While many companies make online security a priority in their business, there are just as many companies who risk securing their website with self-signed SSL Certificates. Because self-signed SSL Certificates are free, this option tempts both novice and veteran companies alike. However, self-signed SSL certificates are risky because they lack validation from a third party. So while your company can save money, there are several consequences of self-signed SSL Certificates that businesses should be aware of.
As previously stated, self-signed SSL Certificates are not validated by a third-party (i.e., a trusted certificate authority (CA)). Therefore, because the company has provided self-validation, consumers have two options: to trust these certificates by trusting that a company is in fact who they say they are, or to conduct their business elsewhere for higher assurance security.
Third-party validation is not something a company can hide from. Upon visiting a self-signed website, browser warnings prompt users to abort browsing the page for security reasons.
Some inexperienced users might mindlessly ignore these warnings and click past them. Unfortunately, these warnings potentially set companies up for two losses:
Brand reputation: Your company was not willing to secure your site using a CA, therefore putting your company’s identity at risk and negatively effecting brand reputation.
Customer trust: Self-signed certificates are easy to mimic. An attacker could use this against a company to fool victims and steal their personal data, therefore putting your customers’ identities at risk.
Using a self-signed SSL Certificate can save money at the beginning, but the risks should urge companies to think twice. Here are a few precautions to consider:
A company should be educated on these risks in order to build consumer trust and avoid security breaches or attacks that could have been easily prevented.
Large organizations are a constant target for advanced attackers, making security a constant priority. Statistics show that of the 80% of U.S. consumers who shop online, 71% of them rely on online stores to protect their credentials. Thus, the responsibility ultimately falls on the organization to ensure the best security protection for their customers. By securing the privacy of your customers, you will secure the life of your business.