From SPF to DKIM to DMARC: Building a Robust Email Security Strategy

From Spf To Dkim To Dmarc

From SPF to DKIM to DMARC: Building a Robust Email Security Strategy

Emails are a vital part of the modern world. Worldwide, people send over 347.3 billion emails daily, and the amount of information transferred via email is simply unfathomable. It’s crucial to consider your organisation’s email security when you realise how many emails go out of your organisation every day.

To protect your organisation from email-based vulnerabilities and attacks and to prevent the wrong hands from obtaining your organisation’s identity, it is important to understand how emails are securely sent.

In this blog, we will demystify the concepts of SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, and show you how to fortify your organisation’s email security with just a few straightforward steps.

Understanding SPF

Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is like a digital passport for your emails. It’s the technology that verifies the identity of the sender. Think of an SPF record as a digital bouncer for your email server. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can use the technology to authenticate whether a mail server is authorised to send emails from a specific domain. This nifty tool puts a stop to email spoofing by ensuring that the sender of an email is the real deal. It’s also the reason why your outgoing emails don’t end up in the dreaded spam folder—the SPF record vouches for the email’s legitimacy.


An SPF record is a DNS TXT that lists all the servers allowed to send emails from a domain. The SPF framework checks the SPF record to flag and reject any server that attempts to spoof a domain without authorisation.

SPF essentially works as a record to ensure that authorised domains are sending emails and that you don’t receive spoofed emails that could have nasty consequences for your organisation. SPF also checks the SENT (what you see in Outlook) and FROM (the real email address sending the email) fields to ensure they match; this is a common attack method used in Phishing. It acts as the first line of defence and redirects any rejected emails to the spam bin.

Demystifying DKIM

DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) is an authentication service that uses digital signatures to verify the legitimate source of an email and ensure that the sent and received emails are the same, thus preventing tampering during transit.

However, it does not prevent spoofing or phishing, as it only confirms that the signature has not changed from being sent to being received. Nonetheless, DKIM confirms that your organisation’s emails have not been hijacked or altered during transit. The recipient’s system finds the sender’s public key at a server level to ensure that it matches the key in the email, making DKIM signatures invisible.

Mastering DMARC

Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC) is an email authentication, policy, and reporting protocol. Using SPF and DKIM as a foundation, DMARC complements the former two standards by helping update them to the needs of the modern world.

Specifically, DMARC is designed to satisfy the following —

  • Minimise false positives

  • Provide robust authentication reporting

  • Assert sender policy to receivers

  • Reduce successful phishing delivery

  • Work at Internet scale

  • Minimise complexity

By adding policies to enhance security further and increase your organisation’s protection, DMARC can complement SPF and DKIM fully, ensuring that your organisation’s email security is at the highest level.

Building a Robust Email Security Strategy

SPF, DKIM, and DMARC ensure your organisation’s safe and secure emails. Implementing all three tools into your organisation can easily safeguard your collective inbox from phishing or fraudulent spoofing attacks.

The first significant step in ensuring your organisation has a robust email security strategy is finding a solution that encapsulates all three protocols. Empower your email solution by implementing a powerful tool that ensures your organisation’s email security. Live worry-free, knowing that your email is well-protected.

Another essential part of email security is creating a security-conscious culture within your organisation. While staying protected on the server level is vital, ensuring your organisation is protected against bad-faith actors is also crucial.

Important, everyday things like using secure networks, 2FA, good password hygiene, and anything else to ensure that your email accounts are secure are just as vital as the technical side of security, so neglecting them could be as catastrophic as failing to implement any of the three protocols above.

Why Not Just Add a DMARC Record?

Many companies configure their website, payroll system, and other cloud-based SaaS tools, including HR and marketing solutions, to send emails using their own domain name. How do you know these are all covered fully by SPF and DKIM? Enabling DMARC without including every valid source may reject some crucial messages. Your domain’s SPF records authorise which mail servers are allowed to send emails on its behalf. DKIM adds a digital signature to outgoing emails, ensuring their integrity, and DMARC instructs the recipient’s server on handling emails that fail SPF or DKIM checks. So you can see they all make for a better secure solution.

How Aura Technology Can Help

Email security is a vital part of the modern world. With emails being crucial to any organisation, ensuring high email security is critical. This is why SPF, DKIM, and DMARC exist, as a standard to ensure everyone has access to the best email security available. Get in touch with us today to find out more on how to implement DMARC into your email security strategy. If you don’t know where to start our experts can support and guide you through setting up email security within your organisation.


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