What is a DMARC Record?

What is a DMARC Record?

DMARC record is the foundation around which the mechanisms of DMARC work and the rulesets are defined. DMARC record informs the email servers that a domain is configured to use DMARC. It contains instructions or the policy that domain owners want the email servers to apply to the email being sent from what appears to be the domain’s name.

Let’s understand in detail what it is and how it works.

How DMARC Record works

In essence, DMARC record is an entry into the DNS record of the organization and is a requirement for using DMARC. It informs all the major ISPs like Gmail and Microsoft that the organization’s domain is configured to deploy DMARC and also the domain’s email authentication policy. Since the DMARC record is listed in the DNS (Domain Name System), most email servers can comprehend the policy instructions and act accordingly.

DMARC record has clear instructions for email service providers to provide a report to the reporting email address that is added in the DMARC record.

DMARC record has clear instructions for the recipient service about what to do with the message. The email is subjected to some actions based on the organization’s policy based on its risk tolerance.

The email may either be sent to the end user’s inbox without any action. Sometimes it may be delivered with a warning inserted in the message. According to the second approach, if the email fails the DMARC check, it is subjected to quarantine and sent to a spam folder where it is evaluated manually for its content nature, and the user can decide what to do with it.

Thirdly, if the organization has a strict risk tolerance policy and a message fails the DMARC email authentication test, it is rejected right away. If the particular domain has a published DMARC Record in its DNS, the recipient’s email server will act according to the policy. If the domain does not have a published record in the DNS, the recipient’s email server can determine on its own what to do with the email.

Another purpose of the DMARC record is to send a report to the email address with information about the messages sent from the domain. The reports help the organization evaluate their emails and help them identify every user using their email domain.

In a nutshell, DMARC record is used by email receivers that have adopted DMARC and assists in keeping track of email messages that are being sent from the domain and reject the delivery of messages that have been identified as non-compliant. Thus organizations can protect their domain from being misused and prevent spoofing and phishing scams.