Microsoft has extended support towards email authentication protocols like DMARC across all of its email platforms. But you should know how to correctly implement DMARC for Office 365, in order to fully utilize its benefits.
In recent times, a majority of businesses have made a shift towards using effective and robust cloud-based platforms and hosted email exchange solutions such as Office 365. Subsequently, cybercriminals have also upgraded their malicious techniques to conduct email fraud by outmaneuvering the security solutions that are integrated into the platform. This blog takes you through the steps for how to setup DMARC office 365.
Why Setup Office 365 DMARC?
The first question that might arise is that, with anti-spam solutions and email security gateways already integrated into the Office 365 suite to block fake emails, why would you require DMARC office 365 for authentication? This is because while these solutions specifically protect against inbound phishing emails sent to your domain, DMARC authentication protocol gives domain owners the power to specify to receiving email servers how to respond to emails sent from your domain that fail authentication checks.
DMARC makes use of two standard authentication practices, namely SPF and DKIM to validate emails for authenticity. With a policy set to enforcement, Office 365 DMARC can offer a high level of protection against impersonation attacks and direct-domain spoofing.
Do you really need DMARC while using Office 365?
There’s a common misconception among businesses, that having an Office 365 solution ensures safety from spam and phishing attacks. However, in May 2020, a series of phishing attacks on several Middle Eastern insurance firms using Office 365 caused significant data loss and an unprecedented amount of security breaches. So here’s what we learned from this:
Reason 1: Microsoft’s security solution isn’t foolproof
This is why simply relying on Microsoft’s integrated security solutions and not implementing external efforts for protecting your domain can be a huge mistake.
Reason 2: You need to setup DMARC office 365 for protection against outbound attacks
While Office 365’s integrated security solutions can offer protection against inbound security threats and phishing attempts, you still need to ensure that outbound messages sent from your own domain are authenticated effectively before landing in the inboxes of your customers and partners. This is where DMARC for office 365 steps in.
Reason 3: DMARC will help you monitor your email channels
DMARC not only protects your domain against direct domain spoofing and phishing attacks, it also helps you monitor your email channels. Whether you are on an enforced policy like “reject/quarantine”, or on a more lenient policy like “none”, you can track your authentication results with DMARC reports sent either to your email address or on a DMARC report analyzer tool.
How does DMARC work in Office 365?
When you set up DMARC Office 365, you’re telling Office 365 how to handle emails that fail SPF or DKIM checks. For example, if your company uses a third-party email service, you can use DMARC to instruct Office 365 to reject any messages from senders who don’t pass these checks.
You can also setup DMARC Office 365 to request reports about how your domain’s email is being handled by third parties. DMARC helps protect your company’s brand by ensuring that all emails that claim to come from your domain are actually legitimate communications in the first place.
DMARC accomplishes this by requesting that senders verify their identities before sending emails on behalf of your domain. If the sender fails to do so, DMARC will reject the message.
Now let’s check out how to setup DMARC office 365:
How to Set Up DMARC for Office 365?
Security solutions that come with the Office 365 suite act as spam filters that cannot secure your domain from impersonation, highlighting the need for DMARC. DMARC exists as a DNS TXT record in your domain’s DNS. For configuring DMARC for your domain, you need to:
Step 1: Identify valid email sources for your domain
These would be source IP addresses (including third-parties) that you want to allow to send emails on your behalf.
Step 2: Set up SPF for your domain
Now you need to configure SPF for sender verification. To do so, create an SPF TXT record that would include all your valid sending sources including external email vendors.
Step 3: Set up DKIM for your domain
Althought you need either SPF or DKIM configured for your domain for you to enable DMARC office 365, setting up DKIM will add an additional layer of security to your domain’s emails.
Step 4: Publish a DMARC TXT record in your domain’s DNS
Finally, you would need to publish a DMARC record in your DNS.
You can use PowerDMARC’s free DMARC record generator to generate a record instantly with the correct syntax to publish in your DNS and configure DMARC for your domain.
However, note that only an enforcement policy of reject can effectively help you mitigate impersonation attacks and domain abuse, while a none policy is good in the initial stages of your configuration if you simply want to monitor your email channels.
What happens if DMARC policy is not enabled in Office 365?
If you don’t enable Office 365 DMARC, you are at risk of having your domain spoofed.
DMARC is designed to help protect your domain from being spoofed by email senders who want to gain access to your email systems and use them for fraud or phishing.
If you don’t enable DMARC for Office 365 accounts, it means that anyone can send emails on behalf of your domain, even if they don’t have permission to do so. It also makes it impossible for you to determine who sent the message and whether or not it came from an authorized source.
As a domain owner, you always need to look out for threat actors launching domain spoofing attacks and phishing attacks to use your domain or brand name for carrying out malicious activities. No matter what email exchange solution you use, protecting your domain from spoofing and impersonation is imperative to ensure brand credibility and maintain trust among your esteemed customer base.
5 Reasons Why You need PowerDMARC while Using Microsoft Office 365
Microsoft Office 365 provides users with a host of cloud-based services and solutions along with integrated anti-spam filters. However despite of the various advantages, these are the drawbacks you might face while using it from a security perspective:
- No solution for validating outbound messages sent from your domain
- No reporting mechanism for emails failing authentication checks
- No visibility into your email ecosystem
- No dashboard to manage and monitor your inbound and outbound email flow
- No mechanism to ensure your SPF record is always under 10 lookup limit
DMARC Reporting and Monitoring with PowerDMARC
PowerDMARC seamlessly integrates with Office 365 to empower domain owners with advanced authentication solutions that protects against sophisticated social engineering attacks like BEC and direct-domain spoofing.
When you sign up with PowerDMARC you are signing up for a multi-tenant SaaS platform that not only assembles all email authentication best practices (SPF, DKIM, DMARC, MTA-STS, TLS-RPT and BIMI), but also provides an extensive and in-depth dmarc reporting mechanism, that offers complete visibility into your email ecosystem. DMARC reports on the PowerDMARC dashboard are generated in two formats:
- Aggregate Reports
- Forensic reports
We have strived to make the authentication experience better for you by solving various industry problems. We ensure encryption of your DMARC forensic reports as well as display aggregate reports in 7 different views for enhanced user-experience and clarity.
PowerDMARC helps you monitor email flow and authentication failures, and blacklist malicious IP addresses from all over the world. Our DMARC analyzer aids you in configuring DMARC correctly for your domain, and shifting from monitoring to enforcement in no time. This can help you enable DMARC office 365 without worrying about the complexities involved.