The continued prevalence of email vulnerabilities has increased the need for an advanced enterprise DMARC solution that makes it easier for Cisco customers to secure their domains quickly, and… Read more on Cisco Blogs

The continued prevalence of email vulnerabilities has increased the need for an advanced enterprise DMARC solution that makes it easier for Cisco customers to secure their domains quickly, and efficiently manage their email security needs with a minimum of effort, all while ensuring access to a high level of implementation and support.

Last month, Google and Yahoo each announced new sets of requirements for email delivery, signaling a seismic shift in email security and ensuring global inboxes are safer through the enforcement of industry-acknowledged best practices.

Starting February 2024, the two companies will require organizations to implement email authentication protocols – notably DMARC – in order to ensure secure email delivery to inboxes. In essence, this is the realization of the notion of “no authentication, no entry” that has been talked about for years in the email space to help prevent unwanted mail from reaching the inbox.

For senders that send more than 5,000 emails a day to Gmail addresses, Google will require a set of authentication measures to be met in order to ensure secure email delivery to its inboxes. While Yahoo does not state a minimum sending requirement, it will align with Google’s criteria.

Failure to comply with these requirements means that emails sent to Gmail and Yahoo inboxes will not be delivered. When considering the sheer number of enterprises that rely on email communication for their operations, there may be severe implications for non-compliant businesses.

In light of this latest compelling event, this blog post will explore what DMARC is, what benefits it provides to enterprises, and why it’s essential to the secure email landscape as a whole.

What is DMARC?

DMARC, which stands for Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance, is a vital component in the fight to secure an enterprise’s email security posture. As a recognized best practice across the email ecosystem, DMARC is the only email security specification that blocks exact domain impersonation attacks.

DMARC is an email authentication framework that prevents cybercriminals from reaching your employees’ inboxes using domain impersonation. It’s built on existing protocols, SPF and DKIM, and provides domain owners reporting and visibility into all mail being sent from their domains, and a way to manage how they wish unauthenticated mail from their domains to be treated by mailbox providers and messaging gateways. An organization can manage these “policies” via DNS.

An enterprise’s SPF record (Sender Policy Framework) is essentially an allow list of IP addresses that are authorized to send emails using your domain, while DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) acts like a digital signature, letting the recipient know you are who you say you are.

Both SPF and DKIM are essential to your email security setup, but neither prevents exact domain impersonation. While they tell the recipient who the email is from, they do not authenticate the visible “From domain” a recipient sees in their email client, and the recipient has no instruction to act on this knowledge, i.e., it doesn’t know what to do with your email.

So, DMARC works by combining the results of SPF and DKIM checks to determine if your email is authentic and authorized. Then, the DMARC policy you have in place tells recipient servers what to do with mail that fails authentication, which is likely spoofing or phishing. DMARC complements your existing email gateway and ensures that inbound attacks spoofing your own company’s domains get blocked, as well as attacks that target your customers, partners, and supply chain.

What are the benefits?

When implemented at a policy of p=reject, DMARC helps enterprises avoid phishing, spamming, and domain spoofing. Without its implementation, cybercriminals can send fraudulent emails on behalf of your company and request recipients to share sensitive details that can be misused, leading to larger attacks like ransomware, supply chain attacks, and vendor fraud. These types of attacks tarnish business reputations, which can consequently impact sales, customer-relationships, company valuation, employee retention, and more.

DMARC also improves your domain’s email deliverability rate, ensuring no genuine message lands in the spam folder or gets completely rejected by intended recipients’ mailboxes.

Where do I start?

Cisco Secure Email leverages Red Sift OnDMARC, an enterprise-grade DMARC solution that simplifies the complexities of the DMARC email security protocol by automating processes and providing clear instructions on how to block unauthorized use of an organization’s domain. OnDMARC is also the only platform with an integrated solution for implementing the Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) standard, which combines strong email authentication using DMARC with Verified Mark Certificates (VMCs) to enable a sender to display their trusted logo in their customer’s inbox for email identification and security.

Red Sift OnDMARC is available now in the Cisco SolutionsPlus Ecosystem Exchange and through your Cisco representative. Start a Red Sift OnDMARC free trial or Cisco Secure Email Threat Defense free trial today!

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  DMARC used to be a nice to have as part of an email security ecosystem. The threat landscape has changed that. Today, DMARC is a must have protection to keep business email safe.  Read More Cisco Blogs