In this digital world, it is an unquestionable fact that an established business needs a web presence, be it a small business or an enterprise. These days people live an online life mostly. Paying bills, banking, purchasing, or communicating with friends and distant family, whatever, we do everything online as it is easier and faster. Business owners are therefore more interested in marketing, selling, and distributing their services online through their websites.
But before putting their vital personal information on this public web, a user would check whether he can trust a website or not. Therefore business owners must have safe and secure websites. A trustworthy website not only increases the web traffic but also helps in flourishing the online businesses. This is the case with B2C websites.
But what if you are dealing with B2B clients? Would you need this trust for your B2B website? The answer is, Yes. Why? Customers are specific about the way their data is being treated by their vendors. So, be it a B2B or B2C, if you are collecting data, you must protect it.
Now the question is, how to earn this trust from customers? The answer to this question depends upon the SSL certificate a website holds. In other words, an SSL certificate can make your website look legitimate and trustworthy. An SSL certificate builds trust and confidence among your customers.
If you are a B2B vendor, you must also know that B2B e-commerce thrives on SEO power. As Google has already stated that SSL is a viral ranking factor, can anyone ignore it anymore? Also, once you realise the significance of an SSL certificate in increasing your website page load speed, there is no need to reinstate the importance of SSL certificate in any business.
Now that we have seen the importance of owning an SSL certificate irrespective of your business domain, let us see what an SSL Certificate does further to make your website safe and secure.
To begin with, what is an SSL Certificate? SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It protects the data transmitted between a server (your website) and a client (the user's browser). In simple words, each piece of data transmitted back and forth is encrypted and remains safe from man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks using SSL encryption technology. You can relate this to sending a letter in a sealed envelope.
Owning an SSL certificate is a positive search signal too. It is one of the best practices a website owner can adopt as per the Google guidelines. An SSL certificate will increase your website's search ranking, and seriously who doesn't love this? Please keep in mind that Google supports and promotes websites that follow good practices. Now you must agree with the fact that an SSL certificate is a must for a website owner.
You can identify a website with an SSL certificate from its website address. A website with an SSL certificate starts with 'https' rather than 'http'. You can also see a padlock on the address bar of those sites that own an SSL certificate.
Then the next question arises. From where do you get an SSL Certificate? There are plenty of SSL providers who offer a myriad of buying options. Each certificate is different in terms of the attributes they provide. Therefore, before jumping the gun, you need to consider some factors, especially if you are a first-time buyer of an SSL certificate security solution. Let us find out the factors that you need to consider while buying an SSL certificate.
The primary job of each SSL certificate is to keep the data transfer between the website server and user browser safe. Even then SSL certificates are broadly classified into three categories depending upon the validation process carried by Certificate Authority (CA) before issuing a certificate. They are:
This is the most basic type of certificate which confirms only the domain ownership. These are meant for small websites and blogs which do not deal with any sensitive data. With this option, you get HTTPS, a padlock, and a static site seal. If you are dealing with any sensitive data through your website, then this should never be your choice.
This certificate verifies the organization along with the domain and displays information about the company inside the certificate. It is also known as ‘business authentication’. Since you get the company details only inside the certificate, normal users may not be able to find them. The issuer submits documents proving the legitimacy of the organization.
This certificate showcases the topmost level of authentication. If your website deals with e-commerce or any other user-sensitive information, then you should choose this option. This certificate gives your website a green address bar, green padlock, and most important of all dynamic site seals.
Another key factor you should consider while selecting the right SSL certificate is the number of domains you want to protect using SSL. Depending on the number of domains, you can opt for either a Wildcard SSL certificate or Multi-domain/SAN SSL certificate.
Wildcard SSL certificate can secure your main domain along with an unlimited number of subdomains. With this option, you don't have to purchase a separate SSL certificate for each of your subdomains. It will help you to save your time as well as money.
As the name implies, a Multi-domain/SAN SSL certificate provides security to multiple full domains with their subdomains. So you may choose this option if you have multiple domains and subdomains to secure.
You should also take into account the warranty amount you need to pay while buying an SSL certificate. The amount of warranty is different for each certificate. The higher the amount, the higher is the level of validation you get. If by any chance any accidents or fraud happen, the Certificate Authority is liable to pay you back. Therefore with a higher warranty amount, you get heightened security and also an opportunity to receive payback if anything goes wrong.
The reputation and brand name of the Certificate Authority is also a major concern. When you have enough options in front of you, try to choose the best possible. The market share of a CA, the infrastructure they possess, the size of the user base of a CA, etc. are some of the factors that decide whether the selected CA is the best one or not. It is also better to take into account the recent history of the brand and make sure that they are running smoothly without any issues.
The issuance time of each type of certificate differs depending upon the complexity of the certificate and the level of validation each goes through. If a Domain Validation SSL certificate is issued in minutes, Organization Validation SSL may take 2-3 days and the Extended Validation SSL can take up to 3-4 days. So if you need a certificate without going through a time-consuming validation process, you might opt for a DV SSL certificate.
The cost incurred in buying the right SSL certificate is another thing you must consider before the purchase. Each certificate is different from another certificate in their pricing depending upon their brand they belong to, the duration of the validity period, type of SSL, etc. You may plan and act wisely as per your choice.
Certificate Authorities often provide additional features to secure your website along with the SSL Certificate you purchase. Understanding these features and weighing upon them can also help you to make a smart decision.
At times of difficulty, it is always better to have someone handhold you, right? We can never know when things go wrong. Therefore it is always better to buy a plan which includes customer support options in the form of chat, phone call, or emails.
This compiles the list of things you should consider before choosing an SSL certificate. Selecting an SSL certificate that best suits your business becomes a difficult task only if you do not have any idea behind the whole concept. To summarise, it is always better to consult the best SSL security service provider to purchase the required SSL Certificate for your website.
ePillars has been at the forefront in providing the smartest SSL security service solutions to our premium clientele across the GCC countries. Contact us today; let us help you to bolster your business with a safe and secure website.