If you are running an online business or you have a website, you need to secure your data and network. When you create a secure digital environment, it builds trust among potential customers. If they don’t feel secure and confident, they might not use your service or make transactions with your organization.
SSL certificates help you to establish a secure connection and build trust among users. You need to ensure that your website is safe to visit and secure your connection with essential encryption. Today, businesses use a PKI solution to mitigate security risks. Here you will learn about SSL certificate, its function, and how it establishes a secure connection.
What is SSL?
Before we know about SSL Certificate, let’s explore what SSL is. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layers is a standard security protocol that secures communication. Typically it establishes a secure connection between a client and a server. For example, it encrypts the data transfer between a website and a browser or a mail server with a mail client.
SSL certificate secures critical information transmission such as login credentials, credit card details, social security numbers, etc. If a hacker can access the data that transfers between a server and client, they can misuse it. To be more precise, SSL describes how to use hash and algorithms for secure transmission.
Every browser can interact with secure web servers with a valid SSL certificate. Due to the SSL certificate, millions of users are able to secure online transactions and share confidential information over the internet. A website with SSL encryption has a lock-symbol before the URL and generally have a green bar in the address bar. Websites with https version are secured with an SSL certificate.
What is an SSL Certificate?
SSL certificates offer public and private keys. Both of these keys are required to establish a secure connection. You need to create a CSR which also known as Certificate Signing Request, to get an SSL certificate. When you request it, a public key and a private key are generated. The Certificate Authority (CA) contains the public key and creates a private key data structure. You need to enter the private key for accessing the data from the server.
Once you get the SSL certificate, you need to install it on your server. You also need to install an intermediate certificate that will connect with the root certificate. The process of installing the certificates may differ from server to server.
A trusted CA must digitally sign on your SSL certificate. Creating an SSL certificate is not difficult, but trusted CAs must sign it. A trusted CA is one that complies with the security standards set by the browsers.
When a trusted CA verifies an organization or a website, browsers trust the website/ organization. So, the browser confirms to the user that the website is secure. As a result, users feel confident and safe to browse the website.
How Does SSL Certificate Create Secure Connection?
SSL handshake is a process by which a browser connects to a website. The websites need to have an SSL certificate, and the browser needs to recognize it. However, the SSL handshake process is invisible to the user.
Three keys are essential for a secure connection: (1) public key, (2) private key, and (3) session key. The public key and private key need to work together to establish a secure connection.
Once the public key and private key establish a secure connection, a session key is generated. For further connection, the session key is used because the private key and public key require high processing power.
The Bottom Line
Hopefully, you have got a brief idea of the SSL certificate and how it establishes a secure connection. However, you shouldn’t get confused with SSL and TLS. Both of them have the same function; the only difference is TLS is an up-gradation of the SSL. Apart from this, you need to follow some security practices to secure your data and network. If you have any queries regarding SSL and TLS, you can ask in the comment section.