- Anti-SPAM, DMARC, email authentication, email deliverability, email reputation, email sender check, ESP
Email authentication is not new however the concept can be a little difficult to understand especially when it is now absolutely necessary for domain owners to implement the anti-SPOOF protocol DMARC.
Let’s start with some key concepts.
Key Concept 1: Email authentication is just like registered post
When you send a letter via the post the details of the intended recipient goes on the front of the envelope. Given the mail is from you then optionally you may put name and/or address on the back of the envelope. You put the letter in the postbox and Australia Post or US Mail (whoever) delivers the letter.
There is quite often a relay of delivery agents who are responsible for the actual sending / delivery of the mail.
If you are the intended recipient, when you receive the letter how do you actually know who the mail is from? You don’t, because anyone could have posted that letter. There maybe tell tail signs such as handwriting but you actually don’t know unless it was registered post. If it is registered post you then have piece of mind and can rely on the contents of the letter.
Email was very similar to traditional mail except many users don’t realise that the actual sender of the email is hidden in the mail headers and instead of a Postal stamp identifying the sender / delivery agent we use the SMTP:FROM or return-path to identify the agent.
And so without registered post (email authentication) it is very easy use someone else’s email address and deliver an email for malicious or criminal intent.
Key Concept 2: Inbound and Outbound
If you protect your domain from SPOOF attack then receivers of email from your domain can trust the content. The same applies for email you receive. If the email can be identified as trustworthy then your organisation can become more efficient and less prone to business email attacks. That is why the Trusted Sender & Trusted Network programs are used to help staff, clients and general email users to be able to identify easily safe email. Protecting your inbound mail servers and staff from unauthenticated email is a vital step in the process.
Key Concept 3: With authentication comes accountability
Once authenticated the email that you send will be analysed by the receiving mail providers and then rated based on more than 1400 different preference combinations. Then your domain will be assigned a reputation and this reputation is what will determine if your email is delivered and where it is delivered to. If you have a poor reputation too often you may have your domain blacklisted permanently which could be a disaster. So it is important that you use a tool like the Zulu Automated Email Reputation Manager and the Zulu Trusted Email Network & Gateway to handle the bulk of the tasks that must occur in order to maintain the highest possible reputation.