Email Authentication Guide to Protect Your Brand from Cyber Crimes
Every marketer is trying to hit on the user inbox instead of ending up on the spam/junk folder. Because nobody likes getting spam/junk as it adversely impacts on the open rate of the email you send, which thus influences the ROI of the email marketing effort. Most of the time the emails will reach in the spam/junk folder because of the improper email authentication set up, or the changes were made to DNS and never updated.
It’s important to know about email authentication - one of the top five common reasons for poor deliverability to hit your emails in your user’s inbox. Let’s check what email authentication is, why it matters and the primary methods of email authentication.
Email Authentication: Introduction
Email authentication, also known as domain authentication or validation is the process of verifying that an email is really sent from you or your business. It acts as a digital signature to verify your brand, identity, and reputation so that ESPs will place your email in the user inbox. Thereby the receiver of an email and the mailbox provider can confirm the authenticity of the sender. If the ESPs fails to verify the sender authentication, it may reject your emails or will do some additional checks to ensure whether it should be delivered on the user inbox or on the spam/junk folder.
Why Email Authentication Matters?
ESPs such as Gmail, Yahoo and Outlook use email authentication to ensure whether something is spam, or is worth blocking completely to secure their users. So, if you are sending any unauthenticated email, you will wind up in somebody's spam folder regardless of how genuine the content. In case too many people mark your email as spam then there is a chance that you will get blacklisted by ESPs.
With the early way of designing of an email, it was easier for the Spammers to “forge”, or "spoof” the sender details to act like banks, auction sites, and energy corporations or otherwise to steal cash or send malicious software package. This way did not only harm the recipients of these scam emails, the sender that has been imitated are also likewise losing the reputation.
Types of Email That Needed To Authenticate
● Marketing & Promotional Email ● Customer Service Email ● Non-Bulk Corporate Communications Email ● Email From Mobile Devices ● Sales Email ● Receipts of Shipping Confirmation Email ● Monthly Billing Email ● Email Newsletters
3 Primary Methods of Email Authentication
There are high chances of being filtered or blocked by major ESPs with the lack of email authentication. As a genuine business, authentication is not an option; it is critically important to ensure your sender reputation is protected. There are three primary methods of authentication:
1. SPF 2. DKIM 3. DMARC
The Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is an email-authentication method which is utilized to stop spammers from sending messages on behalf of your domain. With SPF, companies can publish licensed mail servers. Together with the DMARC related data, this offers the receiver data on how dependable the sender of an email is. SPF utilizes DNS (Domain Name Service) which gives you, as an email sender, the way to determine which email servers are allowed to send an email for the benefit of your domain.
Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM)- This email-authentication technique enables the recipients to ensure that an email was surely sent and authorized by the owner of the domain. Such authentication is done by giving a digital signature to the email which is part of the header and is secured with encryption. DKIM signature is not visible to the user and the validation is mostly done at the sender level.
The mailbox service provider when receives the email which is signed by DKIM, it is certain about the authentication of the email. Implementation of DKIM along with SPF will not only improve your email deliverability but will also save your domain from any misuse done by an outside source.
Another email authentication protocol is known as DMARC which stands for Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance. DMARC is an email approval framework intended to shield your sender domain from being utilized for email spoofing, phishing tricks, and different cybercrimes.
DMARC uses the current email verification systems, Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM).
DMARC is an extension to the two existing authentication systems described above namely SPF and DKIM. DMARC allows the domain owner to publish their policy with detailed specification of the following:
• The mechanism that is employed (SPF or DKIM or both) • How to deal with the email failures • How to report for events that are covered in the policy etc
Such email authentication systems ensure the legitimacy of domains which is done through a complete analysis and scrutiny. Email authentication protects email sender reputation and in the process protects the brand as well. Therefore, it is highly recommended that besides the process of validation and verification of the target email ID's, go head to establish your own email authentication too. This will help you to hit on your subscriber’s inboxes and to stay out of the spam/junk folder.
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