The rate at which emails make it through to the recipients’ inboxes is called the email deliverability rate. This rate can get slowed down or delayed or even lead to failure in delivery when emails end up in the spam folder or get blocked out by receiving servers. It is essentially an important parameter to measure the success of your emails reaching your desired receivers’ inboxes without being marked as spam. Email authentication is definitely one of the options authentication novices out there can resort to, to see a substantial improvement in email deliverability over time.

In this blog we are here to talk to you about how you can improve your email deliverability rate with ease and also discuss the best industry practices to ensure smooth flow of messages across all your email channels!

What is Email Authentication?

Email authentication is the technique used for validating your email for authenticity against all authorized sources that are allowed to send emails from your domain. It further helps in validating the domain ownership of any Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) involved in transferring or modifying an email.

Why Do You Need Email Authentication?

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) which is the internet standard for email transfer, contains no feature to authenticate inbound and outbound emails, allowing cybercriminals to exploit the lack of secure protocols in SMTP. This can be used by threat actors to perpetrate email phishing scams, BEC and domain spoofing attacks wherein they can impersonate your brand and harm its reputation and credibility. Email authentication enhances the security of your domain against impersonation and fraud, indicating to receiving servers that your emails are DMARC compliant and arise from valid and authentic sources. It also serves as a checkpoint for unauthorized and malicious IP addresses sending emails from your domain.

To protect your brand image, minimize cyber threats, BEC and ensure improved deliverability rate, email authentication is a must!

Email Authentication Best Practices

Sender Policy Framework (SPF)

SPF is present in your DNS as a TXT record, displaying all the valid sources that are authorized to send emails from your domain. Every email that leaves your domain has an IP address that identifies your server and the email service provider used by your domain that is enlisted within your DNS as an SPF record. The receiver’s mail server validates the email against your SPF record to authenticate it and accordingly marks the email as SPF pass or fail.

Note that SPF has a 10 DNS lookup limit, exceeding which can return a PermError result and lead to SPF failure. This can be mitigated by using PowerSPF to stay under the lookup limit at all times!

DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM)

DKIM is a standard email authentication protocol that assigns a cryptographic signature, created using a private key, to validate emails in the receiving server, wherein the receiver can retrieve the public key from the sender’s DNS to authenticate the messages. Much like SPF, the DKIM public key also exists as a TXT record in the DNS of the domain owner.

Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC)

Simply implementing SPF and DKIM is just not enough since there is no way for domain owners to control how receiving servers respond to emails that fail authentication checks.

DMARC is the most widely used email authentication standard in the current time, which is designed to empower domain owners with the ability to specify to receiving servers how they should handle messages that fail SPF or DKIM or both. This in turn helps in protecting their domain from unauthorized access and email spoofing attacks.

How Can DMARC Improve Email Deliverability?

  • When publishing a DMARC record in your domain’s DNS, the domain owner requests receiving servers supporting DMARC, to send feedback on the emails which they receive for that domain, automatically indicating to receiving servers that your domain extends support towards secure protocols and authentication standards for emails, like DMARC, SPF and DKIM.
  • DMARC aggregate reports help you gain increased visibility into your email ecosystem, enabling you to view your email authentication results, detect authentication failures and mitigate delivery issues.
  • By enforcing your DMARC policy you can block malicious emails impersonating your brand from landing into the inboxes of your receivers.

Additional Tips on Improving Email Deliverability:

  • Enable visual identification of your brand in your receivers’ inboxes with BIMI
  • Ensure TLS encryption of emails in transit with MTA-STS
  • Detect and respond to email delivery issues by enabling extensive reporting mechanism with TLS-RPT

PowerDMARC is a single email authentication SaaS platform that combines all email authentication best practices such as DMARC, SPF, DKIM, BIMI, MTA-STS and TLS-RPT, under the same roof. Sign up today with PowerDMARC and witness a considerable improvement in email deliverability with our enhanced email security and authentication suite.