that case, select Yes to display the nonsecure items.
You will also receive an e-mail delivery notification. This e-mail will serve as a delivery receipt for your sent message.
Q: How do I know if there was a problem sending a secure e-mail?
If you attempt to send a secure e-mail to an address that does not exist, you will receive a notification via e-mail that the secure message could not be sent. The notification is sent to the e-mail account that originated the message. Check the e-mail address you used, and verify that it is correct. If you find that you inadvertently entered an incorrect address, no problem. Your confidential information was not compromised. Simply correct the e-mail address and send it again. If the issue was not simply an incorrect e-mail address you will be notified with additional information to correct the problem.
Q: How do I send a message to multiple recipients?
To send a message (and attachments if included) to more than one primary recipient, simply separate the e-mail addresses with commas in the TO field.
Although through normal use you will never encounter this issue, there is a limit on the total number of recipients. If your list is extremely long, this may cause the message to be rejected.
Q: How do I determine if a message was sent to other recipients besides me?
To identify all recipients of a message, press the Show Header button at upper right in the message preview pane. All recipients of the message will be listed.
Q: How large an attachment can I include when Composing or Replying?
Attachments totaling up to 10 MB can be sent in the secure messaging system.
Q: How long are secure messages available?
Secure messages are available for 60 days, after which time they expire and are no longer available.
Q: What happens if I don't read a secure message?
Every week, you will be sent an e-mail reminder that you have an unread secure message. These reminders will continue until the secure message expires.
Q: How do I always send information securely?
If the information is being sent to us, you can always use our secure messaging service.
If you are sending information to other business associates, and the information directly effects our ability to protect our customer's and business associate's confidential information, notify your business contact and explain the situation. Protecting the privacy of Protected Health Information, personal information and confidential business information is our top priority and we will be happy to assist you in guaranteeing this requirement. Through agreement, anyone can be included in the protection provided by our secure messaging service.
Q: How do I know that information that I send is secure?
When you log on to the secure messaging system, you are communicating with a secure server, so any information you enter is encrypted and uses a Secure Socket Layer (SSL). This is the same method used by on-line banking institutions to insure the confidentiality of your financial and personal information while it is being sent across the public Internet.
When you visit a non-secure site, for example http://www.algernons.org/, you can tell by the site address (URL) that it is a public site -- not a secure site. It is not intended for sharing private information. While you are connected to that site, anything you send to the site or read from the site is potentially viewable by the Internet public. Information is sent between your desktop computer and the site as plain text.
You can easily recognize that you are connected to a secure server because the URL at the top of the browser will not start with HTTP, but it will start with HTTPS.
Depending on the browser you use, you may also see a padlock at the bottom right of the browser screen. This padlock (as well as the HTTPS) indicates that all information transferred between your desktop computer and the secure messaging system is encrypted before it travels the public Internet. The strength of this encryption is widely accepted, and satisfies all legal requirements for the protection of health, personal, and financial information.
Q: How do I send out confidential information without using the secure messaging service?
There are volumes of information readily available on this subject, and this topic goes beyond the scope of this Frequently Asked Questions list. Instead, this section will make a few points.
Some of the ways currently being used in our industry are FAX, Secure Point-to-Point and Virtual Private Networks (VPN). FAX, although prolific and may satisfy current regulations, can be undesirable because when a FAX is received it generally can be viewed by anyone who passes the FAX machine.
Regular e-mail is NOT a way to send out confidential information, since regular e-mail shares the same public Internet, it too can be intercepted and viewed since it is in plain-readable text.
There are e-mail encryption methods such as S/MIME (Secure MIME attachments), which require digital certificates for both the sender and the receiver. Although this approach first appeared promising, it has not been widely adopted due to its expense, complexity, and support overhead. It can be an effective solution for a small and captive business audience.
Q: What kind of information should be sent using this service?
Confidential information. Any communication that discloses a patient's health condition, personal information like social security number, street address, phone number, credit history, financial information or anything else that you suspect might be confidential.
When in doubt -- send the information securely. The extra few seconds it takes to send out messages securely is a very small investment to protect information that you hold in trust. Laws that affect the handling and transmission of confidential information are very complex. It is much easier to use the service and protect yourself from possible litigation down the road.