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VMblog Expert Interview: Red Sift Explores the Benefits of BIMI and What it Means for Email Marketers

interview redsift powar 

Red Sift and Entrust recently announced an expanded partnership to simplify and streamline the adoption of strong email sender authentication based on Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) standards.  To find out more, VMblog reached out to industry expert, Rahul Powar, Founder and CEO of global cybersecurity company Red Sift.

VMblog:  Before we begin, can you give us some background on Red Sift and the customer problem you are solving?

Rahul Powar:  Red Sift's mission is to democratize the technology essential for cybersecurity. This means making products which are user-centric and address real threat vectors within the cyber and email security space. Our core technology enabler is the Red Sift Open Cloud, a data analysis platform purpose-built for the challenges of cybersecurity.

Using this platform and the data extraction and analysis it enables, we've created two key products: OnDMARC and OnINBOX. These SaaS applications work together to close the net on the phishing problem by blocking outbound phishing attacks and analyzing the security of inbound communications for company-wide email threat intelligence.

VMblog:  You recently announced a partnership with Entrust to bring BIMI standards for verified logos in branded emails.  Can you tell us more about what that means and why it is important?

Powar:  Recently, Google announced its support for Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI), an emerging email standard which allows businesses to attach validated registered logos to Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting (DMARC) authenticated emails. DMARC is an email authentication protocol which protects domains from impersonation. When properly configured, DMARC uses existing protocols DKIM and SPF to ensure that emails sent using a company's domain are legitimate, preventing hackers from impersonating their brand and damaging their reputation.

Leading up to the Google announcement surrounding BIMI, Red Sift was already partnering with Entrust to successfully guide a number of our OnDMARC customers through the Google pilot program to BIMI certification. However, to qualify for BIMI, a company's domain must be DMARC compliant and its logo must be trademarked. The company must also have a VMC (Verified Mark Certificate) issued by an approved Certification Authority (CA). Now that Google has officially announced support for BIMI, we are continuing our work with Entrust to ensure companies and brands have a simple way to implement this emerging email standard by combining our proprietary OnDMARC platform with Entrust VMCs.

Email is essential for any business to promote their band. But the way people use email is quickly changing, making it work harder for businesses'  goals and needs. That's where BIMI comes in. Through BIMI, businesses and organizations can display their registered logo automatically alongside any DMARC authenticated emails they send. For the customer, this means trust and authenticity and for brands this means a useful (and increasingly necessary) tool for improving ROI.

VMblog:  BIMI standards seem to be on the rise with Google having recently announced support for BIMI.  Why is now the right time for BIMI?

Powar:  In 2021, almost 320 billion emails were sent every day. And this number is only expected to rise 17.5% (roughly 376 billion emails) by 2025. Email isn't going anywhere. But as with anything, the evolution of how businesses use this channel is inevitable, making it work harder for their goals and needs. As part of this evolution comes BIMI.

VMblog:  What are the benefits of BIMI and why do companies need to use it?

Powar:  Any good email marketing strategy will involve tweaking subject lines, cleaning email lists and curating email content. This is done with the goal of increasing open rates, boosting click throughs, swerving spam complaints and keeping bounce rates low. But while these are good practices, it's likely the widespread adoption of globally-recognized standards like DMARC and the benefits which come with these (such as BIMI) will ultimately make the real difference in keeping our email ecosystem robust for years to come.

Every organization can benefit from BIMI. Bigger brands can implement BIMI standards to ensure strong email authentication and create a deep brand experience with their customers. Smaller businesses can implement BIMI standards to add strong email authentication, increase their interaction, and more effectively compete with bigger brands.

VMblog:  Why do you think marketing professionals will care about BIMI?

Powar:  Recently, we ran a survey in partnership with Entrust of over 1,000 participants across the US and UK to assess the impact that logo visibility through BIMI has on email open rates, brand recall, consumer confidence and buying behavior.

Here's what we found: by implementing BIMI we saw increased open rates by 21% and increased brand recall by 18%. Our data also showed that the use of BIMI increased consumer confidence in the legitimacy of an email by 90%. Basically, seeing that brand logo in their inbox legitimized the e-mail and led to increased consumer confidence and therefore, increased purchase rates.

VMblog:  What did your research reveal regarding buying behaviors, and how can the information help email marketers and their brands?

Powar:  The survey also showed an increase in purchase likelihood of 34% as a result of logo visibility through BIMI. Prospects were more likely to purchase when brand logos were displayed in the inbox. Furthermore, the study found that when looking at how Gen Z respondents decided to spend their money, not deploying BIMI negatively impacted purchasing decisions by 28%.

VMblog:  Email phishing attacks are on the rise and have long been an issue in cybersecurity.  What is Red Sift doing to address this?

Powar:  At Red Sift, we talk a lot about how our mission is to democratize the technology essential for cybersecurity. In short, make it accessible for everyone. And there's a specific reason for this, namely that the problems which arise from incorrect email security configuration don't just impact IT departments, they impact entire businesses.

Over 90% of cyber attacks start with a phishing email. These are becoming more sophisticated by the day, so it's vital that businesses are gearing up to adopt DMARC. But out of the 47 million domains we've analyzed over the past few years, only 1.5% are fully DMARC compliant. At Red Sift, we offer OnDMARC, a DMARC tool that when correctly implemented for your domain(s), can stop spoofing attacks and shut down email impersonation.

VMblog:  Finally, what's in store for Red Sift in the future?

Powar:  With Google's recent announcement of their support for BIMI, we're focused now on helping businesses maximize on this opportunity for brand awareness, and drive the adoption of DMARC in the wider email ecosystem. Partnered with Entrust, we've already guided a number of customers through the BIMI pilot program and to date have enabled the sending of more than 100 million VMC certified emails. We'll continue to assess the landscape and create the necessary products to protect businesses of all sizes against threat vectors in the email and cybersecurity space.

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Published Thursday, July 22, 2021 7:32 AM by David Marshall
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