Are you struggling with the all-too-common issue of emails not reaching your customers? It’s a frustrating reality in today’s digital landscape, where important messages often end up trapped in spam filters. This is a challenge we understand well at IT Partners. If you’re in urgent need of a solution, don’t hesitate to contact us for immediate assistance!
For those curious about the underlying reasons behind these email delivery challenges, and seeking the best practices for setting up your company’s email system, whether you own a chain of hotels in Whistler or a local Dealership in Calgary, you’re in the right place. While delving into the history of email might seem daunting, and potentially a bit dry for some, I assure you it’s crucial for grasping the root causes of these persistent email issues. Stick with me for a brief historical overview – it’s a key piece of the puzzle in mastering email deliverability.
What is Email?
OK, please stick around. I know I might have lost you, but it’s a good question what is email, well, here’s the brief history of it.
The journey of email began in the 1960s with MIT’s Compatible Time-Sharing System (CTSS), marking the early steps of network messaging. By 1971, with the ARPANET’s introduction of the ‘@’ symbol in email addresses, the foundation for modern email was laid. However, these initial systems weren’t designed with the stringent security measures required today. Initially, email was so simple that it was like having one list of all email users, and the concept of using the ‘@’ symbol hadn’t been introduced yet.
Email, at its core, was simple: a means to transmit messages over networks. Security, encryption, and authentication were not primary concerns then. This fundamental lack of security in early email systems is a key reason why email security is such a complex issue today.
As email evolved, instead of altering its basic architecture, additional security layers were added. Technologies like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC are now essential for email security and deliverability. However, the effectiveness of these technologies hinges on their correct implementation.
Improper or inadequate setup of these security measures can lead to emails being marked as spam or not being delivered at all. Modern email systems are vigilant against emails lacking these protections, often viewing them as potential security threats.
DNS and Your Email
DNS records serve as critical road signs in the digital world, guiding email traffic and ensuring authenticity. They are essential in confirming that the emails received come from legitimate sources and are not fraudulent. To delve deeper into the intricacies of DNS records, you can explore our detailed post about DNS Records. For now, here’s a succinct overview of the key DNS records related to email:
- MX Records: Direct emails to the right mail servers for your domain.
- SPF Records: Define authorized mail servers for sending emails from your domain, preventing spoofing.
- DKIM Records: Attach a digital signature to emails, verifying their origin and integrity.
- DMARC Records: Provide handling instructions for emails failing SPF or DKIM checks, with feedback mechanisms.
- TXT Records: Often used for SPF and other domain verification information.
- CAA Records: Specify authorized entities to issue SSL/TLS certificates for your domain (important for email security).
- SRV Records: Identify service providers for specific services, including email.
- PTR Records: Used for reverse DNS lookups, crucial for validating sending servers.
Each of these DNS records plays a vital role in ensuring the smooth and secure operation of your email communications. Setting them up correctly is equally important, and errors can be costly.
The Risks of Self-Hosting Your Email: Why It’s Best to Avoid
Navigating the complex world of email hosting can be challenging, especially when considering self-hosting. The key issue with self-hosting is not the setup itself, but how recipient servers, particularly those of major players like Gmail and Microsoft, who own much of the market share. These providers often flag emails from unknown servers as spam or block them, mainly to combat spam from self-hosted sources.
Given this landscape, it’s increasingly difficult for self-hosted email servers to gain trust, especially without a large user base. As a result, the safer and more efficient route is to set up your email with one of these established providers. This approach ensures better deliverability and provides robust security measures.
The Default Email Setup
Having decided to utilize Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace for your email needs, you’re on the right track. During the setup process, you’ll reach a point where you’re prompted to link your domain. This typically involves adding some DNS records, which these providers often automate for basic functionality.
However, it’s important to note that these default DNS settings might not be the most secure, and they often lack a DMARC record, a crucial element for comprehensive email security and deliverability.
This is likely why you’re seeking further guidance. Perhaps your business sends out mass emails to customers using services like Mailchimp, Bravo, or SendGrid.
The challenge then becomes: How do you ensure seamless integration of these services? How can you guarantee that both transactional and marketing emails are sent without hitches? This is where the complexities arise, and it’s precisely where our expertise becomes invaluable.
Our Role as a Managed Service Provider for your Email
Understanding the complexities of email management and security is crucial for any business. This is where our role as a professional managed service provider becomes invaluable. Even skilled players in the field can encounter issues, and by partnering with us, you can bypass these common pitfalls.
Initial Advice On Email and Subdomains.
Our first piece of advice, offered free, is about the segmentation of your email types. It’s essential to separate marketing or transactional emails from the regular, day-to-day emails your staff uses.
This separation is vital to avoid the risk of your entire domain being blacklisted due to issues with a single email campaign. Picture this: an intern’s overzealous marketing effort to promote ice cream leads to a flood of complaints – certainly not a scenario you want to encounter.
We recommend utilizing subdomains for different email channels. This strategy ensures that your main domain remains protected and isolated from potential issues arising from other email types. For example, using subdomains like notify.yourdomain.com, no-reply.yourdomain.com, or orders.yourdomain.com for different email services keeps your primary domain secure and unaffected.
Managing it All
But how do you manage all this? How do you keep track of which IP addresses to whitelist or monitor for impersonation attempts against your business? These cybersecurity concerns are real and pressing. As your managed service provider, we step in to handle these intricate details. Our expertise lies in managing and safeguarding your email infrastructure against potential threats and ensuring seamless operation.
In summary, we’re here to make your IT work for you, not against you. If you’re ready to streamline your email setup and fortify your email security, reach out to us. Let’s get started on setting up an email system that aligns perfectly with your business needs and offers peace of mind.