Today, Internet is not a very safe place. Information transmitted through online sometimes read by other people. There are many ways that malicious people (known as crackers) can learn the information visitors are exchanging with your website, and obtain sensitive information (for example, passwords or credit card numbers). It could also be possible that they presented to unaware customers a modified version of your website hosted on their server, in order to collect some important information from them.
In order to fight this, a special Internet protocol called SSL (Secure Sockets Layer was created (when speaking of viewing Web pages over SSL, often the term HTTPS is used).
SSL is a global standard security technology developed by Netscape in 1994. SSL is all about encryption. It creates an encrypted link between a web server and a web browser. The link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browser remains private and secure and is recognized by millions of consumers by a secure padlock, which appears in their browser.
The SSL protocol is used by millions of e-Business providers to protect their customers ensuring their online transactions remain confidential. In order to be able to use the SSL protocol, a web server requires the use of an SSL Certificates are provided by Certification Authorities (CA) who in most cases also offers additional products and services to aid e-Businesses to demonstrate that they are trustworthy. Consumers have grown to associate the 'golden padlock', that appears within their browser display, as an indication of trust in the web site. This simple fact allows e-Business providers an opportunity to leverage that increased trust level to turn visitors into paying customers - so long as you know which type to choose.
SSL certificates are generally used with ecommerce shopping carts, or anywhere you want to collect information from a user securely on your website. If you use a secure server certificate with a form; and that form emails the results to you; keep in mind that the email is not secure.
Online transactions are not considered to be safe by most of the users. With the advent of hacking incidents, and unauthorized sharing of personal data with third parties, the users are even more careful about making online transactions. So for businesses which have ecommerce presence or have corporate intranet where the users and company’s data security is of paramount importance, the most significant way is SSL certificate.
You would require a Web SSL Certificate, if:
• You have an online store or accept online orders and credit cards.
• Your business partners log in to confidential information on an extranet
• You have offices that share confidential information over an intranet.
• You process sensitive data such as address, birth date, license, or ID numbers.
• You need to comply with privacy and security requirements.
• You value privacy and expect others to trust you.
Although the certificate authority market is quite diverse you purchase the same according to your need and budget; there are many offerings in different price ranges, with the Open Directory Project identifying 22 third parties offering the service and more than 20 root certificates bundled into Internet Explorer and Firefox—it is dominated by a few major firms.
According to a June 2005 survey from Netcraft and similar January 2007 tallies from Security Space, the largest vendors are: VeriSign plus its Thawte subsidiary (www.verisign.com
), Equifax via its GeoTrust subsidiary (www.equifax.com
), Comodo (www.comodo.com
), GoDaddy/Starfield (www.godaddy.com
), Entrust.net (entrust.net), and Digicert (www.digicert.com
). Together these six have approx 95% of the market, depending on the measurement methodology, while Verisign Still holds the largest market share of 72%, While comodo approx 18%, Geotrust 3.43%, Entrust approx 2.5 %, GoDaddy approx 1% and rest about 3 to 4%.
Although there is no functional difference between the SSL certificates issued by these recognized CAs. Vendors do establish product distinctions through a variety of added features and in the level of company validation.
As with most services, competition has proven beneficial for Web site operators, with the abundance of vendors pushing costs for business-class certificates down. Given their potential abuse by phishers and scam artists, businesses should avoid using the bargain basement, domain-only products, while those wishing to provide the highest level of security to their users should consider the new EV certificates.
Shakir Husein is the CEO of Dynamic Intel. Dynamic specializes in secured ecommerce solutions and content management systems. More articles on ecommerce and CMS can be accessed at Pacific Articles .
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