a red gradientan orange gradient

DMARC Demystified: How It Secures Your Emails and Builds Trust

Published on May 24, 2024

Discover how DMARC, the ultimate email security protocol, protects your domain from spoofing and phishing. Learn how it works alongside SPF and DKIM to enhance email deliverability and safeguard your reputation.


3rd Musketeer

You know that security measures to protect your email communications are crucial, but the components of that security can seem complex and mysterious. That’s why we have created this series of blog articles to demystify email security. We call them the Three Musketeers – SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. SPF verifies the sender’s IP address, and DKIM ensures the email’s integrity with a digital signature.

If you missed the first two articles in this series, check them out first and then come back here for the grand finale. You can read about SPF here, and our article about DKIM here. Now, let's introduce the third and final Musketeer—DMARC, the ultimate shield for your email communications.

DMARC could be considered the leader of the Musketeers since it leverages the power of both SPF and DKIM into a coordinated response to attacks. Let’s get into some details!

What is DMARC?

Understanding DMARC

DMARC stands for Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance. While that sounds impressively complicated, basically it is an email authentication protocol or set of rules for verifying the legitimacy of email messages. It helps to prevent email spoofing and phishing by ensuring that emails claiming to come from your domain are truly authorized.
A DMARC policy is a text record published in the DNS (Domain Name System) records of the domain it protects. Think of DNS as a big internet phone book where email servers can look up information about domains. When a DMARC policy is in place the receiving email servers can access the DNS to read the policy or rules regarding how to handle emails claiming to come from that domain.
The DMARC policy rules will tell the email server that if SPF and/or DKIM are in place, the message can be delivered. On the other hand, if SPF and DKIM are not present the policy can be set in one of three ways:

  • None: take no action.
  • Quarantine: throw it in the SPAM folder.
  • Reject: Block the email from delivery.

Dmarc Graphic

Court is in Session!

JudgeWe could compare this scenario to that of a courtroom judge. He must weigh evidence, determine guilt or innocence, and then pronounce a sentence based on the laws applicable in his jurisdiction. We could think of the receiving email server as the judge. SPF and DKIM are like pieces of evidence presented to the judge. The DMARC policy is the law book the judge consults to decide the sentence or fate of the email.

  • Guilty or Innocent?: The judge examines the results of SPF and DKIM if one or both pass – the case is dismissed and the message is delivered! However, if the domain in the From: header of the message doesn’t match the domains authenticated by SPF and DKIM the judge renders a guilty verdict.
  • Sentencing: With a guilty verdict the judge consults the law book (DMARC policy) and decides whether to take no action (suspended sentence), quarantine the email (incarceration), or reject it entirely (execution). The sentence may vary according to the rules in his jurisdiction, just as the DMARC policy can be set differently according to the domain owner’s preferences. 

The Consequences of No DMARC

The Fictional Case of XYZ Corp.

Imagine XYZ Corp., a leading provider of tech solutions, priding itself on top-notch customer service and reliability. They wisely use SPF and DKIM but lack a DMARC policy. Trouble is brewing… cybercriminals begin to exploit this gap. They spoof XYZ Corp.’s email domain and send convincing phishing emails which appear to be coming from XYZ Corp.

Without the third musketeer – a DMARC policy to tell the receiving mail server how to handle these fraudulent emails – they bypass authentication checks and reach the clients. Several clients, trusting the apparent legitimacy of the emails, provide sensitive information to the scammers or make payments for non-existent services. The fallout is swift and severe—

  • Reputational Damage: XYZ Corp.’s reputation takes a massive hit as disgruntled clients voice their frustrations online.
  • Customer Loyalty Impact: XYZ Corp. faces a sharp decline in customer loyalty and a significant drop in revenue.

This scenario illustrates how crucial DMARC is in protecting not just the security of your emails, but the integrity of your entire business. By implementing DMARC, XYZ Corp. could have greatly reduced the chances of fraudulent emails reaching their clients, preserving both their reputation and customer trust.

The Wild West Without DMARC


A domain without DMARC is like the "Wild West" where no laws are enforced. Just imagine life in one of those towns in the Wild West – the lawlessness would create an environment of uncertainty, distrust, and lack of personal security. Without DMARC, email servers are like towns without sheriffs – fraudulent emails can run rampant. An unprotected domain faces severe risks, including compromised security, damaged reputations, and lost customer trust. DMARC brings order and protection, ensuring that only authorized emails reach their intended recipients.

Benefits of Implementing DMARC

Let’s summarize the key benefits of our third Musketeer DMARC:

1.       Improved Email Deliverability

·         DMARC helps ensure that emails from your domain pass authentication checks, increasing their chances of being delivered to the recipient's inbox.

·         DMARC improves your domain's reputation, making email service providers more likely to deliver your emails to the primary inbox.

2.       Protection Against Phishing and Spoofing

·         DMARC battles phishing and spoofing attacks by rejecting or quarantining unauthorized emails.

·         DMARC helps maintain your brand's trustworthiness and reliability.

3.       Enhanced Visibility and Reporting

·         DMARC generates reports that offer insights into your email traffic, showing which emails passed or failed authentication.

·         DMARC reports can identify potential security issues, ensuring your email practices are robust and secure.

The Power of Three: SPF, DKIM, and DMARC

Our three musketeers of email security, each play a crucial role in protecting your digital communications. Together, they form a powerful trinity that safeguards your emails from spoofing, phishing, and other malicious activities.

  • SPF: Verifies the sender's IP address to prevent unauthorized senders.
  • DKIM: Ensures the email's integrity by adding a digital signature.
  • DMARC: Enforces policies and provides critical reporting to monitor and manage email authentication.

Implemented together, these protocols provide a comprehensive shield, ensuring your emails are legitimate, secure, and trusted by recipients. Their individual fighting styles not only protect your organization from cyber threats but also enhance your email deliverability and reputation.

Ready to Strengthen Your Email Security?

3 MusketeersContact allCare IT today for a thorough evaluation of your email security and overall cybersecurity posture. Our experts can help you implement SPF, DKIM, and DMARC to protect your organization and ensure your communications are secure. Let us help you fortify your defenses so you can always be “En-garde”!