What is an SSL Certificate?
An SSL Certificate (Secure Sockets Layer) is also known as a Digital Certificate that is used for creating a secured link between a website and the user’s browser. SSL certificates are data files that are used for digitally binding a cryptographic key onto the user’s information that is being transmitted across the computer networks. SSL remains inevitably essential for a website even though it is not handling any sensitive information and provides privacy, critical security as well as data integrity for user websites along with his personal information.
What is Certificate Authority?
A certificate authority refers to a reputed and trusted body that is responsible for issuing the digital or SSL certificates along with public keys for establishing secured communications over a public network. The certificate authority is a component of the public key infrastructure that works with the registration authority, which is responsible for verifying the information being provided by the digital certificate requester. After the verification of information is done and it holds true, then the certificate authority issues the digital certificate to the requester.
Roles of Certificate Authority
- A majority of the online population has an understanding that the role of a Certificate Authority is to just issue SSL certificates. However, the responsibilities of a CA start long before the issuance process.
- Certificate Authorities also carry out an extensive validation of the organization that has requested for the digital certificate. The process of authentication is purely dependent on the type of requested SSL certificate.
- In the case of a Domain Validation SSL, the Certificate Authority carries out the verification of domain ownership of the requester and then issues the certificate. For Organization Validation (OV) and Extended Validation (EV) SSL, the Certificate Authority verifies the business registration documents along with the credit reports.
- Another significant task undertaken by a Certificate Authority is the vetting procedure. From a cybersecurity point of view, the vetting procedure is the top-notched indispensable component. A Certificate Authority needs to ensure that SSL certificates are issued only to the validated entities and thus, they must enforce a stringent and precise authentication process to prevent it from any potential threat.
The root certificate used by the Certificate Authority needs to be used for generating intermediate certificates as per the requirements; considering the intermediate certificates are created for diversified purposes.
Besides the issuance of SSL certificates pertaining to the domain name, a Certificate Authority can also issue other kinds of digital certificates. The Certificate Authorities in the recent past have shifted their focus from just issuing SSL certificates to a more wider and diversified range of certification services.
Why SSL Certificates Are Important?
- Encrypting Sensitive Information
The basic reason why SSL certificates are used is for securely encrypting the sensitive information being sent over the Internet. This is done so that only the intended recipients get the message. In the absence of an SSL certificate, all the intermediate computers present between the user and the web server can have a look at user-critical information that isn’t encrypted. With the deployment of an SSL certificate, this user information becomes unreadable for everyone except for the user for whom the information is intended. This way, SSL certificates protect the key information from hackers and identity thieves.
- Provides Authentication
Besides encrypting the sensitive information, SSL certificates are also used for providing authentication. With authentication in place, SSL certificates ensure that the user information is sent to the right server only. So, again the question arises- why authentication becomes important? The answer to this question rests with the fact- dynamics of the Internet are such that customers of the user can often send the information from a number of systems and any of these systems could potentially pretend to be the user website. This could be used as the bait for tricking user customers to send personal information. The sole method to avoid this remains by deploying an SSL certificate.to the user website.
- Provides Trust
Besides data protection and authentication, SSL certificates become crucially important in terms of customer trust points. Usually, a web browser gives certain visual cues like- a lock icon or a green address bar. This depicts the visitors that their connection has been secured. With these visual cues in place, the user can expect a number of customers buying from their site. A trusted SSL provider like bodHOST ensures that the user gets a trust seal that helps the customers to gain more level of trust on the user website.
- PCI Compliant
For a user website accepting credit card information on the website, it is inherently compulsory for the user website to pass a number of audits. These audits depict that the website is compliant with the pre-set standards set by the PCI or Payment Card Industry. The basic compliance needed is to have an SSL Certificate installed on the website.
Types of SSL Certificates
1. Extended Validation Certificate
An Extended Validation (EV) certificate is responsible for providing the highest level of assurance from a Certificate Authority. The Certification Authority Browser Forum defines the detailed requirements needed for the process that is applied by a Certificate Authority when it verifies the information given by the EV certificate applicant.
2. Organization Validated Certificate
The Organization Validated (OV) certificates give the next level of assurance and here the Certificate Authorities carry out certain vetting of the applicants and this could include a telephonic verification along with the usage of external entities for confirming the information that has been provided by the applicant. An OV certificate can also be issued if the applicant is capable of holding the administrative control for the requested domain name’s certificate and the organization can prove the legality of the applicant.
3. Domain Validated Certificates
A Domain Validated (DV) certificates need only the applicant to depict the ownership of the requested domain. A DV certificate can be issued instantly and at a low or zero cost.
Thus, the use of SSL certificates has become quite essential. Every website owner needs to compulsorily install these certificates for securing their user’s critical information being generated over his website. SSL certificates also become an indispensable entity of the websites that accept online payment and without an SSL certificate, these websites become non-PCI compliant.
So, if you’re looking to secure your website with a cost-effective SSL Certificate provider, then bodHOST is the one-stop solution for all your website security needs.