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Microsoft Will Require Email Authentication: The Email Sending Rules You Need to Know

Are you ready for Microsoft’s new email sending rules? The tech giant will soon require email authentication, following Google and Yahoo in their efforts to create safer inboxes. Here’s what you need to know.

As an email marketer, you’re already juggling lots of priorities, but here’s something you can’t afford to overlook: Microsoft is ramping up its email security measures. 

Soon, the company will require stricter email authentication measures for bulk senders, just like Google and Yahoo.

This isn’t just another regulatory hoop to jump through — it’s a crucial step to secure your emails, enhance your sender reputation, and help your campaigns go to the inbox.

Microsoft’s email authentication rule: what it means for your business

You know how critical your email campaigns are: they drive engagement, nurture leads, and close sales. But what if your emails start hitting the spam folder, or worse, never reach your audience at all? 

With phishing and spoofing threats on the rise, Microsoft’s new policy aims to protect your brand and your audience by ensuring that only authenticated emails reach inboxes. This change aligns with actions taken by other email providers – like Google and Yahoo – to make email a more secure environment globally.

Microsoft has not announced a date yet for when it will begin enforcing email authentication. But Ross Adams, Microsoft’s Principal PM Architect, said during a recent webinar that “it’s a matter of when, not if” the tech leader will make authentication a standard.

Adams stated that Microsoft is planning “to start with consumer mail flows and then more on to enterprise mail flows, but both will ultimately be subject to enforcement.”

The implication is clear: email senders need to prepare sooner rather than later. 

If your business sends mass marketing and transactional emails, this means you need to take steps to authenticate your domain so your messages can get past spam filters.

How to comply with Microsoft’s email authentication and sending rules

To comply with Microsoft’s forthcoming standards, your emails will need to pass through rigorous checks that include SPF, DKIM, and DMARC validations. 

Here’s what these terms mean for you:

  • SPF (Sender Policy Framework): This protocol validates that your emails are sent from IP addresses authorized by your domain, helping to prevent email spoofing.
  • DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail): This adds a digital signature to your emails, ensuring that the content is secure and hasn’t been tampered with during transmission.
  • DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance): This protocol uses SPF and DKIM to verify that an email is authentic, and instructs email providers on how to handle emails that don’t pass these checks.
woman wearing glasses works on tablet to set up email authentication

Adopting these protocols not only enhances email deliverability but also builds a layer of trust with your customers by ensuring that every email they receive from you is legitimate.

Need help setting up DMARC for your business? Reach out to us via live chat — our team is here for you 24/7.

How to prepare for compliance

Complying with Microsoft’s forthcoming requirements isn’t just about avoiding the negative consequences of non-compliance; it’s also about standing out as a trusted sender. 

Here are some steps you can take to ensure your business is prepared:

  1. Audit your current email practices: Evaluate whether your current setup adheres to SPF, DKIM, and DMARC standards.
  2. Implement necessary changes: If you find gaps in your authentication protocols, work on aligning them with the new requirements.
  3. Educate your team: If your current setup falls short, update it. Also, ensure that your team is well-informed about the importance of these changes.
  4. Monitor and adapt: Regularly review your email deliverability and compliance status. Be prepared to adapt as more details about the enforcement timeline and specifics become available.

Why is Microsoft requiring email authentication now

Microsoft’s announcement regarding its new email sending rules comes just months after one of the most significant email updates in years. In February 2024, Google and Yahoo began enforcing new guidelines for bulk senders.

Man at computer learning about the new email sending rules and Microsoft's email authentication plans
“It’s a matter of when, not if” Microsoft will make email authentication a must for bulk senders, like Google and Yahoo.

In a nutshell, Google and Yahoo stated that senders must:

  • Authenticate their emails to verify that messages coming from their business domains are legitimate and not spoofed. 
  • Implement one-click unsubscribing and honor unsubscribes within two days. 
  • Keep spam complaints as low as 0.1%. 

Related: Read more about Google and Yahoo’s email sending rules 

“You can expect – at some point in the future – Microsoft to adopt very similar standards,” Ross Adams said. “Providing clean inboxes, protecting customers’ brands, and giving users a choice will help us drive better features and allow us to get better rates,” he added.

These concerted efforts bringing together the most popular email service providers are a stronger move against the issues that have been plaguing the email industry for years. Protecting your business domain from spoofing and other attacks will help reduce spam and phishing – and make email a safer place for its billions of users.

How email authentication helps your business

Taking measures ahead of time to comply with Microsoft’s email authentication and other email sending rules will bring tangible benefits to your business:

  • Higher deliverability: Emails that meet these authentication standards are more likely to land in the inbox instead of the spam folder.
  • Stronger brand Protection: Implementing these measures protects your domain from being used for fraudulent activities, thus safeguarding your brand’s reputation.
  • More customer confidence: When customers are confident that the emails they receive are genuine, their trust in your brand increases, leading to better engagement rates.

With Microsoft stepping up its game in email security, now is the time for you to strengthen your email practices. Securing your email is as crucial as the content it delivers – and if you’re not sure where to start, learn more about ZeroBounce’s DMARC monitoring tool.

Still have questions? Our team is available 24/7. Reach out via the live chat box, and one of our experts will respond in seconds.