DMARC

What is DMARC? If you’re looking for a highly effective way to protect your reputation, combat phishing, email fraud, and spoofing, you’ve found it.

Phishing and email attacks are the most common form of cyber threat in the UK. 84% of the cyber attacks against UK businesses are phishing-based.

DMARC – Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance – is a technical standard that helps you protect your business from cyber criminals who try to use your company’s email accounts as a way to get at your sensitive information.

What is DMARC?

DMARC is a technical standard designed to battle all kinds of phishing, business email compromise (BEC), and spoofing cyber attacks. It does this by being an extra layer of authentication over and above the two standard mechanisms used for this (SPF and DKIM).

Because basic email phishing attempts are easy to spot. But sophisticated spear phishing and business email compromise attacks often rely on spoofing a legitimate email domain. By doing this, attackers convince one of your team members to send sensitive information (or funds).

DMARC email security protocols help stop this. If you have them set up properly, every time someone on your network sends or receives an email it is checked against DMARC, meaning the receiver confirms how a message from them would be protected if it was genuine.

If the details don’t “align”, correctly set up DMARC protocols detail what the receiver should do with that email. Accept it. Block it. Or quarantine it. They can also report back to the sending domain owner, potentially making them aware of an issue.

So, what is DMARC? In short, it’s an additional layer of protection and authentication that every business should use in a world where email attacks are incredibly common. And hugely costly.

Why Consider DMARC for Your Business?

Email fraud prevention

DMARC’s original purpose is email fraud prevention. These security controls help protect your business from fraudulent emails. These could appear to be from genuine suppliers, partners, and even company leadership in the depressingly common case of CEO fraud.

Reliable email delivery

Finding that your legitimate emails are being blocked by spam filters? DMARC gives you a way to “broadcast” the key details of how you ensure your emails are secure, meaning other DMARC-compliant domains can confirm your emails are legitimate. This increases deliverability.

Brand protection and compliance

DMARC compliance also means your organisation’s domain cannot be used by unauthorised senders, safeguarding your brand from reputational damage or spam complaints.

On top of this, compliance regulations increasingly require meeting this standard, necessitating DMARC IT services (like those built into our Protect & Grow packages) that can help businesses set it up correctly.

Implementing DMARC in Your Business

How does DMARC work? We’ve gone into it a little above. But although the benefits of DMARC are there to be seen, actually implementing it in your business requires careful consideration and application.

The first steps are usually to create a DMARC record for your domain. This should then be added to your domain’s DNS provider’s settings (these are different for every provider).

You might think that you would now enable your new protections in full. But what actually follows is a lengthy period – sometimes several months – of watching DMARC reports sent to you and analysing what they say.

This is where DMARC managed services like Dial A Geek’s show their worth. Because few business owners can afford the time needed to parse all of those DMARC reports and work out how to edit their own DMARC record to allow in the safe messages and block the rest.

The reason so many DMARC implementations fail is that they haven’t gone through the careful process of hands-off analysis, beginning to quarantine some messages, and finally working up to confidently setting a reject policy for truly suspect emails.

When it comes to your business email, DMARC is like a nightclub bouncer. It stands at the gate, checking the ID authentication of email recipients and senders to make sure they’re legitimate.

DMARC IT services like those included in Dial A Geek’s Protect & Grow managed solution ensure your business is using the full potential of DMARC to safeguard itself from the most dangerous email-related threats out there.

The Significance of DMARC in Cybersecurity

DMARC has a huge and growing significance in good cybersecurity practices. Achieving DMARC compliance gives businesses of every size a clear way to signpost that every message they send is safe and marked – and to know when messages they receive are not.

A large part of the value of DMARC is in those authentication practices and action recommendations. These protocols combine with SPF and DKIM verification methods to minimise the chance of any email spoofing, protecting you from impersonation attacks.

But that’s not all DMARC does for your business’s email security. By analysing external DMARC reports, you can assess your domain’s email infrastructure. This not only prevents fraudulent use, but also maximises your email delivery rates by marking your emails’ secure nature.

With around 9 out of 10 of all cyber threats to UK businesses coming in the form of email-related attacks, DMARC plays an increasingly critical role in cybersecurity.

Yet setting up email security like this is a complex technical task. Doing it incorrectly can mean you end up bouncing legitimate emails and worse. This makes the expertise to know how DMARC works a vital part of putting it in place.

DMARC vs. SPF and DKIM

Let’s get technical for a moment. The way that DMARC actually works is by blocking the trick that cyber criminals use to make their emails appear to come from a legitimate domain.

The way DMARC stops this relies on two existing email authentication standards. These are called SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail). These standards ensure emails are sent from authorised IP addresses and domains.

DMARC lets the receiving mail server confirm that the “header from” domain name and “envelope from” domain name in SPF authentication align with the “header from” domain name in the DKIM signature.

If these don’t match the DMARC record of the sending organisation (the file where they define their own policies), then that record will tell your system what to do with the potentially dodgy email.

DMARC also reports this event to the domain owner. They can then use what’s called a DMARC analyzer to see what’s going on and fix any issues.

How to Get Started with Dial A Geek

Reach out to us today to set an appointment with one of the experts who have helped us serve over 1000 satisfied clients over the past 18 years.

Dial A Geek’s Protect & Grow packages incorporate DMARC in managed services, including that vital DMARC monitoring phase that makes sure your policies are set up correctly. Plus, as an ongoing managed solution, it ensures your protocols continue to do what they’re supposed to.

With DMARC safely in place, you will have some of the best possible protection from email fraud, phishing attempts, and spoofing attacks. Not to mention a powerful way to safeguard your business’s reputation with clients, partners, and Internet Service Providers.

Make a start with zero commitment today. Talk to us about improving your email security. We’ll ask you about your business’s specific needs and create a proposal just for you.

As soon as you’re signed up, we’ll start to onboard you onto our managed service.

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