25 Apr, 2022

Tips on How to Deal with SSL Certificate Management Issues

Read on as we examine what an SSL certificate is, how it secures your site, and how you can ensure your site never goes without one.
Maintaining a website isn't easy. However, there are some regular maintenance aspects you'll need to keep up with to ensure the flow of traffic. Sometimes, in the name of increased website security, you'll find your visitors blocked from visiting your website for one reason or another. One reason some websites are blocked is due to their lapsed SSL certificate.

A site without an SSL certificate represents a significant website security vulnerability. This is why you may not be able to access it. The owners and operators of websites need to take special care to ensure their certificates do not run out so visitors can continue to access their sites.

In this post, we'll examine what an SSL certificate is, how it secures your site, and how you can ensure your site never goes without one.
What is an SSL Certificate?
Ever wondered why some (and these days, most) websites have HTTPS included in their address as opposed to HTTP? There's an explanation for it, and it has to do with a website's level of security.

A socket secure layer (SSL) certificate encrypts HTTP requests forwarded by a browser to a website when a person visits. One important way to ensure website security is the HTTP protocol over SSL, called HTTPS.

Simply put, that means a site with HTTPS in front of the web address is more secure than one without it. Here's how the SSL certificate helps keep your site safe from malicious actors.
How an SSL Certificate Helps Bolster Your Website Security
When a website has a submission form, some browsers block the form until the completion of access via HTTPS. Think of registrations, subscriptions, or even payment forms on eCommerce sites as examples. These types of sensitive transactions require an extra level of security. The issue then becomes how websites can verify the fact that they do have SSL.

To confirm this, websites will need to add a layer of protection to their website so that visitors can feel safe knowing their information is safe. These protections are known as SSL certificates.

There are dedicated organizations that issue SSL certificates. These are known as SSL providers, and they have varying warranty levels depending on the need. They will issue the certificate for a set period of time, preventing a lapse in coverage. This will enable visitors to access the site without a problem, keeping the flow of traffic open to new and existing visitors and customers.
How SSL Certificates Can Pose a Challenge for Accessing Websites
An SSL certificate should be managed separately from a website's other certificates, with periodic updates. These updates prevent any gaps in coverage from your certificate.

The fact that you need to undergo updates for your SSL certificate can be tricky when it comes to managing your site. It's an added layer of complexity that you need to remain cognizant of. If not, you run several risks that can damage both your site and your business. A lapse in your certificate could lead to visitors losing access to your site.

While it may be manageable if you have one site, imagine managing this process or five or more. The work involved can be cumbersome, making it more likely that you commit an error leading to a lapse in coverage.

Beyond being overwhelmed by SSL management, you definitely do not want to face the consequences of having your SSL certificate fall out of date. When you don't update your SSL certificate, you run the risk of being blocked by browsers programmed to look for expired SSL certificates.

This can have a negative impact on your business, as it blocks new and existing segments of your audience from accessing your site. New potential customers looking for your product or service won't be able to understand what you have to offer. Returning customers may grow confused as the site they were previously able to access is now out of commission.

For any company with a digital presence, maintaining a healthy and active website with an uninterrupted flow of web traffic is critical. An SSL certificate lapse disrupts this delicate balance, and it's a situation you should look to avoid at all costs.

So how do you prevent this from happening?
How to Maintain Your SSL Certificate
You can maintain continuous SSL certification in one of two ways: in-house or by a trusted IT service provider.

If you update your SSL certificate in-house, you'll need to set reminders. You'll also have to be aware of the process for doing so or have someone on your team with IT capabilities.
The problem with this approach is that it adds yet another headache to your team's already full schedule.

With an IT service provider, you'd ideally gain access to a tool that can handle SSL management for you. This would eliminate the stress of maintaining awareness of when your SSL certificate is about to expire. With automated renewal, you empower the tool to keep your website protected.

This allows for peace of mind that is much harder to come by when you're manually updating your certificate. The challenge of handling this on your own compounds when you factor in multiple websites. The key is to identify an IT service provider with the specific set of solutions you need for your organization.

Enter Quttera's ThreatSign platform.
How ThreatSign Can Help You Navigate Your SSL Certificate
ThreatSign tool helps you scan your website for issues, detect threats, protect your website, and fix any problems that have arisen. Along with bolstering your site's security, ThreatSign! has another powerful capability: it has SSL management built-in.

Quttera DNS Web Application Firewall (WAF) gives you a free, automatically renewed SSL certificate. All customers of ThreatSign, our malware protection platform, can access these services.

ThreatSign DNS WAF doesn't just keep you protected from a variety of complex and dangerous cyber threats. It also allows you to maintain your SSL certificate without allowing it to lapse.

Interested in learning more about how we can help? Sign up for the ThreatSign - Website Protection Platform today.