What is DMARC?

What is DMARC?

In the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity, businesses need to stay vigilant against email-based threats. One powerful tool in the fight against phishing and email spoofing is DMARC. But what exactly is DMARC, and why is it important to your business? Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) is an email validation system designed to protect email domains from unauthorized use, a practice commonly known as email spoofing. DMARC builds upon two key email authentication methods: Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM). SPF validates emails by verifying sender IP addresses, while DKIM ensures the content integrity of the email through cryptographic authentication.

To implement a strong DMARC policy, a business should start with a policy of `none` to monitor and collect data on email flows, then move to `quarantine` to allow suspicious emails to be held aside by receiving servers, and finally to `reject` to prevent delivery of emails that fail DMARC checks altogether. This phased approach helps avoid disruptions in legitimate email traffic while refining the authentication processes.

Why Should You Care?

There are many reasons why DMARC matters to your business. Most importantly, it provides an additional layer of protection against phishing and email spoofing. The value you get for the investment is well worth it. The major obstacle we see to creating effective DMARC policies is lack of education around DMARC within the IT community. This is one reason we began to offer DMARC policy management services for businesses of all sizes. By filling in the knowledge gaps, organizations can better protect themselves from these cyber threats.

Why do you need DMARC management? Some reasons include: enhanced email security; protected brand reputation; improved email deliverability; gain insight through DMARC reporting; and better regulatory compliance.

Strong DMARC policies make stronger organizations.

Enhanced email deliverability is another reason to create a strong DMARC management initiative at your organization. For example, if you are spending 15 percent of your revenue each year on marketing, it can be assured that a sizable portion of that is on email marketing. Why risk your deliverability rates because you didn’t have the in-house know how to get your DMARC management efforts in order? By ensuring your emails are authenticated, they are more likely to be trusted by major email service providers.

And with that boost in security and deliverability, it will help maintain your brand promise. Trust in your brand is paramount to customer loyalty. Ensuring you are whom you actually say you are is extremely important and builds trust between you and your customers.

Setting Up DMARC

Implementing DMARC involves a multi-step process:

1. Initial SPF and DKIM Configuration: Establishing SPF and DKIM records for a domain is the foundational step. SPF (Sender Policy Framework) records list authorized IP addresses for sending emails, while DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) adds an encrypted signature to email headers.

By verifying that the email message truly comes from the domain it claims to represent and that the integrity of the message has been maintained, DKIM adds a layer of authentication that helps to build trust in email communications. DKIM uses a form of email signing to verify that an email message was not altered in transit between sending and receiving servers, thereby helping to establish the authenticity of the sender.

2. Creating a DMARC Policy: A DMARC policy instructs email receivers on handling emails failing SPF or DKIM checks.

The policies include:
None: The email is delivered normally, disregarding SPF or DKIM failures.
Quarantine: The email is directed to the spam folder or a specified quarantine area.
Reject: The email is not delivered at all. This is the ideal policy.

3. Monitoring and Reporting: Setting up effective reporting mechanisms under DMARC will be essential. These reports provide insights into the DMARC policy’s performance, highlighting authenticated emails and identifying potential security threats.

If you need help with your DMARC management program, feel free to set up a consultation with us. DMARC management can be made easy with the right tools and team on your side.

Effective DMARC Management

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