A Beginner’s Guide to Email Authentication for SaaS Businesses

You’ve read and heard news online and on the T.V. about scammers, phishing links, spammers, hackers, hijackers, and any other internet frauds. They steal money and information from innocent netizens, such as credit card information, or install viruses on their devices.

Most of the time, these nefarious activities are made possible through email communication. You may not even know that your brand or website is being used in some sort of cybercrime at the moment. But don’t panic. There’s one proven way to prevent that – email authentication.

Let’s discuss what it is, how it works, and the different ways to do it.

What Is Email Authentication?

Email authentication is a validation system to check if an email really comes from who it claims to be. This system exists to prevent users from being scammed, phished, sent with forged emails, or other fraudulent email activities.

In addition to security purposes, email authentication also improves deliverability. Since email services or ISP providers filter out fraud emails sent by scammers or spammers, using email authentication protocols will legitimize every email you send, making sure they get to every user’s inbox safely untampered.

How Email Authentication Works

When a subscriber receives an email from a website, brand, or business, the mail server of that subscriber checks to see if the email contains rules defined by the sender’s domain. For example, suppose Amazon sends an email to a customer regarding the confirmation of payment. In that case, the customer’s mail service (Gmail) will see if the email follows Amazon’s domain rules.

If the email rules and the rules of Amazon’s legitimate domain match, the email will be received in the user’s inbox. If not, the user’s email service provider will block the sent email to detect the email as a scam, fraud, or phishing email. Sometimes, the email goes into the user’s spam folder.

The 3 Most Important Email Authentication Protocols

1. SPF Record

Sender policy framework (SPF) record is an authentication system that lists and permits all authorized IP addresses or hostnames for sending emails on behalf of your domain.

A good example would be allowing only your main and backup domain’s IP address to send emails to your customers. Forged emails pretending to be from your website will then be marked as spam by the customer’s mail server because their IP address doesn’t match your domain’s permitted IP addresses.

2. DKIM Record

The second email authentication protocol is the DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) record. This authentication method works when your domain signs a private key in a sent email intended for a customer.

The receiver’s email service or ISP will then check if the email’s key matches the signature your domain made. Think of it as a watermark to ensure that every email you send isn’t tampered with when it reaches your recipient.

3. DMARC Record

As a Software as a Service (SaaS) business owner, you must know why your emails aren’t going to your recipient’s inbox. You must also set a backup condition when your emails get rejected. The Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) will help you with that.

DMARCs contain information regarding SPF and DKIM records to help a receiving server in authenticity verification.

When your email gets rejected by a receiving server, the server will check the DMARC record in the email on instructions whether to quarantine the email (send it to spam), reject the email, or do nothing with it and let it through.

DMARC Records can be set to send you the reason why your email didn’t reach a recipient’s inbox. Sometimes it will tell you that a fraud has been using your service’s domain name, private domain key, or IP address to forge emails and scam your users.

In other scenarios, it will point out bugs in the authentication process, especially if there are recent changes in the SPF and DKIM records. The point of a DMARC policy is to help you get your emails across, protect your customers, and keep the email communication system safer from cybercriminals.

SaaS Apps Need Email Authentication

Internet frauds are out to scam innocent netizens, and they’ll always find ways to do so. Sometimes they’ll impersonate small business websites to steal money and personal information from the users.

They do this by forging emails pretending to be from the said website. Email authentication in Software as a Service (SaaS) apps helps prevent this by making watermarks in the form of private keys in each email sent from a CRM software, email automation system, or SMTP relay server.

The email authentication system will then tell the receiving email service what these watermarks are and which IP addresses under your business’s name. The email service should only allow emails from.

By protecting your customers’ information and experience, you’re also improving your business’s reputation and solidifying its legitimacy. Not only that, incorporating email authentication in your email campaigns increases the likelihood of your emails to be sent directly to a user’s inbox.

Conclusion

Email authentication is essential to every email marketer and domain owner. You must protect your business’s reputation by ensuring your user only receives a safe and secure email under your brand’s name. Don’t let any unauthorized parties use your name or brand name for illegal activities—help keep the email system safe by using email authentication protocols.