What is an SSL Certificate?
Online security is essential to conducting business online and it's foremost in the minds of your customers. Because virtually anyone can build a website and offer products for sale online, customers may wonder why they should trust your website. Whether your site accepts online payments or collects customer information via forms, taking steps to show your visitors that your site is legitimate and safe is vital to the success of your business.
Ecommerce security cannot be an after-thought in your business plans. Today's savvy online shoppers look for the visual cues provided by SSL Certificates, such as the closed padlock and the "https". If you've taken the time to build a website you'll want to ensure it's always available and free from vulnerabilities with the site monitoring service. Providing the appropriate website security instills confidence and trust, improves your visitor's experience, and keeps them coming back ultimately increasing sales both online and off.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the transaction security protocol used by websites to protect online communications. The most common use of SSL is to provide protection for confidential data, such as personal details or credit card information, entered into a website.
What is the SSL Validation Process?
Identity assurance is accomplished through the validation
process. Network Solutions offers three different validation
Domain Validation (DV) Certificates - Xpress
DV Certificates are issued only after verifying the registration of the domain. This is done by using currently established and accepted vetting process, such as an email based validation using information from the WHOIS database. nsProtect™ Secure Xpress Certificates are validated and issued within minutes.*
Organizational Validation (OV) Certificates - Basic, Advanced, and Wildcard
OV Certificates are issued only after verifying the legitimacy of the applicant's business. This is done by using currently established and accepted vetting process, like manually checking credentials such as Dunn & Bradstreet number, articles of incorporation, WHOIS, passport, driver's license, etc. nsProtect™ Secure Basic, Advanced and Wildcard Certificates are organizationally validated.
Extended Validation (EV) Certificates
EV Certificates provide a higher level of validation and are available to all business and government entities, but are not available to individuals. The EV process is more rigorous and detailed than for any other Certificate and will require additional steps, which may include obtaining signatures from several people within the applying company, legal verification of the business's existence, etc.
EV Certificates provide additional visual assurance by turning your browser address bar green (when using modern browsers like IE7).
When you buy a nsProtect™ Secure SSL Certificate you are asked to provide specific information which Network Solutions will verify or validate. You will move through the various stages of validation using Network Solutions Account Manager. Email communications will also be used to assist in this process.
Once all validation is complete, your SSL Certificate is issued electronically and is ready for installation on your website. If your site is hosted with Network Solutions, much of this installation process is automated for you.
For more information on SSL Certificate Validation Process.
What is the SSL Encryption Process?
The SSL Certificate provides two primary functions:
- SSL Encryption allows data to be transmitted over computer networks in a secure manner
- Identity Assurance (validation) allows the business running the site to 'prove' that they are who they claim to be
Once a secure transaction is initiated, (i.e. click the Submit or Buy button to begin a transaction on a website), there are four basic steps taken to establish a secure connection:
- The browser checks the SSL Certificate to make sure that it is valid and that the site you are connecting to is legitimate.
- Data encryption levels are established based on what the browser and website server can both use to understand each other.
- The browser and server send each other unique codes to use when encrypting the information that will be sent.
- The browser and server start talking using the encryption, the Web browser shows the encrypting icon, and the Web pages and information are processed securely.
In addition to data encryption and identity assurance, SSL Certificates give important visual cues to the website user that they are in a secure environment.