The Importance of SPF Records for Email Domains

Using SPF records to secure business email has been a standard part of email domain setup for years. But there’s been a debate, particularly in IT forums, over whether this feature is an essential one. Our tech experts say SPF records are vital.

What is an SPF record?

A Sender Policy Framework is a system that’s designed for the email host receiver to validate emails from the sender’s email host. In layman’s terms, this means it checks that the email is being sent from a legitimate address, protecting the receiver from potential spoofing attacks.

While they may not address every spoofing issue, our tech experts say an SPF record is the minimum you should have to protect your business against potential spammers.

How do they work?

A list of authorised sending hosts will be published within the Domain Name System (DNS) records. Before the email is delivered to the recipient, the sender’s host details will be searched within the SPF record to check if it’s an authorised sender. If it doesn’t meet the requirements, the email will be blocked and left undelivered or given a high spam score. But if the sender host name matches with an authorised domain name, the email will be delivered to the intended recipient. An extra step, but a necessary anti-spam technique.

Why should I implement a Sender Policy Framework?

Cyber security measures are now so hard-pressed into IT teams that it’s become habitual to lead the way in the battle against hackers. But it’s important to remember what those consequences could be, should a business become a victim of a malicious spoofing attack:

  • It could harm the business reputation
  • It could lead to monetary loss or fraud
  • It causes critical loss of valuable business time

SPF records are now required by a majority of UK businesses. Failing to have the necessary features in place could result in business emails rejected by their framework. Of course, there are other methods IT teams can use such as Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) and Domain-based Message Authentication (DMARC) for additional protection. And it’s likely that all three will become vital to Email Domains in the future.

If you’re a Giacom partner, you’ll find key information on how to setup SPF records in our Knowledgebase within the Giacom CloudMarket.