Wildcard SSL provides myriad benefits for any big company or organization
The internet continues to evolve in new and exciting ways. Today, more than ever, people rely on the worldwide web for everything, whether it’s shopping, paying bills, seeking healthcare, handling their banking needs, or just for entertainment purposes. This has opened up an incredible range of new opportunities for companies and organizations.
In today’s world, your website is the backbone of your business. As the internet has grown, so too have the ways in which businesses use it. Nowadays not only is a company’s web presence a great way to reach new and existing customers, but it provides a way for its employees to conduct business, whether that’s sending email or accessing payroll information or even submitting their latest projects.
No matter what kind of business you may be, your website is vital to your success.
Unfortunately, with the evolution of the internet has come the evolution of hacking and cybercrime. As more and more information – much of it extremely sensitive – gets transmitted across the internet, the risk of it being intercepted and either stolen or manipulated grows.
Encrypting Communication with SSL
Fortunately, SSL or Secure Socket Layers, is a way for companies and organizations to encrypt and secure their communication. An SSL Certificate is a digital certificate that is issued by a trusted Certificate Authority. It is then installed on a web server and allows the website it’s been issued for to encrypt all communication between itself and its visitors.
SSL essentially does two things. First of all, it authenticates the certificate holder’s identity. The CAs are trusted by the browser community – the group of companies behind the most popular internet browsers, like Chrome, Firefox and Safari – when a company or organization applies for a certificate, depending on the level of validation they’ve chosen, the Certificate Authority will then confirm their identity and issue them the SSL Certificate. When a browser sees this, it trusts the CA that issued the certificate so it indicates to the person using the browser that you – having been vetted by the trusted CA – are who you say you are and can be trusted too.
The other part of what an SSL Certificate does is encrypts. When a browser comes to a site with an SSL Certificate, the browser and the server that hosts the website perform what is called “The SSL Handshake.” During this process – which takes just milliseconds – the browser checks the validity of the certificate, and then negotiates an encrypted connection. During this connection, the website and the browser exchange what are called “Session Keys.” These keys are only good for one visit, and allow each party to encrypt and decrypt all communication exchanged between them during that visit. This allows them to transmit sensitive data (like personal or financial information) without it being stolen by a third party. It is in this way that a business or organization can secure their online communication.
Now, many big companies or organizations have websites that feature sub-domains. These can be mail servers, FTP servers, login portals or serve any other range of functions.
Here’s a brief explanation. When you enter a web address or URL, there are several components to it. There is the Main Domain, usually the name of the site, for instance, Google or Yahoo. There is a Top-Level Domain, like “.com” or “.org,” and then there are Sub-Domains, which typically come before the Main Domain and are separated by a period.
Examples of Sub-Domains are:
Many companies and organizations make use of sub-domains as part of their websites so that beyond just being customer facing, the site can also allow their employees to conduct business as well. This is common practice.
It’s also more difficult to secure, unless you use what is called a Wildcard SSL Certificate.
Wildcards allow a company or organization to secure its main domain, plus an unlimited number of sub-domains, making them one of the most versatile product offerings in the SSL Industry.
When you purchase a wildcard SSL Certificate you’re asked to fill out a Certificate Signing Request or CSR. The CSR is essentially an application. In it you will provide the CA with all of your business details so that it can issue the certificate accurately.
When you are using a Wildcard, in the field where you would normally enter your domain name, you use an asterisk where the sub-domains would be. For example: *.exampledomain.com.
Once the certificate is issued and installed, it will secure all existing sub-domains—no matter how many. And if your company or organization ever adds more sub-domains during the lifespan of the Wildcard Certificate, simply re-issue it and install it again and the new sub-domains will be covered too. Wildcards are essentially future proof.
4 Major Reasons to Use a Wildcard
There’s a lot of great reasons that a big company or organization should consider a Wildcard SSL Certificate, here are four more:
- Security of Unlimited Sub-Domains – As we’ve already stated, Wildcards can secure an unlimited number of sub-domains—as many as your company or organization has. If you ever add more during the lifespan of the Wildcard, you don’t even need to reissue it – new subdomains are automaticaly covered too. It just doesn’t get any easier than that.
- Easy SSL Management – Normally, securing all of those sub-domains would be a huge headache. You would have to purchase an individual certificate for each one of them, then you would have to get those certificates issued, install them all individually, configure your server properly and worry about keeping track of all of their renewal dates. That’s a lot of different things to consider. Wildcards simplify everything. Rather than a whole host of certificates, you’re managing one. One purchase, one issuance, one installation. Done.
- Affordable Cost – As you could probably imagine, in the example we just described where you’re securing each sub-domain on a single certificate the cost of doing business would be quite high. You’re literally paying a premium on each and every sub-domain you want to secure. Don’t do that. A Wildcard costs one price, and whether you’re securing one sub-domain of 554 of them—the price never changes. Think about how much money that saves you!
- SEO Benefits from Google – Did you know that Google gives a search ranking boost to websites that are served with SSL? It’s true, the company announced that SSL would become a ranking signal back in 2014 and lately, as the browser community pushes for universal encryption, the strength of that signal has grown. Now you can get up to a 5% SEO boost just from having SSL. That’s low hanging fruit. Think about it, companies spend thousands of man-hours and millions of dollars each year on SEO strategies—many of which don’t even work. This is a guaranteed 5%. What are you waiting for?
Wildcard SSL Certificates are incredible products. They are a versatile security product that offers a whole host of benefits. They can secure an unlimited number of sub-domains, they’re future proof, they simplify SSL management, they’re affordable and they give your website an SEO boost.
If you’re a big company or organization with a website that makes use of sub-domains, can you afford not to take advantage of Wildcard SSL?