Every company uses email. It’s an integral communication method at the core of a successful business. You’re bound to face associated risks when exchanging hundreds of thousands of emails between employees, customers, partners, and prospects daily. Poor email deliverability rates and security threats are at the top of the list of potential dangers. However, with the proper focus on email authentication, you can protect your brand and ensure your messages successfully reach your audience.
What is email authentication, and why is it important?
Email authentication is a way to prove an email is not fake or fraudulent by verifying that a legitimate source sends it.
Email service providers (ESPs) like Gmail and Microsoft Outlook and corporate email servers use several standard authentication protocols to make verification possible. These include:
- Sender Policy Framework (SPF) — allows you to restrict who can send emails from your organization’s domain.
- DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) — gives outgoing emails an encrypted digital signature that tells receiving servers your content hasn’t been tampered with.
- Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC) — enables you to tell receiving servers what to do with messages that don’t pass SPF, DKIM, or both.
These authentication protocols complement each other, and security experts recommend implementing all three for the best protection. Security protections are increasingly critical as fraudsters continue using email as a primary attack platform. In 2022, there have been more than 255 million phishing attacks, and over one-third of all cyberattacks have been categorized as business email compromise (BEC) incidents.
In addition to security risks, it’s also important to consider how email authentication impacts email deliverability. Email authentication allows internet service providers (ISPs) to effectively identify email senders to better filter and deliver reputable messages to a receiver’s inbox. Authentication minimizes the risk of ISPs filtering your emails, which protects your online reputation and legitimacy, helps maintain customer trust, and keeps your messages out of spam.
Are the standard email authentication protocols enough?
With SPF, DKIM, and DMARC enabled, businesses can significantly reduce the risk of fraudulent email activity. However, even though ESPs do their best to protect their users, you are still vulnerable if you don’t actively protect your account.
To further safeguard your business from email vulnerabilities, you should consider some additional security measures:
- Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) — requires a user to provide two or more verification factors to access an online account or application.
- OAuth Email Authentication — enables your platform to send and receive email through a third-party email account.
When it comes to email security, human error also plays a major role. A recent survey showed that more than one in four respondents fell for a phishing email at work in the last 12 months. Human error remains a factor because people make mistakes and may not always follow an organization’s security protocols. That’s reason enough for your organization to offer employees security awareness training and make security a pillar of your brand’s values.
How to prevent emails from going to spam by using domain authority
Customers and prospects expect to receive messages from email addresses with a company’s trusted domain name (e.g., bob@Nylas.com). It’s a crucial part of how people perceive and experience your brand.
While it’s great to use the standard-issue domain names from ESPs like Gmail and Yahoo (e.g., email@example.com) for personal use, your audience may doubt your credibility when using these in a business setting.
Sending emails from your company’s domain also reduces the risk of your brand’s emails being marked as spam by email authentication protocols like DMARC. Not only does it look more professional, but it also helps build trust and improve your email deliverability.
When an ESP sees an email sent via a third-party email service (like Mailchimp or SendGrid), and that email uses your Gmail or Yahoo address, it knows you’re not sending a message from Gmail or Yahoo. This makes the ESP think your message is fraudulent and will treat future messages as spam if you continue sending them this way.
Third-party email vendors should allow you to connect to your company’s domain name through your account. However, these services send emails on behalf of their clients using a shared IP address, which can introduce other potential adverse impacts to your email deliverability rate. For example, you may share your IP address with a bad actor spending spammy messages, which can negatively affect your sending reputation.
Establish reliable email authenticity with the Nylas Email API
The Nylas Email API helps developers build native email integration and enables nearly 100% email deliverability by allowing users to send messages directly from their email address versus a shared domain or IP address. Our high deliverability rates allow businesses to improve and maintain their sending reputations, decreasing the possibility of communications landing in spam.
Additional features of the Nylas Email API include:
- The ability to connect to 100% of ESPs
- Support for email threading functionality
- Access to email analytics, tracking opens, link clicks, and replies
- Guaranteed 99.9% uptime
- Adherence to the most rigorous security and compliance standards
Nylas supports several authentication types, including options for hosted (out of the box) and native (build on your own) OAuth authentication for Google and Microsoft accounts and secure password authentication for legacy servers. We use multiple application-level security mechanisms and features to ensure customer data is safe. All customer API calls require proprietary OAuth2 authentication tokens granted only by Nylas, and user data is encrypted using military-grade encryption standards.
We also support identity providers with single sign-on capabilities, such as Okta and OneLogin. For more information on security and privacy controls at Nylas, check out the Nylas Security Whitepaper or connect with a platform specialist.