Whether you are an individual or a company, the idea is to approach website security with the weight and the keenness it deserves. Not only do proper security measures give you a sense of safety but also protect your business and all those that visit the website from the dangers of cyber insecurities.
It is essential that you have a clear understanding of the potential risks that you are likely to face and know the protective measures that you can put in place to protect your website from cyber attackers.
The consequences of the failure to install proper measures are so severe. According to the Ponemon Institute’s Cost of a Data Breach Report, there will be data breaches which cost can go up to $3.86 million.
This is an amount no one is ready to incur. Proper security tools should be installed to protect your business from these costs. An SSL certificate is required for every website’s security. All website developers and owners must know how SSL functions and ensure that they acquire and install the certificate for their websites.
This article is out to demystify the whole subject of SSL certificates. It will also give suggestions on the best but cheapest SSL certificate choices.
What is an SSL Certificate?
Let us start with the basics. The most common layman’s understanding of what an SSL certificate is that it is the one tasked with triggering that padlock icon at the top of the address bar. SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is a security protocol, which allows for the encryption of data in transit. SSL certificates play two very critical roles.
The first role is the data encryption role. SSL certificates encrypt all the data and communication in transit ensuring that no unauthorized party can access the information. Only those with the key can be granted access to the data. This is how data integrity and data privacy are attained- by using SSL encryption so that any intruder will find it extremely difficult to access the data.
SSL certificates are also tasked with authentication and verification roles. SSL certificates will provide clear details about the validity and identity of a person, company, or website. By clicking on the padlock on your website, your website visitors will be able to know your name, address and other pertinent details relating to your business. SSL certificates are important part of any website.
Those that have an SSL certificate are likely to rank higher than those websites without an SSL certificate. Furthermore, users will be looking for it to trust you. A Google’s Transparency Report reveals that 84.2% of pages that loaded on google chrome in the USA were all served over HTTPS.
This report shows that web users now value web security and will choose HTTPS over HTTP. The ball is in your court. All you need to do to have a share of the huge chunk of website visitors is to install an SSL certificate.
How does an SSL certificate work?
The way you lock and unlock your doors using a key is so relative to how an SSL certificate works. The main purpose of locking the door is to safeguard your valuables. The same way, encrypting all your vital information will help safeguard the information from the many cyber intruders that are available on the internet today. Without the appropriate key, one will not be able to access the information.
Usually, an SSL session will comprise of two keys. A public key that is primarily used to scramble the information. This is what is referred to as encrypting. The private key will be used to unscramble or decrypt the information into its original format that can be read and deciphered.
SSL certificates will usually be issued by Certificate Authorities. A CA-verified organization will usually acquire an SSL certificate for a specific server or domain. An end-user who uses a browser to navigate into a website with an SSL certificate prompts the occurrence of an SSL handshake. The web visitor will notice changes that indicate that he is browsing over a secure session.
Where to Use an SSL certificate
SSL certificate should be used everywhere where there is need to secure the communication and information in transit. You need an SSL certificate to secure the communication between your servers and the customers’ web browsers. Apart from just securing external information, an SSL certificate will also be of great essence in securing internal communication such as securing internal computation on the company’s intranet. SSL certificates can secure email communication.
Types of SSL certificates
There are three types of SSL certificates which you need to know. You should clearly understand the nature of your organization so that you know which type of SSL certificate is suitable for you. Below are the various types of SSL certificates:
#1 Domain Validated SSL Certificate
This is the standard type of SSL certificate. This type of SSL certificate is usually characterized by low assurance and very minimal encryption. Acquisition of Domain Validated SSL certificate is usually a simple and less detailed process. Just an email or phone conversation is enough to prove domain ownership. It is the cheapest SSL certificate accessible today. The address bar of a website with a Domain Validated will only display the HTTPS status as well as the padlock symbol.
#2 Organization Validated Certificates
The primary role of this type of SSL certificate is to offer the required level of encryption to data transfers. It is also associated with high levels of assurance which are vital when validating the credibility of the organization. Apart from just displaying the HTTPS status and a padlock symbol, this type of SSL certificate will also give detailed information about the owner in the address bar. A substantial validation process is required when completing the acquisition of OV SSL certificate.
#3 Extended Validation Certificate (EV SSL Certificate)
This is the most expensive and the most ranking type of SSL certificate. A website with this type of SSL certificate will display a padlock symbol, HTTPS status, the name of the business as well the country where the business is located. All this information is crucial when a user wants to verify the validity of the business.
#4 Securing Multiple Domains with Multi-domain SSL certificates
Multi-domain SSL certificates are ideal for protecting multiple domains. You do not need to purchase an SSL certificate for every domain. Multi-domains SSL certificate can be of great help when you wish to secure different domains with a single SSL certificate. You, therefore, save money and time by using this type of SSL.
Wildcard SSL certificates are ideal when you wish to protect main domain and its subdomains. Buying a single Wildcard SSL certificate is cost effective when compared to purchasing many single SSL certificates.
Best SSL Certificate Services
Buying the best SSL certificate is a vital thing to do. It determines the security and the general success a business. There are many certificate providers which are available today. Knowing which one is best for you is crucial.
Some of the common names in SSL services are ClickSSL, Comodo SSL, DigiCert, GlobalSign and Thawte. You can visit any one from that to learn about different certificate prices and know which one is best for you.
Trust makes all the difference in a world where fake websites are the norm. Cyber attackers are full on the internet ready to capitalize on any opportunity they find worthy. Proper investment in technology can help a lot to establish the most desired trust and the security walls for a business website.
Proper implementation of an SSL certificate is a necessity, not an option. You need an SSL certificate to establish trust in your customers. You need it for your SEO strategies and primarily for security purposes. All developers and website owners need to have sufficient knowledge of SSL certificates. They need to know about SSL functionality and the type of SSL that the site requires.