2 Reasons Why Email Authentication is More Important Than You Might Think

By Jess

2018-08-21

Even though email authentication might seem like a detail in the larger scope of email marketing, it is the very factor that determines deliverability, prevents scamming and preserves a trustworthy relationship with your subscribers. We’ll tell you how!


In a rush? Here are the keypoints of this article:
1. Email authentication reassures deliverability and prevents fraud.
2. It is the procedure that validates the sender by blocking out harmful and fraudulent uses of email.
3. DKIM, SPF and DMARC are the three methods for email authentication.
a. DKIM uses key encryption to verify the sending domain and the email contents are left unaltered during the sending process.
b. SPF is a domain name system validation protocol that acts as a barrier against email spoofing.
c. DMARC unifies SPF and DKIM protocols into a common framework, adds features such as reporting, policy definition and notion of identity alignment.

Authentication Ensures Deliverability and Prevents Fraud

Authentication might sound like a rather dull term meant for the eyes and ears of tech-savvy email designers. However, authentication should be one of your top priorities as an email marketer.

In essence, email authentication reassures deliverability by proving that an email isn’t forged. It is a procedure of trust that validates the sender by blocking out harmful and fraudulent uses of email, such as phishing or spam.

The inner-workings of email authentication is that the email provider or ISP (Internet Service Provider) identifies and confirms the sender through their IP-address. That way, the protocol makes decisions about the delivery.

But why should it bother you as a marketer?

Imagine this: due to a lack of safeguarding, your domain or server is hijacked, your emails fail to reach your subscribers and your numbers turn red....

Even though authentication might sound like a technician's area of expertise, you, as a marketer, bear a large part of the responsibility (not to mention accountability if something goes awry...). Because here’s the kicker: If authentication fails, your emails are either rejected or heading down a devastating spiral of spam and blacklisting…

How and Why You Should Authenticate Your Emails

What technical standards can you put in place and what methods can you utilise to avoid the dire consequences of fraudulent email marketing and failure of delivery? There are numerous protocols available for your utilisation. These are:

  • DKIM
  • SPF
  • DMARC

Without these frameworks and mechanisms for email authentication, email spammers and scammers can run free. In a way, the technical protocol acts as a wall of defence to validate the sender and to wane off identity theft through high-jackings of your server or IP. And in the end, authentication protects your brand, identity and reputation.

DKIM

DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) uses key encryption to verify the sending domain as well as that the contents of an email have been left unaltered during the journey from sender to recipient. In simpler terms: it confirms that the message your subscriber receives is the one you actually sent.

SPF

Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is a DNS-based (Domain Name System) validation protocol that acts as a barrier against email spoofing. The mechanism is based on authorising IP-addresses that are allowed to send emails from a particular domain.

The list of valid addresses are collected in an SPF record. Scammers who try to impersonate your brand to access sensitive information for fraudulent purposes will be caught in spam filters as their addresses aren’t authorised.

DMARC

Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) is the big boss of email authentication. Why? Because it unifies SPF and DKIM protocols into a common framework.

Built upon two protocols of authentication, DMARC adds features such as reporting, policy definition and the notion of identity alignment. This provides another layer of protection from vicious phishing attacks and further strengthens and ensures your deliverability.

If the scammers find ways to seep through the system, your domain’s reputation won’t be harmed if you have DMARC in place.

Do you need help to secure your email authentication? Our deliverability specialist are happy to be at your service!

 

This article was originally published in July 2018 and updated in Aug 2018.

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