More people search for information online and undertake online transactions. It makes businesses revamp their marketing strategy, laying more focus on their website. They lay more emphasis on the website that becomes the ideal way to communicate with their audience. The companies also gather customer information that generally includes their demographics and login information.
Businesses must ensure that the underlying customer data is secure, else it could lead to legal complications. A report by IBM states businesses lose US$ 1.52 million on an average due to cyberattacks. Moreover, e-commerce websites may store financial information too that requires them to have stringent safeguards in place. The SSL certificate can help to mitigate the risks of a cyberattack. We will learn more about them and their benefits.
What is an SSL certificate?
When you visit a website, you would see the padlock on the address bar. It indicates that the website is secure and has installed the SSL certificate. The certificate uses technology to ensure a secure connection between two entities. It provides that the communication exchange between the web server and the visitor’s browser is encrypted.
The use of this certificate allows businesses to store customer data safely. Any third party cannot access the data as the latest encryption techniques are used. The digital certificate helps authenticate the website, too, as it is issued by a reputed Certificate Authority (CA). They undergo a thorough validation procedure based on the type of validation chosen.
The technology used in SSL
The TLS (Transport Security Layer) is the secure protocol that is used. The commonly used term SSL has stayed. The SSL certificate uses the latest RSA, ECC or DSA encryption technologies.
The client sends the first message that includes the session-specific data and the information that the server will need. The server replies with the public key required by the certificate and client for secure communication. The browser checks the certificate, and the server performs authentication.
The browser creates a session key. It is encrypted with the public key and sent to the server on successful authentication. The session key is decrypted with the private key and sends back the acknowledgement. In the end, the server and the browser can have a valid secure session.
Types of SSL certificate
The types of SSL certificates can be based on:
- The validation type,
- The number of domains and subdomains
Based on the type of validation
1: Domain Validation (DV).
The DV certificates provide a level of encryption and can be delivered within a short time. The CA validates the right of the business to own the website they wish to secure. The verification is done when the DNS is added to the CA. The validation process is less stringent and is usually automated.
2: Organisation Validation (OV).
The OV validation involves a stricter level of validation than DV. The CA validates the owner of the domain and whether the organisation has legal operations. It could take a few days to be provided.
3: Extended Validation (EV).
This validation method involves stringent checks by the CA and is among the most expensive too. Apart from showing that you own the domain, the CA will also check the ownership, the legal existence, the physical location of the business, etc.
It can take days to be issued and requires the requestor to submit documents as proof of the company’s identity. The Comodo SSL certificates, RapidSSL, GeoTrust SSL are the ideal and come within your budget.
Based on the number of domains
1: Single domain
They protect only one domain. It is ideal for smaller websites. If you install it to secure example.com, it cannot secure blog.example.com or examples1.com.
2: Wildcard SSL
They can be used for a domain name and its first-level sub-domains. It is ideal for companies that have sub-domains for different lines of business. To secure the sub-domains, the asterisk (*) should be added before the primary domain.
For example, you can secure the domain address.com and the sub-domains blog.address.com, news.address.com, careers.address.com, etc. If you are searching for a premium yet cheap wildcard SSL cert for your online business, we suggest going for the RapidSSL wildcard certificate. This will ensure premium security of your chosen primary domain in addition to an unlimited number of first-level subdomains under it, at pocket-friendly prices!
3: Multi Domain SSL
The Multi Domain SSL allows multiple domain names to be secured using the same certificate. It will enable you to combine different TLD hostnames. Most CAs allow main domains along with different sub-domains to be secured on the same certificate. It is ideal for industry leaders who have several websites.
Benefits of SSL certificate
1: Authenticates the identity
One of the prime benefits of an SSL certificate is that it authenticates the website, and it is one trust factor that website visitors expect. The CA provides the certificate only after conducting a validation procedure. It will depend on the type of certificate chosen by the business.
It ensures that no hacker can create a deceptive website and drive your traffic towards the fraudulent website for their misdeeds. One of the significant advantages is that it protects users from phishing attacks.
2: Ensures secure payments
There has been an increase in fake transactions online. It is why users must be assured that a website can be trusted, and safe transactions are undertaken. All websites that allow PCI-DSS mandate online transactions to ensure there are stringent processes to ensure data security. These websites must install an SSL certificate with minimum 128-bit encryption levels.
3: A secure website
Businesses store a trove of client information in the form of login information, demographics, and other sensitive information. The information is always at the risk of being exposed through a data breach.
4: Encrypted Communication
One of the main benefits of an SSL certificate is that it encrypts the interaction with the visitor’s browser. Only authenticated entities can decipher the communication, and no unauthorised entities can have access.
5: Increases customer trust
There has been an increase in data breaches because visitors are apprehensive when they visit a new website. The padlock on the address bar acts as a trust factor that can remove the customer’s fears.
Some of the SSL certificates also provide a Trust Seal that can give additional trust to customers. The seal can be placed at prominent positions on the website and mainly on the checkout page. The visitors can quickly check the validity of the certificate and additional details.
6: Boosts SEO ranking
Search engines have a mission to ensure a safe internet for all users. Since 2014, Google has announced HTTPS to be a lightweight parameter for keyword rankings. The padlock acts as a trust factor that brings additional visitors to the website. The additional footprints also lead to an improvement in search rankings.
7: Protects from warnings
Web browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox have been marking non-HTTPS websites as “Not Secure”. The warning makes visitors anxious, and they abandon the site to move to the competition. If you install an SSL certificate, the website will be protected from such warnings.
Steps to add an SSL certificate to a website:
We will go through the steps to generate the private key and CSR and upload the certificate through cPanel.
Generating the Private Key
- At the cPanel, you must click on SSL/ TLS under Security, and the SSL/ TLS Manager will show.
- Under the “Private Keys (KEY)” tab, click on the “Generate, view, upload or delete your private keys” link.
- A new window, “Generate a New Private Key”, will open.
- You can select the desired key size and write a brief description of the key.
- Once everything is done, click on the “Generate” tab.
- There will be a confirmation that the new key has been created.
Generating the CSR
- When the SSL/ TLS Manager opens, click on the “Generate, view, or delete SSL certificate signing requests” link under the Certificate Signing Requests (CSR) tab.
- Under the “Generate a New Certificate Signing Request (CSR)”, select the private key.
- You must fill a form that will require these details:
- The domain name (Common name)
- The email address
- The name of your organisation and the organisational unit
- The location (City/ Locality and the State / County / Region)
- When you click on the “Generate” tab, the newly generated CSR will be shown.
Upload SSL Certificate in cPanel
- When the SSL/ TLS Manager opens, at the “Certificates (CRT)” tab, you must click on the “Generate, view, upload or delete SSL certificates” link.
- A new window, “Upload a New Certificate”, will open, and you provide the certificate “Paste your certificate below” text box.
- When it is ready, click on “Save certificate”.
- When the certificate is uploaded successfully, there will be a confirmation.
Activating the SSL certificate
- When the SSL/ TLS Manager opens, you will find the “Install and Manage SSL for your site (HTTPS)” tab. Then click on the “Manage SSL sites” link.
- In the “Install an SSL Website” window, click on “Browse certificates”.
- You must select the SSL certificate to be activated and click on “Use certificate”.
- The private key will be automatically added.
- Then you must paste the CA (Certificate Authority) Bundle into the “Certificate Authority Bundle (CABUNDLE)” field.
- Finally, click on “Install Certificate” to complete the installation.
There has been an increase in the number of data breaches. Hence, businesses must be on their guard against a cyberattack. They must imbibe adequate security procedures to prevent an attack. One of the best ways is to install an SSL certificate. This article adequately discusses what they are and how they can benefit businesses.