SSL certificates have, overtime, become an indispensable ingredient that fastens the security of different websites. To date, many websites, both small blogs and large business ventures have an SSL certificate installed. According to a Google’s Transparency Report, 84.2% of all websites that loaded on google Chrome in May 2019 were all served by HTTPS. The reason behind this trend is because of the benefits that accrues to a website when an SSL certificate is installed. This article has explained the subject of SSL certificate. It explains the meaning of SSL certificates, how SSL certificates work, why your business website needs to have one and how you can acquire one.
- What is an SSL Certificate?
SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. The SSL certificate is the protocol that encrypts all information that is transferred between your servers and the browsers of the users. An SSL certificate will digitally bind a cryptographic key to the details of the organisation. When it is installed on a website, it will allow the HTTPS protocol that play the vital role of enabling a secure connection between the web server and the web browsers being used by your web visitors. SSL certificates will secure all the data and information such credit card information, login credentials and other valuable data.
- How Does an SSL Certificate Work?
- TLS handshake
As mentioned earlier, SSL certificates ensures for a secure connection between the web servers and the web browsers. For this secure connection to take place there must be a TLS handshake. A TLS handshake is the term used to refer to the process where two parties agree to start a secure communication by exchanging the public keys. In a Layman’s language, a TLS handshake is like those handshakes peers do. Only they understand the specific combination of hand claps, high fives among other motions that identify them as part of the group.
The TLS handshake is tasked with performing a few cryptographic functions that are instrumental in enabling visitors to your website to connect to the website via the HTTPS protocol. The first cryptographic function is the exchange of specific parameters and cipher suits. This function is a key in establishing the cryptographic feature that both your servers and the visitors’ browsers support. The TLS handshake process also involves the authentication of the parties in the exchange. The last cryptographic function is the exchange of public keys as well as the generation of symmetric session keys. The symmetric session keys are important in carrying out communication encryption and decryption roles after the TLS handshake.
After the handshake is complete, users can safely send and receive information to your website without the information being intercepted. The information being transmitted via the HTTPS protocol is also safe from the Man-in-the-middle attacks, domain spoofing, and other type of hackers that intent to intercept the information and use it for their own malicious purposes. TLS will ensure that that the website that the user is interacting with is actually the one that they intend to interact with. TLS also prevents the data from being altered by hackers. To achieve this, a Message Authentication Code (MAC) is attached to the information being transmitted.
- The role that SSL certificates have in The Security of Your Business
Whether you own a giant company or your venture is only one day old, you are a target of cyber attackers. Cyber attackers have no boundaries. They set their trap for both small and large businesses. According to Verizon’s most recent Data Breach Investigation Report (DBIR), small businesses have become the hackers’ favorite targets. The report indicates that 43% of all data breaches affect small businesses. This tells you how vulnerable you are. Most small businesses ignore the basic security guidelines and do not have an SSL certificate to protect their information from the escalating data breaches.
Here is one alarming fact that you should face: 60 percent of all businesses will shut down within six months after a successful data breach. You do not want this to happen. The only way to stay on the safe side is to have an SSL certificate installed on your website. An SSL certificate will also equip your business website with visual indicators that show your users that indeed their connection is secure. This will in turn increase their trust in your business and build a strong brand and reputation for your business.
You should note that an SSL certificate does not make you immune from cyber attackers but it really improves on the security of your business website. No unauthorized person will able to access the information or the communication that is taking place on your website because of the strong encryption that is enabled by an SSL certificate. Do not wait until a cyber breach has affected your business. Just get an SSL certificate today and stay on the safe side.
- How to Get an SSL Certificate?
After learning how important an SSL certificate is to the security of your business website, you might also want to know where to find an SSL certificate. SSL certificates are usually sold by trusted Certificate Authorities. You will need to pay for the SSL certificates from these Certificate Authorities. However, you can also get free SSL certificates from SSL providers. Free SSL certificates will give you the level of encryption that your website requires. However, they also have some drawbacks. Free SSL certificates do not have warranties and in case things go wrong, you will have to deal with them by yourself. Free SSL certificates providers do not offer customer support like the Certificate Authorities. We therefore recommend that you get your SSL certificate from a trusted Certificate Authority or authenticated SSL resellers. If your website is having multiple domains, we highly recommend the multi-domain SSL certificate that will save you time and resources. You do not need to purchase an SSL certificate for every domain. Just a single Multi-domain certificate is enough to do a perfect job for you.
SSL certificate is a protocol that will improve on the security of your website. There are lot of benefits that your business will have from installing an SSL certificate. This article has explained the benefits as well as the meaning of SSL certificates and how SSL certificates work. If you are running a business website without an SSL certificate, then it is time you started thinking about acquiring one.