Five best practices to ensure e-mail authentication

Share this content:
Conceptually, it's simple. You — a legitimate sender of e-mail — provide a way for the recipient to know it's really you, and, together, we stem the tide of spam and fraudulent e-mail. Not all concepts translate into practice. Although several e-mail authentication standards exist, most senders and receivers only use some; others don't use any at all. What's a marketer to do?

First, know some authentication basics. Two “families” of standardized approaches for e-mail authentication exist: Sender ID/SPF and DomainKeys/DKIM. Sender ID provides a text record on your DNS server and is easier to implement than the encryption-based DKIM, which requires encoding software at the sending end. Most e-mail service providers (ESPs) and mail server vendors deploy both methods.

Why authenticate? When used by senders and receivers of e-mail, proper e-mail authentication helps the recipient decide about delivering e-mails. If they know you and correlate that with your sending habits, they'll deliver more of your legitimate e-mail and reject messages from senders pretending to be you. Most major Web mail services, such as AOL Mail, Gmail, Windows Live, Hotmail and Yahoo Mail, check for standard authentication methods. Authentication also helps your messages get noticed. Some providers indicate authentication with an icon.

There are five basic steps to ensure successful authentication.

First, involve the team You need support from everyone involved in sending your e-mail, including third parties sending for you.

Next, take inventory. Round up all sources of e-mail from your company, internal or external, centralized or rogue. Once you have this list, establish procedures within your company to control and monitor sources of e-mail.

Pick an authentication method. Unless you need an overhaul to get there, don't sweat this one. Do both. One or the other may be the key to better delivery and visibility.

Implement carefully. Using your inventory of sending domains and IP addresses, you can start to authenticate. You should also authenticate domains that don't send e-mail to prevent pretenders from using your name. Proceed with caution by sending your initial messages in “test” mode because improper authentication will work against you.

Finally, monitor closely. Stay on top of your e-mail infrastructure. New domains, new or different IP addresses and new third party services all need to factor into your overall authentication plans. When should you authenticate? As authentication and associated sender reputation become core components of successful message delivery, you don't want to get left behind. The time to authenticate is now.

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

PAN Communications is an award-winning integrated marketing and public relations agency for B2B technology and healthcare brands. PAN's data-driven approach allows the firm to specialize in public relations, social media, content and influencer marketing, and data and analytics. PAN partners with brands to create unique, integrated campaigns that captivate audiences.

Find out more here »

Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here

Relive the 2017 Marketing Hall of Femme

Click the image above