Data security is a serious issue for website owners. And with the rise of cybercrime posing a threat to online businesses, it is important to take the correct measures to protect sensitive business data.

This is particularly the case for online businesses that receive online payments. Although even personal data such as email addresses should be protected. If you fail to protect the personal data of your customers, the repercussions will be very damaging for your business.

So what measures can you take to protect sensitive data?

Anti-virus and anti-malware technology is a good start. But search engine administrators have also created various SSL certificates that provide an extra layer of security.

What are SSL certificates?

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates are encrypted data files that bind an organisation’s details in a cryptic lock. The SSL certificates contain a public key which is shared with end-users to enable HTTPS and access a website.

Only the website owner and the end-user has access to the public key. Anyone trying to intercept data being passed between a website and the computer of the end-user will find a scrambled message which is unreadable.

In essence, SSL certificates provide websites with an extra layer of security that is designed to protect end-users. However, there are various types of SSL Certificates and not all of them provide the level of security businesses need to prevent consumer data being compromised.

What are the different types of SSL Certificate?

Domain Validation (DV)

Domain validation is the most basic type of SSL Certificate. It enables a website owner to validate a domain name and can be obtained within a matter of minutes. Security measures for this type of SSL Certificate are minimal and only suitable for blogs or hobby websites.

Organisation Validation (OV)

The Organisation Validation is the minimum recommendation for business websites that invite customers to purchase products online. The certificate is obtained by means of a Certificate Authority.

This SSL certificate is recommended for small businesses that use a payment portal such as PayPal. Organisation Validation certificates only offer limited protection, but because payment gateways have their own SSL certificates, OV certificates are okay to use if only to instil trust in end-users.

Extended Validation (EV)

Extended validation is the highest-class of SSL certificate and should be used where transactions are being exchanged. EV certificates requires website owners to go through an extensive verification process to prove they have exclusive rights to a domain and confirm it is a legal business.

Other SSL Certificates

The SSL certificates mentioned above are the three classes of certificates that provide protection. But SSL certificates also come in various single and multi-domain packages.

Single domain SSL certificates only protect one website. There is also a wildcard SSL certificate that secure unlimited sub-domains for single domain servers.

Businesses that have more than one domain or subdomain will need a multi-domain SSL certificate that can protect up to 100 domains. Corporations will probably need a Unified Communications Certificate which will secure office communications environments including sensitive business data that is being passed via email.