Note: This post is part of a special holiday blog series created by our Expert Services Team at SendGrid to provide information on how to prepare and get the most out of your email campaigns this year. As businesses gear up for the upcoming holiday season, we’d like to take this opportunity to remind our senders about the importance of a stable and healthy cloud (and on-prem) architecture. Many senders find that the holiday season means that their infrastructure needs to support exponentially more mail than it handles during the rest of the year. If your team is gearing up for a high volume holiday sending pattern, we recommend conducting an audit of your infrastructure in advance to ensure “the pipes are clean.” To kick off your annual audit, here is a quick checklist to ensure your cloud and on-premise email architecture can handle the pressure of the holiday season sending before you actually start sending. 2017 Email Architecture Audit Checklist IPs Are they warm enough to handle your anticipated traffic? Are your mailing streams segmented? Is your rDNS a reflection of your domain reputation? Do you have enough? DNS Are your SSL certs up-to-date and valid? Do you see green check marks next to your domain, link, and IP whitelabels within the SendGrid platform? Are your NS and CNAME lookups coming back with the right information? Mail Delivery Are your current messages landing in the inbox? If you have marketing content, are you experiencing an inbox/engagement ratio that is competitive in your space? To see where you stand vs. other senders in your industry, reference our 2017 Global Email Benchmark Report. Is your team still “fighting the tabs” and need to get an edge before high volume holiday sending? Authentication Are your DKIM/SPF/rDNS authenticators hard passing? Does your DKIM reflect the appropriate domain for its reputation (especially important for senders operating with subdomains)? Is your DMARC policy set to restrictive, or are you thinking about implementing DMARC for the first time? Mail handover Are you getting 2XX-level responses on all connectors to the SendGrid platform? Are you hitting any potential rate limiters? Or do you need to update to the SendGrid APIv3? Marketing Campaigns and Newsletter Sending Is your marketing and transactional mail segmented along different IPs? Do you need to operate with subdomain tiering to protect those “mission critical” swimlanes? Is your marketing/newsletter content mobile-responsive? Are your newsletters being truncated at major receivers? Does your newsletter and/or marketing mail reflect the branding of your website? What’s your call to action this holiday season? Takeaways While this is of course only a portion of a comprehensive audit for a A++ environment (I operate with a grading scale between A++ to F for audited accounts), this checklist should help ensure that your business’ holiday sending avoids unnecessary pitfalls. If your team is looking for a SendGrid team to partner with, our Expert Services Team assists directly with the above, including: account auditing, architectural stability evaluation, partner integration assistance, brand acquisition and transition planning, scalability potential, reputation management and mitigation, deliverability, API ops, ESP migration assistance, beta pilot program rollout assistance, SendGrid’s Marketing Campaigns adoption, and more. Our Professional Services Team here at SendGrid wish you and your families a joyous and prosperous holiday season. Happy sending!