What is email security?

What is email security?

Image Credit: John Scho

In a day and age where email seems to be the primary communication method for b2b communication, and even internal communication, ensuring that your email setup is using the built in email capabilities from a domain level is paramount.

Picture the scene, you are starting a new business. You have brainstormed for hours and found an amazing business idea. You then think of a name and buy a domain for your new company. You go to setup the email system and decide to self host your email server, either by using Microsoft Exchange or another email server. You have setup your email users on the server, and decide now it’s time to get the server actually live and working.

Setting up email is as simple as hosting a server, then setting up MX records and a reverse DNS on your ip right? WRONG. There is multiple other elements to email security. They are

• SPF (Sender Policy Framework)

o The sender will dictate what IP addresses can send as their domain. If the IP address the email is being sent from is not listed as an authorised IP, SPF will fail.

• DKIM (DomainKeys Indentified Mail)

o The company dictat on the domain that emails sent will be signed by their encryption keys to confirm the email was sent from them; if the email is not signed or signed by the wrong keys, DKIM will fail.

• DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication)

o This tells the recipient mail server what to do in the event of the email failing the SPF and DKIM checks. If the email fails, you can advise the recipient’s email server to reject, quarantine or do nothing. You can also dictate the percentage of emails which are checked from 0-100.

Setting these security features up helps let other organizations know that the email you send from your brand spanking new email server, is in fact from you/your company and not a malicious actor. It helps other email systems trust you, and also report instances where the ‘bad guys’ are trying to impersonate you.

Why does this matter?

Email is something which takes time to get right. If you get it wrong, major email systems will not trust your domain and it will be difficult to get email to these providers. It could even lead to your domain being on a blacklist.

I have to be honest, I don’t think I have explained this very well. I did however find this article on endpoint.com which may give you a more of an insight. Please feel free to take a look at the link below.


And as always, feel free to email me on [email protected] should you have any questions!