DMARC compliance is the process of sending emails from a domain that has DMARC implemented and configured for it. An email is determined to comply with DMARC only if it aligns with SPF and/or DKIM email authentication protocols. DMARC compliance determines whether an email sent from an established domain is authorized.
DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance) provides email receivers and domain owners the ability to take policy-based actions against fraudulent emails. When done the right way, this can prevent cyberattacks like email spoofing. The actions may include lodging the emails into the receiver’s spam folder for further review or even outright rejections.
The Importance of Achieving DMARC Compliance
A security survey by Deloitte confirms that 91% of data breaches in today’s world are a result of phishing attacks. DMARC Compliance proactively improves email deliverability. It helps organizations prevent cybercriminals from abusing their email domain. Domain name abuse allows attackers to send out fraudulent messages or phishing emails. These emails reach your employees, partners, as well as customers! DMARC compliance thereby acts as a layer of protection, upholding your confidence and reputation in the market.
“Our clients with DMARC-compliant emails have witnessed improvement in deliverability by almost 10%. They have also reported a significant reduction in domain abuse incidents. Verifiable metrics like these, reinstate the importance of DMARC compliance.”, says Cybersecurity Expert and CEO of PowerDMARC, Maitham Al Lawati.
Given below are some of the main benefits of achieving DMARC compliance:
1. Prevent Spoofing and Phishing Attacks
DMARC complaint emails minimize the risks of spoofing and phishing attacks. Compliance can protect your domain name against impersonation. According to a report by Global Cyber Alliance, organizations can save up to $302,000 per year by implementing DMARC.
2. Improve Mail Delivery Rates
Compliant emails are much more likely to end up in your client’s inbox than non-compliant ones. This is due to more and more email providers making DMARC compliance mandatory for email senders. This helps improve the deliverability of messages sent from authorized IP addresses.
3. Achieve PCI-DSS Compliance
The PCI Security Standards Council has made DMARC mandatory for version 4 compliance. The council further consolidates the need for organizations to gain compliance before March 2025.
Read more about DMARC PCI-DSS compliance.
4. Meet Google & Yahoo’s Email Sender Requirements
If you are a bulk message sender, which most organizations are, you need DMARC compliance now! Starting from Feb 2024, Google and Yahoo would require bulk message senders to send DMARC-compliant emails to their users. This is an attempt at promoting a less spammy inbox, and safer communications.
Read more about Google and Yahoo email authentication requirements.
5. Get Gmail’s Blue Verified Checkmark
Who wouldn’t like to get a verification checkmark every time they send an email? For all domains that have achieved DMARC compliance, and have BIMI activated, Gmail attaches a blue tick to display trust in the source.
Read more about Gmail’s verified blue checkmark.
Check if Your Domain is DMARC Compliant
It is crucial to conduct a DMARC compliance check to ensure that your emails have DMARC enabled properly. More often than not, domain owners make errors while configuring the protocol, leading to compliance issues. At PowerDMARC, we provide a few ways for you to check your compliance when you sign up for free:
Option 1: Use our PowerAnalyzer tool
You can enter your domain name in PowerAnalyzer to get started. Analyze your DMARC, SPF, and DKIM compliances in seconds with a detailed report! What’s better, you also get a domain security score!
Option 2: Use our Free DMARC checker tool
You can check DMARC compliance instantly with our DMARC checker tool. You can examine the status of your record’s validity, and troubleshoot errors faster!
Requirements for DMARC Compliance
DMARC Compliance requires an email to authenticate and align against the Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and/or DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM). An email is determined to be DMARC compliant if it aligns with either or both of these authentication standards. Here are a few prerequisites to achieving DMARC compliance for your outbound emails:
- Enable SPF with a live list of authorized senders, including your third-party providers
- Or, configure your DKIM signature to set DKIM alignment for your emails
- Activate DMARC with a none, reject, or quarantine policy
While opting for DMARC compliance can be effective for preventing direct domain spoofing, it is not always effective. DMARC fails to address look-alike domains, display name spoofing, newly-registered domains, and ‘reply-to’ mismatches. Using multilayered defenses against email data breaches can be effective under such circumstances.
Make Your Emails DMARC Compliant: Step-by-Step Process
To send DMARC compliant emails that easily pass deliverability checks, follow the steps given below:
1. Create an SPF or DKIM Record
Sign up with PowerDMARC to gain access to your DMARC analyzer dashboard. Here you can use our setup wizard to create records in a step-by-step way. Or, you can head over to PowerToolbox to use the free SPF and DKIM generator tools.
Make sure you copy the TXT record(s) and publish it in your DNS with the help of your domain registrar.
2. Create your DMARC DNS record
Once SPF or DKIM is set up, use the setup wizard on our dashboard to create your DMARC record. It’s an easy 3-step process. You just enter the domain you want to manage, create your record, and publish it on your DNS.
3. Set a DMARC Policy
When you create your record for DMARC, it is mandatory to choose a DMARC compliance policy. You can choose one of 3 policy modes.
- Choose “none” for no action against unauthorized emails
- Choose “quarantine” to lodge bad emails in the quarantine folder
- Choose “reject” to stop unauthenticated emails from getting delivered
You can enable a different policy for your subdomains as well. Beware that your subdomain policy will override the policy of your root domain for all subdomains.
4. Publish the DMARC Record
You must publish the created record in your DNS, to activate the protocol. Your DNS may take some time to propagate and implement the changes.
And that’s it – your unauthenticated messages will now be DMARC compliant!
Leveraging DMARC Compliance to Prevent Spoofing
A DMARC enforcement policy of p=reject is what you should go for to prevent spoofing. Policy enforcement should be one of the end goals of your compliance journey. A lower policy doesn’t offer adequate domain protection against impersonation attacks.
Note: A quarantine policy only offers partial protection, by quarantining suspicious emails for review. It still leaves room for risks. While “none” offers no protection.
Policies for recipient handling should be complemented by aggregate and forensic reports. These empower domain owners to track their outbound messages.
Achieve DMARC Compliance In 10 Days or Less with PowerDMARC
PowerDMARC empowers your organization with a well-rounded DMARC-based authentication tool. It incorporates SPF and DKIM records to ensure email security by making your domain DMARC compliant. The services further extend to include DMARC monitoring, reporting, and domain security features. Let’s take you through the benefits:
Multi-Protocol Multi-Lingual Control Panel
PowerDMARC’s SaaS-based multilayered approach to email security includes a DMARC analyzer tool. We provide several protocols that go beyond the scope of just DMARC. Our platform also supports 11 different language versions for inclusivity. We enhance the safety of your emails, making sure all emails sent with your domain name are genuine.
DMARC Compliance Monitoring
Enable Real-time DMARC compliance monitoring in an organized and comprehensive dashboard. We mark the percentage of emails that are DMARC compliant, demarcating the ones that align with SPF and DKIM. The top 5 IP addresses that pose the biggest threat to your email domain are also highlighted.
Simplified DMARC Compliance Reporting
PowerDMARC enables you to receive aggregate reports and encrypted forensic RUF reports. You gain better visibility into the emails that are failing verification, at which stage, and why. Aggregate reports can be filtered into 7 different human-readable and simplified viewing formats. Each view separately highlights your sending sources, reporting organizations, IP addresses, Geolocations, etc!
AI and Alerts
AI-driven threat intelligence maps out and helps you visualize the geo-locations of operation of the abusers of your domain name and their history of domain abuse, while custom email alerts sent to your address help you stay on top of every incident or attack on your domain name.
Error-Free SPF Hosted Services
Don’t let SPF issues hold you back on your compliance journey. Hosted SPF enables your SPF record to stay under the 10 DNS lookup limit by eradicating “permerror” with advanced SPF Macros integration – best equipped to handle complex email authentication setups and infrastructures with ease and prevent authentication failures.
Sign up today to get your free 15-day DMARC trial, and achieve compliance at rocket speed.
“The great partnership we have with PowerDMARC allows us to deliver exceptional services to our clients.”
Steve Smith (MSSP Partner – Advantage)
DMARC Compliance FAQs
How to support unlimited subdomains and maintain DMARC compliance?
Supporting unlimited subdomains to maintain DMARC compliance can be challenging. We recommend:
- Using a wildcard DMARC record entry for your subdomains
- Implement strict SPF and DKIM alignment
- Monitor your DMARC reports regularly
- Implement a DMARC sp (subdomain) policy
- Enforce your DMARC policies gradually
- Finally, use a centralized email authentication management service like PowerDMARC
Do the non-compliant messages drop off?
Whether your non-compliant messages will be dropped off depends on your DMARC policy. If you have set DMARC to “none”, non-compliant messages will still be delivered. However, at “quarantine” and “reject” non-compliant messages will be placed in the quarantine folder or rejected, respectively.
Is Gmail DMARC compliant?
It is possible to enable a Gmail DMARC record. Gmail supports and encourages the implementation of DMARC, SPF, and DKIM for outgoing emails. This can improve your organization’s email security.
Does Outlook use DMARC?
Outlook does use and implement DMARC, along with other email authentication protocols like SPF and DKIM. DMARC instructs email providers like Outlook on how to handle messages that fail authentication.
What happens if there is no DMARC?
Without DMARC, your domain is at a higher risk of spoofing and domain name impersonation. Moreover, you cannot add visual marks in Gmail inboxes with BIMI, without DMARC. DMARC compliance is also an email sender mandate for Gmail bulk senders. Hence, non-compliance may lead to email delivery issues.
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This article has been written by a Cybersecurity Expert. We have outlined practical strategies we implement in real-time to help our customers achieve DMARC compliance.