Any organization that has a webpage on the internet, would need a web server to maintain the backend for the data and all transactions on the website. But how do we ensure maintenance of security of all data being exchanged between this web server and the web browser that is being used to browse the website?

What Is An SSL Certificate?
That is where SSL (Secured Sockets Layer) Certificates come in. A layman can easily make out if a website has an SSL certificate or not is by seeing if the URL of the website starts with http or with https. The presence of the ‘s’ after http signifies that the website has an SSL certificate. This certificate can be procured from an authorised certifier like Symantec who can provide Symantec SSL Certificates. But before that let us learn a little more about SSL certificates.

What’s Behind an SSL Certificate
These certificates work on the principle of cryptography. This involves the use of two keys to secure the website – a public key and a private key. A key is nothing but a set of randomly generated numbers. The public key is available to the website, and also available in the public domain. If the website wants to send a message to the web server, it uses the public key, but the message can be decrypted (or read) by the server is by using the server’s private key, which is not available to anyone else. How this keeps the communication secure is that a potential hacker might get access to the public key, but decryption won’t be possible without the private key, which the hacker won’t have and won’t be able to access.

Types Of SSL Certificates
We use mainly three kinds of certificates – an extended validation SSL certificate (EV SSL), an organization validated certificate (OV SSL) or a domain validated SSL certificate (DV SSL). EV SSL certifications can be provided to both government and private organizations, and has the lowest level of validation, usually done through email. An OV SSL certificate would only be issued once the certifying authority (CA) has vetted the company details provided. The certificate would contain all the vetted company information. The strictest validation is done for the DV SSL certification.

Physical location of the company is verified, and several documents need to be submitted. This certification takes a few weeks, compared to the few hours an EV SSL would take. Based on the number of domains, SSL Certificates could be Single Name (would secure single domain name), Wildcard (unlimited subdomains secured for a single domain), and Multi domain (up to 100 domains secured under the same certificate). A good certification authority like Symantec would help you understand which type of SSL certification you need and provide you Symantec SSL Certificates.

Things To Look For In SSL Certification
Now that you have understood what SSL certification is, and how important it is for your website. You need to find someone who can help you get the correct certification that will secure your website. Here are just some of the few things you need to check:

  1. Would the security seal be displayed on the website?
  2. Would the green address bar show for your website?
  3. How many subdomains would the certificate secure?
  4. Has a vulnerability assessment been done?

What Are The Differentiators In SSL Certification Providers?
SSL Certification is not only about the security of your website, but also about getting a better rank on the search results at any search engine. Search rankings are dependent on the number of clicks your website gets. People who browse your website are more likely to click if they are confident your website is secure, so you need to check if the SSL certification you get displays the proof of security on the website, or beside your website’s name on search pages.

Certification is not just a one-time activity, but your SSL certificate provider should also have a daily scanning process for all kinds of viruses or other malware.

Till the time your certificate expires, you should be able to get seamless customer support so that all your queries are answered promptly. You can check out Symantec which offers all of these facilities while giving you Symantec SSL Certificates.