What is the Best SSL Certificate for Small Businesses?

    By John Philips | Small Business

    With technology quickly advancing, so has the risk of online security. Especially if you are an e-commerce start-up, your customers want to know they are shopping on a secure server and won’t have their security compromised. Here, John Philips of CheapSSLs us through the requirements and options around obtaining an SSL certificate.

    What is the Best SSL Certificate for Small Businesses? image SSL Certificates2What is the Best SSL Certificate for Small Businesses?

    An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is a small data file that digitally binds a cryptographic key to an organisation’s details.  When this file is installed on a web browser it activates the ‘padlock’ and https protocol to allow secure connections from a web server to a browser.  Due to this secure connection SSL is often utilised securely transfer sensitive information such as credit card transactions, the browsing of social media websites and data transfer/log-ins.

    When a small business is making the decision to purchase an SSL certificate there are several factors that should be taken into consideration, the most important of which being the individual needs of the organisation’s situation.  For example, if a business is going to be generating an excessive volume of traffic and a high amount of online transactions then an SSL certificate product that merges security with business validation and encryption would be ideal.  The GeoTrust True BusinessID with EV is highly-commendable for a website with heavy traffic as it converts the address bar into a gauge that reflects the greatest legitimacy of a website.  Furthermore, the users’ data undergoes a 256-bit encryption and the certificate comes with a GeoTrust site seal that incorporates the organisations’ name and time stamp so that visitors can verify their credentials.

     If a business’ website is generating a moderate volume of traffic and transactions daily then the requirements will be based around adequate encryption and domain validation.  In this instance GeoTrustQuickSSL Premium would be an appropriate choice as it offers confirmation relating to the ownership of the website and makes online transactions secure.  Moreover, it takes very little time to issue and is a relatively cheap SSL certificate, whilst also being ideal for small businesses due to the fact that it provides strong, encrypted security for the transition of data.

    If the business looking to purchase an SSL certificate generates a low volume of traffic then an entry-level certificate would be appropriate, as at this point its main function will be to generate credibility to the firm and its website.  A potential candidate for this requirement is the Thawte SSL 123 as it delivers a confirmation of the site’s ownership whilst offering protection to the site.  There is no paperwork involved in the process of incorporating this SSL certificate and it can be bought with several years’ validity. 

    However, although the aforementioned SSL certificates are recommended for the various criteria that are looking to be filled, there are various alternatives for small businesses looking to purchase.  VeriSign authentication business is thought of by many as the most trust worthy and is often used by the largest players on the internet transaction scene.  This could be mainly due to the Norton Secured brand name as well as the 256-bit encryption.  However, the most prestigious package offered by this provider costs in excess of £1,000 which is a barrier to entry for some smaller businesses, although it is arguably worth it due to its extended validation and £1.2 million warranty.

    A further alternative is offered by Comodo, an organisation who offers SSL certificates for home-offices to large multi-national companies.  This firm also offer 256-bit encryption and is deemed trustworthy by the majority of browsers, further offering £200,000 warranty.  Starting as cheap as £60.00 for their most basic SSL certificate, it is also worth noting that Comodo were once involved in an incident of hacking whereupon forged Comodo certificates were used by fraudulent groups.

    DigiCert are often held in high-regard by organisations such as Microsoft and Facebook, which lends them a certain degree of credibility.  The DigiCert SSL certificate range offers 2048-bit certificates at the competitive prices which makes them accessible to smaller businesses, their cheapest package costing less than £120.00 per annum.

    GoDaddy is regarded as the largest domain registration company, but offer SSL certificates for as cheap as £60.00 per annum.  Their Deluxe package is a little more expensive at around £80.00 per annum, but both packages can be appealing to a small business as they come with 24 hour support, seven days a week.

    The final SSL certificate provider worth mentioning in relation to small businesses is Network Solution, as they claim to supply the cheapest package, both for single and multi-year terms.  For example, the Protect Secure Express package costs a meagre £40.00 for four years (GoDaddy costs £120.00; Thwarte costs £115.00; GeoTrust costs £110.00).  Moreover, Network Solutions offer 99% recognition by browsers and almost 24 hour support, and are also recognised internationally as a trustworthy brand.

    To conclude, a small business has various options when it comes to purchasing an SSL certificate.  Factors such as price, reliability, trustworthiness and available support should all be considered, but eventually the decision should be made in consideration of the organisation’s individual needs and the amount of time for which the certificate will be used for.

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