Authorization of Third-Party Email Senders via DKIM SPF DMARC

Statement and Purpose

Table of Contents

This policy clarifies the conditions and terms under which Seattle Pacific University authorizes and configures third-party email senders to generate email as if they were part of the SPU M365 email system. Such authorization infers a trust relationship between the third-party and SPU email systems, whereby these entities "impersonate" email as if originating from SPU, thereby impacting the overall reputation of SPU email services. In order to maintain the integrity and brand of SPU email communications, and to prevent spam, phishing and other email security risks affecting both SPU and non-SPU recipients, the following restrictions and requirements are involved in the authorization of third-party email senders.

Entities Affected By This Policy

All University faculty, staff, students and alumni; entities desiring to send emails originating from an SPU authorized and verifiable source to SPU or external recipients.

Policy Version: 1.0

Responsible Office: Computer and Information Systems, Office of University Communications
Responsible Executive:

Effective Date: March 2024
Last Updated:  
March 2024

Requirements for Establishment: Purpose

Third-party email sender relationships shall be authorized exclusively for entities and service providers conducting official university business under contract with Seattle Pacific University.
Such contractual relationships may include:

  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) vendors with whom on-going email communications to students, faculty, staff and alumni is essential. Examples include Blackbaud, Qualtrics, Terra Dotta, StarRez, Slate.
  • Services which support academic resources at the campus level. Example: Inter-Library Loan system.
  • University-wide marketing and survey platforms that have an ongoing contractual relationship with the university. 
    • Currently, Mail Chimp is the preferred/recommended third-party email entity supported by the Office of University Communications. 

Requirements for Establishment: Technology

Authorized third-party senders must configure and comply with the three primary authentication methods with SPU mail servers:

  • Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) - cryptographic verification of the sender's identity;
  • Sender Policy Framework (SPF) - IP address(es) of authorized email servers; and 
  • Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC) - integrity checking of DKIM and SPF scoring.

Periodic Review

Authorization of these third-party senders is reviewed on an annual basis; technical requirements set forth by Computer and Information Systems.

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