What is Email Authentication?

While email is one of the most commonly used communication frameworks in modern technology, it should come as no surprise that it is also one of the most common platforms targeted by malicious actors trying to phish, spoof, spam, and more. That’s why a demand for standard security technologies and authentication protocols were born. Generally defined, email authentication is a multi-method approach to securing email communications using either IP based and/or cryptographic standards. Generally, there are three primary email authentication protocols: SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.

How Does Email Authentication Work

While the technologies and practices that email authentication standards operate on are all different, they work towards the same goal of stopping bad actors from practices like spamming, spoofing, phishing, and more.

The three primary authentication protocols used today are SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. Lets dive a little deeper into what these technologies are, how they work (in plain English), and how you can use them to protect your email.

SPF

Sender Policy Framework, allows senders to specify which IP addresses are allowed to send email for their domain.

Learn More about SPF

DKIM

DomainKeys Identified Mail, uses public/private key cryptography to verify that an the email was not altered in transit.

Learn More About DKIM

DMARC

Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance, is a standard that allows domain owners to define a policy for their SPF and DKIM authentication.

Learn More About DMARC

Email Authentication at SocketLabs

One of the critical foundational steps when using an email service like SocketLabs is establishing aligned and white-labeled message authentication mechanisms. These measures help demonstrate that your messages are authentic and help facilitate strong inbox placement. Over time, your organization will see improved email performance as you build a trusted sender reputation that further increases the consistency with which your messages are accepted and delivered to the recipient’s inbox.

How To Authenticate Email

SocketLabs provides a strong, multifaceted approach to promote the authentication of your email streams. As a standard feature of our platform we provide an initial layer of message authentication that protects every message we send. This practice helps validate your messages and allow most customers to enjoy strong deliverability results. However, this success is largely based on the strength of SocketLabs’ reputation. That is because from the viewpoint of mailbox providers that receive your messages, it appears (correctly) that SocketLabs’ domain is sending the messages on your behalf. The more desirable alternative is for you to customize your account settings so that the messages appear to be originating directly from your own domain(s) through a process known as white-labeling.

White-Labeling

When you white-label your mail, it will appear to originate from your domain. This means you can start growing and maintaining your reputation independent of SocketLabs. The process of white-labeling allows you to achieve “aligned” authentication in the eyes of the mailbox providers. Specifically, this means that the domain providing authentication is clearly associated with the From address. DMARC policies (which are becoming an industry standard authentication practice) require senders to have SPF or DKIM authentication that is aligned. There are five different settings within a SocketLabs account that customers can customize including sending domain(s), custom bounce domains (SPF), DKIM signatures , engagement tracking, DMARC policies.

Authentication Tools and Resources

What Sets SocketLabs Apart!

We are constantly monitoring changes in ISP authentication practices and make ongoing adjustments to our protocols so clients always have the latest authentication methods at their disposal. Much of our deliverability expertise is applied “behind the scenes” so clients can spend less of their own time optimizing email, and more time on what is important to them.

Authentication is only part of the many steps we take to ensure top deliverability for your emails.
Contact us today or signup for a free account to try it out for yourself!

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