What SSL Actually Does for You?

SSL is the acronym for Secure Sockets Layer and is the Internet standard security technology used to establish an encrypted (or safe) link between a web server (website) and your browser (i.e. Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, etc…). This secured link ensures that the data/information that is passed from your web browser to the web server remain private; meaning safe from hackers or anyone trying to spy/steal that info. SSL is the industry standard and is used by millions of websites to protect and secure any sensitive or private data that is sent through their website. One of the most common things SSL is used for is protecting a customer during an online transaction.

To establish a secured SSL connection on a web server it requires an SSL Certificate to be properly installed. When completing the process to activate SSL on your web server you will be asked to complete a number of questions to verify the identity of your domain and your company. Once properly completed, your web server will create 2 types of cryptographic keys – one is called a Private Key and the other is called the Public Key.

The Public Key isn’t a secret and it’s placed into something called a Certificate Signing Request or most commonly referred to as the CSR. The CSR is a file that contains all the data of your details. Once this CSR is generated, you can begin the SSL application process. During this process, the Certification Authority (CA) will go through the validation process to verify your submitted details and then once verified will issue an SSL Certificate with your details and allow you to use SSL. Your web server will automatically match the CA issued SSL Certificate to your Private Key. This means you are now ready to establish an encrypted and secure link between your website and your customer’s web browser.

SSL protocol is complex, but the complexities always remain invisible to your customers. Instead the browser they are using provides them with a key indicator letting them know that their session is currently protected by an SSL encryption – sometimes it is the lock icon in the lower right-hand corner, or the addition of an “s” in https rather than just http, on high-end SSL Certificates, a key indicator is the green bar in the browser. Clicking on the indicators will display all the details about it. All trusted Certification Authorities issue SSL Certificates to either legit companies or legally accountable individuals.

Generally speaking, SSL Certificates include and display (at least one or all) your domain name, your company name, your address, your city, your state and your country. It also always has an expiration date of that particular certificate and of course the details of the Certification Authority responsible for issuing the certificate. Browser connect to a secured site and then retrieves the site’s SSL Certificate and first makes sure that it has not expired, then it checks to see if it was issued by a known Certification Authority that the browser trusts, and then that it is actually being used by the website that is was actually issued to. If any one of these parameters does not check out properly, the browser will display a warning to the user to let them know that this site is not secure by SSL. It says to leave or proceed with extreme caution. That is the last thing you would want to say to your potential customer. That is why SSL is of high importance to any successful company doing business on the web.

How Does A Digital Certificate Work?

SSL certificate, Digital Certification, encryption etc sound like ominous terms :) So we thought we would simplify them for you. Let’s begin by defining Secure Sockets Layer or SSL as it is commonly known. SSL is a commonly-used protocol for managing the security of message transmission on the Internet.

SSL or Digital certificates ensure that each website that is used for gathering and transmitting customer information is genuine and guarantees the safety of this information. It is a must have for any website that requires transfer of information, especially in case of e-commerce websites where sensitive information such as Credit Card Numbers, Personal Information etc is exchanged between the client browsers and website servers.

So how does SSL work?

SSL uses public key encryption technology for authentication. Public key encryption requires that a public key and a private key be generated for an application. Let us now understand how public and private keys are used.

Data encrypted with a public key can only be decrypted using its corresponding private key and vice versa. The private key is stored in a key database file that is password-protected. Only the owner of the private key can access it to decrypt messages that are encrypted using the corresponding public key. Sounds complicated? Read on to know more.

In order to ensure maximum security, a digital certificate is issued by a third-party Certificate Authority (CA) like VeriSign. A digital certificate verifies the identity of an entity through the following fields:

Organizational Information

This section of the certificate contains information that uniquely identifies the owner of the certificate, such as organizational name and address. You supply this information when you generate a certificate using a certificate management utility.

Public key

The receiver of the certificate uses a public key to decipher encrypted text sent by the certificate owner to verify its identity. A public key has a corresponding private key that encrypts the text.

Certificate Authority’s Distinguished name

The issuer of the certificate identifies itself with this information.

Digital Signature

The issuer of the certificate signs it with a digital signature to verify its authenticity. This signature is compared to the signature on the corresponding CA certificate to verify that the certificate originated from a trusted certificate authority.

Why is a Digital Certificate important?

A website is one of the best ways for any business to find new customers. But this will only happen if the website is well designed and necessary security measures are in place. Typically SSL is used to secure credit card transactions, data transfer, logins and more recently is becoming the norm when securing browsing of social media sites.

Most Internet users expect any personal information they provide on the Internet, to remain confidential and integral. Many people will never buy your products or services online unless they are sure about the confidentiality of their data. The SSL certificate is the only way to secure your online transactions and to show your customers that you really value their privacy.

An important component of SSL is the ‘Secured by GlobalSign’ Seal which is a globally recognized trust mark, available for display in 13 different languages. When you download your seal, choose the size and language most appropriate for your web site.


When you accept credit card numbers online or ask users to create an account, you need to show that your website can be trusted. The ‘GlobalSign Secured Seal’ gives your web site instant credibility in the online world by visually reassuring customers that your site’s identity has been verified and that it is secured with a SSL certificate. Hope this gives you a good overview of the value & role of a Digital Certificate in our online economy.

PS: We’re revamping our SSL page. Check it out later and tell us what you think :)