We all check for the padlock sign on the address bar before we part with our sensitive information. The padlock signifies that the website has an SSL certificate installed. How can it secure business? Learn more in this article.
The advent of high-speed internet has led to more users searching for information online. As businesses find it easier to reach a larger audience, they face the brunt of attacks from cybercriminals. There has been a considerable increase in the number of successful data breaches. It can lead to hefty penalties by government agencies, loss of customer trust, and lawsuits.
A study by IBM shows that the average cost of a data breach was US$ 3.86 million in 2020. It has made companies adopt cybersecurity best practices to secure business data. The cybersecurity market size was US$ 153.16 billion globally in 2020 and is expected to reach US$ 366.10 billion in 2028. The use of an SSL certificate can ensure the security of sensitive customer data.
- What is an SSL certificate?
One of the mainstays of cybersecurity is the SSL certificate that helps by encrypting the communication that takes place between the web server and the visitor’s browser. It prevents any third party from gaining access to the exchanged information, thereby preventing any data breach. Companies must procure the certificate from a renowned Certification Authority (CA). The CAs provide the certification after proper validation based on the certificate that has been requested.
- Authentication of the business
Before the CA provides the certificate, a proper validation process is undertaken depending on the type of certificate requested. The validation methodology for an Extended Validation will require proof of being a legally registered entity apart from providing proof of physical existence. The information provided by the company is included as a part of the certificate.
More and more visitors try to check the presence as well as the validity of the SSL certificate. Vigilant visitors will also search for trust signs that can confirm that they can visit your website securely. If your website has installed the certificate, there will be a padlock on the address bar. It is more necessary if the visitors plan to undertake an online transaction on the site.
- Additional Benefits of SSL
Most websites process and store customer demographics and financial information. In some cases, it may be only the cookies. However, non-HTTPS sites run the risk of being attacked by hackers who steal the information for their malicious ends. The SSL certificate uses the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) technology that uses a private-public key pair to encrypt the client-server conversation.
Entices more visitors
Visitors prefer to visit secure websites and move away from the site if they feel they are at the wrong place. There are various ways to judge whether a site is genuine. One method is to check for the padlock and the certificate details associated with it. Once visitors abandon your site, they will move to the competition and never return.
Prevents warning messages.
Web browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox have been marking all non-HTTPS as “Not Secure.” This warning is enough to drive visitors away from your website. Companies must install an SSL certificate to ensure the warnings do not show up to secure business data.
Better search rankings.
HTTPS has been used as a lightweight ranking parameter by Google. A higher ranking can lead to a better eyeball share that will increase the number of visitors to the website. Google is currently encouraging sites to move to the HTTPS protocol and decide to change the ranking parameters.
- What are your options for SSL certificates?
Based on Validation levels.
Domain Validated (DV) SSL certificates: The CA assesses whether the company has the authority to use the domain name. It is usually issued in minutes.
Organisation Validated (OV) SSL certificates: Apart from proving that you own the domain, the company must also prove its physical existence. It may take a few hours to some days to be issued.
Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificates: It provides the highest level of trust, and companies must also prove their legal existence, apart from their physical and operational existence.
Based on the number of secured domains.
Single domain certificates: They secure only one domain and are priced cheaply too.
Wildcard SSL certificates. These certificates have a wildcard character (*) and secure several first-level sub-domains apart from the primary domain. They are available in DV and OV options only.
Multi-Domain SSL certificates: They secure multiple domains and underlying sub-domains through a single certificate. The web administrator can add, delete or change the SANs at any time during the validation period.
- Which SSL certificate will suit an e-commerce site?
All e-commerce websites must adhere to the PCI/DD guidelines to secure business information. It requires them to install an SSL certificate. The EV SSL provides the highest level of protection and is ideal for e-commerce sites as they may have to store financial details.
However, if the website has multiple subdomains for different lines of business, you must choose a Wildcard SSL certificate that caters to several sub-domains. However, the EV option will be unavailable as it comes only in DV and OV options.
- All CAs are not trustworthy.
As a user, you would expect all CAs to be trustworthy. The CAs must adhere to the minimum standards as laid down by the CA/Browser Forum (CA/B Forum). However, there have been cases where browsers have red-flagged CAs due to various reasons. For example, Google announced that it would distrust the certificates issued by Symantec. The reason was that the certificates issued did not comply with industry guidelines.
Much earlier, in 2011, an attack on Diginotar led to the issuing of fraudulent SSL certificates. Google has introduced the Google Certificate Transparency Report that safeguards the issuance of certificates by providing an open framework that helps audit and monitor the certificates. It allows a user to search the certificates of any website along with adequate details.
Companies are faced with an increased risk of a data breach. The only way is to introduce global cybersecurity best practices and move the website to the HTTPS platform. It helps to ensure a sense of trust or visitors to the site. It will encrypt the client-server communication to provide data security. Moreover, Google offers additional benefits to HTTPS sites.