SSL Certificate

Choosing the Best SSL Certificate for an Enterprise

December 21, 2016 | By  

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is one term that any entrepreneur today has to be very familiar with. It concerns the overall security and reputation of any entrepreneur’s business today. Hence choosing an SSL certificate for an enterprise has to be done with utmost care. To do this, one must be familiar with what SSL is, how it works and what the key features are.

SSL: An Introduction

  • SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a security protocol which helps create an encrypted link between a server and a client, between a web server and a web browser.
  • Thus proper encryption and decryption happen and hence users are protected from eavesdropping, man-in-the-middle attacks, card data theft, corporate data breach etc.

SSL Certificate

How SSL Works

An organization (or individual) desiring to have SSL protection for a website should first get an SSL certificate issued by a CA (Certificate Authority). An organization can activate SSL by creating a CSR (Certificate Signing Request) and filling out the organizational information needed for the certificate. The server then creates two cryptographic keys, namely the private key and the public key. The public key would be included in the CSR file.The organization’s information is tied to the public key. The complete file is then sent to the CA by the administrator for validation. The CA validates the information and issues the SSL certificate. The receiving Web server compares the certificate to the private key.

The SSL Certificate works very systematically. When the browser tries for a connection with the website, the website asks the web server to identify itself. The website identifies itself with a copy of the SSL Certificate. Then the browser decides whether to trust the website/server or not, based on the authenticity of the SSL Certificate. If the browser trusts and accepts the SSL Certificate, a message is sent to the server, which responds with a digitally signed acknowledgment. Here starts the SSL encrypted communication.

How to choose an SSL Certificate

It all begins with choosing the right CA. There are many leading providers and hence it’s to be ensured that it’s the best, the most reliable CA that has been chosen. This would help ensure proper working of the organization’s private key and SSL certificate, which in turn would help protect data in a better way.

Choosing the right type of certificate comes next. Deciding, based on the requirements, whether it’s a single-name certificate or a wildcard certificate or multi-domain one that’s needed, is important. Go for single-name certificates if it’s only one website. Choose wildcard certificates if security is needed for a main domain plus its first-level subdomains. Opt for multi-domain certificates if several web domains run by the company need to be secured with a single certificate.

It’s always wise to choose a certificate that offers at least 128-bit protection. One that offers 256-bit encryption would ensure better protection.

The next step is knowing about the three levels of certificate validation- Domain Validation (DV), Organization Validation (OV) and Extended Validation (EV). OV certificates are always good for commercial use since they indicate the organization’s authenticity and legitimacy. Opting for EV certificates is good as they offer the highest level of website validation and come after thorough verification.

It’s always advisable to choose an SSL certificate for which issuance is prompt and service support is available 24×7.


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