DMARC: The Next Level of Email Authentication

May 15, 2024

Phishing continues to be the leading cause of data breaches and security incidents in business. To combat these occurrences, email service providers such as Google and Yahoo recently implemented mandatory email authentication.

Let's first talk about the three benefits of the latest level of email authentication and its growing importance for your business.

DMARC not only ensures compliance with email authentication, but also safeguards your brand reputation. It guarantees that your emails reach the recipients' inboxes instead of being marked as spam. Additionally, DMARC provides detailed reports to help you understand how your emails are handled by different receivers. These reports are helpful in identifying potential issues and strengthening your email security strategy.  

Understanding the Protocols of Email Authentication

Email authentication is the process of validating the legitimacy of an email by including the server from which it originates and by reporting any unauthorized use of a company's domain. Three protocols are at work in the process of authentication: Sender Policy Framework (SPF), DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), and Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance (DMARC).  

Protocol 1: The Sender Policy Network

The Sender Policy Network lists the IP addresses that have been authorized to send emails from a particular domain.

Protocol 2: DomainKeys Identified Mail

DomainKeys Identified Mail enables domain owners to confirm their identity by digitally signing their email messages.  

Protocol 3: Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance

Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance provides critical security enforcement information which prevents misuse of your domain in bad actors’ spoofing efforts.  

DMARC: How This Latest Protocol of Email Authentication Works

  1. The business sending email messages creates a record in its domain’s server settings that inform message recipients of the business’s authorized IP addresses for sending emails.
  2. When the business’s email reaches the recipient, the recipient’s server checks the email for authorization against the list of IP addresses provided by the business sending the email.
  3. The recipient’s server then acts according to the DMARC policy of the business sending the email. Through this policy, the server will either deliver, reject, or quarantine the email message.

In addition, DMARC authentication provides the business with a report on the delivery status of the sent email messages as well as whether the business’s domain is being impersonated by scammers.  

Steps to Implement DMARC in Your Business

Going beyond the preventive measures of SPF and DKIM, DMARC constitutes a vital component of a comprehensive email security framework. Given the increasing concerns over email security and the prevalence of email spoofing, implementing DMARC in your business is more crucial than ever. Implementing DMARC in your business involves exploring your options and requirements, then engaging with your IT department or Server At Work. If you need assistance implementing these protocols, monitoring their performance and making necessary adjustments, we're here to help.