Is a set-and-forget strategy damaging your email authentication?

We spend a lot of time talking about the configuration of SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records, because, well…they’re really important for good email deliverability. But what about the older strategies made obsolete due to the adoption of these standards, specifically Sender ID and DomainKey?

Not all email marketers treat these solutions as things of the past. As the technology adoption life cycle demonstrates, it can take a long time to get everyone on board the newest tech trend and leave outdated tech in the past where it belongs.


Are you hurting your email campaigns by supporting them, or are you safe to simply forget you’ve got them implemented?

In most cases, it won’t hurt to continue to publish an outdated record. However, there are a couple of potential concerns when supporting older technologies that need to be considered.

If your older, likely less secure, DomainKey record is compromised, someone could use it to impersonate your brand with a fully authenticated message, and a few domains will likely authenticate your mail appropriately.

Back in 2010 when DomainKeys was made obsolete, the standard level of key length was 512 bits, while current technologies recommend keys at lengths of 1024 or 2048 bits. Both of these are significantly stronger and harder to compromise, especially with regular key rotation practices.

This same scenario could happen to older domains potentially created as part of an older partnership or for use with an ex-vendor. Make sure you’re keeping an inventory of your assets to make setting and forgetting (even accidentally) less likely. Paying attention to your domain history and keeping your authentication updated is as important as patching your computer and upgrading your antivirus protection on a regular schedule.

If you’re unsure if you have DKIM or plain old DomainKeys, or have more questions about what authentication standards are the proper ones to implement, you can always get in touch with one of our Experts.

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