DMARC Demystified: 7 Common Mistakes to Avoid for Effective Email Authentication

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DMARC, or Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance, is a critical component of any comprehensive cybersecurity strategy. However, despite its importance, many organizations still make costly mistakes when implementing DMARC. 

“The best defence against cyberattacks is constant vigilance.”

In this blog, we’ll highlight the seven most common DMARC mistakes and offer tips on how to avoid them.

  1. Failing to publish a DMARC record

The first step to utilizing DMARC is to publish a DMARC record in the Domain Name System (DNS) of your domain. Unfortunately, many organizations fail to do so, leaving themselves vulnerable to phishing and other email-based attacks.

  1. Publishing an “all-fail” DMARC policy

Once a DMARC record has been published, it’s important to choose the right DMARC policy. For instance, an “all-fail” policy instructs email recipients to delete any messages that do not pass DMARC analysis.  This can result in legitimate emails being blocked, causing major disruptions to business operations.

  1. Not monitoring DMARC reports

A key benefit of DMARC is that it provides organizations with detailed reports on their email traffic, including information on which messages passed or failed DMARC evaluation. Unfortunately, a lot of businesses neglect to regularly monitor their DMARC reports, failing to benefit from this useful information.

  1. Failing to align SPF and DKIM with DMARC

SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (Domain-Keys Identified Mail), two other email authentication standards, are used by DMARC to verify the legitimacy of an email. If these standards aren’t properly aligned with DMARC, DMARC evaluation can be unreliable.

  1. Not considering the impact on third-party senders

Many organizations use third-party services, such as marketing automation platforms, to send emails on their behalf. If these third-party senders aren’t properly configured to align with DMARC, DMARC evaluation will fail, resulting in legitimate emails being blocked.

  1. Not updating DMARC policies as email environments change

To make sure DMARC policies continue to be effective as email environments change, it’s crucial to periodically review and update them. If this isn’t done, DMARC might not accurately assess incoming messages, leaving a company open to attacks.

  1. Ignoring the importance of DMARC

Finally, perhaps the biggest mistake organizations can make with DMARC is simply ignoring its importance. Ignoring DMARC exposes an organization to serious risks and makes it impossible to defend against phishing and other email-based attacks.

“To secure the future, we must secure the present.”

The proper implementation of DMARC is a requirement for any business that wants to protect the reputation of its brand and secure its email system.  Organizations can make sure that their DMARC implementation is efficient and that their email environment is secure by avoiding the seven most typical DMARC errors listed above.

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