What a ride this was! No, we’re not just talking about the rollercoasters at Europa-Park. Processing everything took a while, but CloudFest has been quite the adventure for the Spotler Flowmailer team. It’s been an amazing week, with over 8000 participants and 250 speakers from 65 countries. As it was our first time at CloudFest we were unsure what to expect, but – oh lord - it was great.
CloudFest is the number one cloud infrastructure event in the world. Taking place annually in the Europa-Park, Germany, CloudFest connects the global community in a fully-packed 4-day event. Since infrastructure is kind of our thing, too, we couldn’t miss out. As a first-time Gold+ sponsor, we sent our team to Germany, absorbing all the good stuff CloudFest has to offer. From talking about email to partying to Queen music, from attending insightful sessions to riding the most amazing rollercoasters. In this post, we’re letting you in on what we’ve learned.
One of the most trending topics was Artificial Intelligence (AI). Not a big surprise, as you can’t escape it nowadays. AI is the future for cloud and infrastructure. To showcase what AI can do in email, we integrated our email API with ChatGPT to send AI-enriched transactional emails. With simple data (a form), we’re able to send a highly personalized email, in the language the recipient speaks. Curious to how AI / ChatGPT can enrich your emails?
Besides our presence of the stand, our Head of Deliverability Daniel Thorpe took the stage to tell everybody about the DMARC protocol (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance).
As Daniel told the audience; setting up DMARC for your email domain helps both your brand as well as your recipients.
DMARC has incredible impact on how your emails hit the inbox. It helps you – the email sender - to improve your email authentication, gain back control over emails sent on your company’s behalf, and lower the risk of fraud (spoofing, mostly). For the recipient, this means that emails coming from your domain are actually sent by you – reducing the risk of falling for fake emails, like phishing attacks.
DMARC is essentially a policy and reporting layer on top of other email authentication methods: DKIM and SPF. The policy part allows you to tell inbox providers what to do with (unauthorized) emails. The reporting element gives you insight into how many messages have been received using your domain. It also provides information on where the message came from (IP address/provider) and whether the email passed the DKIM and SPF checks.
DMARC is most effective when the policy is set correctly. But what is a ‘policy’ and what happens when somebody tries to use your domain - but fails authentication? What action should the inbox provider take? There are more than one policies you can choose when you decide to start with DMARC.
When starting with DMARC, it’s best to begin with the ‘p=none’ policy, in combination with the reporting functionality. This will only monitor the emails sent on your behalf, so you gain insight into who is sending emails from your domain. In this stage, nothing will happen to emails that fail authentication, but it also means it doesn’t impact your own email flows.
The next phase would be a ‘p=quarantine’ policy. This policy shows the receiving party (i.e. Gmail) that emails failing the DMARC check can be considered spam and should be delivered to the spam folder. Closely monitoring reports in this process is key, as you only want valid senders to go through to the final stage of the DMARC policy: ‘p=reject’. In this case, all unauthorized emails failing the SPF, DKIM, and DMARC check will be blocked when sent on your behalf.
Going head-first into implementing DMARC is tempting, but it’s best to follow general practice. Daniel provided the audience with a practical checklist:
Daniel wasn’t the only one who enlightened us with a session about DMARC. Martijn Groeneweg, CEO of DMARC Advisor, dove deeper into BIMI as the icing of the cake after a successful DMARC implementation. Brand Indicator for Message Identification (BIMI) allows showing your logo with every email sent using your domain.
BIMI helps recognize a sender in the inbox, making it easier for the recipient to trust a message. Ultimately, this gives of a signal of trust, helping your reputation as asender. When a recipient sees your logo, they are more likely to open the email because it feels safer and they are familiar with the logo and your brand. The benefits of BIMI for your recipients are very clear, while it’s also a reward for all the hard work you put into getting DMARC set up correctly. BIMI is the visual output of all that hard work.
Enough about email authentication, CloudFest was so much more than attending sessions and talking to attendees and exhibitors. At night, the networking continued with the best parties accompanied with unlimited food and drinks. We were even spoiled with the best Queen tribute band we’ve ever witnessed - a memory the Spotler Flowmailer team will not forget. Of course, when in Germany, you cannot miss out on a good old BierFest! Enjoying German -delicacies- and great music to complete our week in Europa-Park. Our last learning of this event: It’s a must if you’re interested in cloud computing and infrastructure!
CloudFest is the number one cloud infrastructure event in the world. Together with the whole Flowmailer team, we’ve had an amazing experience at this event. From new insights at the expert sessions, to taking a ride in a rollercoaster, to the incredibly fun parties. It was very eventful. We’ve learned that Artificial Intelligence is here to stay and can even help you with your emails. We’ve also learned that, even with the most good-looking emails, you can’t forget about email authentication. An AI-enriched email is useless if your emails don’t make it to the inbox 😉.