Email flow monitoring provides a more proactive, comprehensive, and in-depth approach to managing your email infrastructure. It helps you maintain the reliability, security, and performance of your email communication by identifying and addressing issues before they result in bounce-backs or missed mails, and by providing valuable insights for optimization and security.
Before delving into the specifics of its potential advantages for your business, it’s important to grasp the concept of email flow monitoring and gain insight into its operational mechanisms.
What is Email Flow Monitoring?
There is no denying the growing significance of email: in fact, the global business email market is expected to grow from US$ 29,853.6 million in 2023 to US$ 54,650.3 million by 2033, at a CAGR of 6.2%.
This is why it becomes all the more crucial to stay vigilant of your email infrastructure. In order to achieve this level of reliability and efficiency, organizations often implement continuous email flow monitoring.
Email flow monitoring, also known as email delivery tracking or email tracking, is a method used to test and monitor the end-to-end email delivery process by sending test emails from a sender’s email server to a recipient’s email address and then tracking the entire journey of the email. The goal of email tracking is to ensure that emails are delivered promptly and without any issues.
How Does Email Flow Monitoring Work?
Here’s how email flow monitoring works:
Test Email Generation
The process begins with the generation of test emails. These test emails are typically sent from a monitoring system or tool, often referred to as a “probe” or “agent.” These emails can be customized with specific content and attachments to simulate real email messages.
Sending the Test Email
The test email is sent from the monitoring system’s email server to the recipient’s email address. This recipient can be an internal email address within the organization or an external email address.
Monitoring the Journey
As the test email travels through the email infrastructure, the email round-trip monitoring system closely observes and records each step of the email’s journey. This includes:
- Timestamps: Recording the time at which the email is sent, received by the server, and delivered to the recipient’s inbox.
- Delivery Path: Tracking the route the email takes through various email servers and network components.
- Performance Metrics: Measuring the time it takes for the email to move through each stage of the delivery process.
- Delivery Confirmation: Once the test email is delivered to the recipient’s inbox, the monitoring system verifies its successful delivery. This confirmation may involve checking the recipient’s inbox, parsing bounce-back messages (if any), and confirming that the email content matches the original test email.
Alerts and Reporting
Email round-trip monitoring systems are often configured to generate alerts and reports based on predefined criteria. For example, if an email takes an unusually long time to be delivered or if it encounters a problem during the delivery process, the monitoring system can trigger alerts to notify administrators of the issue.
The data collected during email monitoring is analyzed to assess the performance of the email delivery process. This analysis helps identify bottlenecks, delays, or other issues that may affect the timely delivery of emails.
Over time, historical data collected from email round-trip monitoring can be used to identify trends and patterns in email delivery performance. This information is valuable for capacity planning and optimizing the email infrastructure.
Why is Email Flow Monitoring Critical for Businesses?
Email round-trip monitoring is a critical tool for organizations that rely on email communication, as it provides valuable insights into the performance of the email system, allowing organizations to proactively address issues and maintain the integrity of their email communication.
Here are some key reasons why email flow monitoring is essential for businesses:
Reliability of Communication
Email is a mission-critical communication tool for businesses. Email flow monitoring ensures that emails are delivered promptly and reliably. It helps detect and address issues such as email delays, server outages, and message queuing problems that can disrupt communication.
Email is a common vector for cyberattacks, including BEC, phishing, malware, and spam. Email flow monitoring allows businesses to detect and block malicious emails in real-time, reducing the risk of security breaches and data loss.
Many industries and organizations are subject to regulatory requirements regarding email communication. Email flow monitoring helps ensure compliance with data protection, retention, and encryption policies, as well as industry-specific regulations such as HIPAA or GDPR.
Monitoring the flow of emails provides insights into the performance of email servers and infrastructure components. This information can be used to optimize server configurations, improve network performance, and allocate resources effectively to handle email traffic growth.
Email flow monitoring helps businesses understand email traffic patterns and usage trends over time. This data is valuable for capacity planning, allowing organizations to scale their email infrastructure to meet growing demand and avoid performance bottlenecks.
Proactive Issue Resolution
It enables businesses to proactively detect and address email delivery issues before they impact users. It can trigger alerts for unusual patterns or delays, allowing IT teams to take corrective actions swiftly.
In the event of email server failures or network disruptions, email flow monitoring can help organizations implement failover strategies and quickly switch to backup email systems to ensure continuous communication.
Timely and secure email communication is a reflection of a business’s professionalism and reliability. Consistently delivering emails without issues enhances the reputation and trustworthiness of the organization.
How to Perform Continuous Email Flow Monitoring?
To perform continuous email flow monitoring, you need to consider the following steps:
- Tool Selection: Choose a monitoring tool that suits your needs.
- Objective Definition: Clearly state monitoring goals, covering performance, security, and compliance.
- Test Email Configuration: Create test emails with specific content and metadata.
- Monitoring Schedule: Define regular intervals for monitoring.
- Email Dispatch: Send test emails to simulate real traffic.
- Data Analysis: Collect and analyze monitoring data for insights.
- Alert Generation: Configure alerts for key criteria, like delivery delays and security threats.
- Reporting: Use analytics tools for performance, security, and compliance reports.
- Action on Findings: Address detected issues, including troubleshooting and security response.
- Documentation: Maintain records for auditing and reference.
Useful Email Flow Monitoring Tools for Businesses
There are several email monitoring tools and software solutions available for businesses to monitor and manage their email systems. Some of these include:
Microsoft 365 Security and Compliance Center
Provides built-in email monitoring and security features for Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) users, including threat protection, data loss prevention, and email auditing.
Google Workspace Admin Console
Offers email monitoring and security capabilities for Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) users, including spam filtering, email encryption, and audit logs.
PowerAlerts by PowerDMARC
DMARC alerts is an email security monitoring service that promptly informs you of domain-related incidents and issues through your email, empowering you to respond promptly to any suspicious activities. Our feature helps to keep you informed of DNS issues and incidents, set custom thresholds for receiving alerts, or monitor spoofing and phishing attempts.
DMARC Report Analyzer
PowerDMARC’s DMARC report analyzer helps you parse and convert your XML report data into simple, human-readable, and organized tables and charts making it easy for you to gather information in an easily accessible format. With these reports, email flow and authentication monitoring become incredibly easy as you can directly track your authentication results and deliverability issues from a single interface.
Continuous email flow monitoring is an essential practice to ensure the reliable and secure operation of email communication within an organization. By proactively monitoring email flows and addressing issues as they arise, businesses can maintain the integrity of their email infrastructure and provide a seamless communication experience for users.
For additional information on incorporating email monitoring into your company’s IT infrastructure, contact us today!
*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from PowerDMARC authored by Ahona Rudra. Read the original post at: https://powerdmarc.com/mastering-continuous-email-flow-monitoring/