In the past we’ve discussed the dangers of SSL Certificate expiration, including damage to brand reputation and decreased sales for website owners, as well as the risk of man-in-the-middle attacks for website visitors. Fortunately, most Certificate Authorities offer certificate management solutions that can help website owners and system administrators avoid these dangers.
Certificate management solutions make it easy for website owners to manage multiple SSL certificates from one cloud-based portal. There are a number of benefits to using a management service for your SSL Certificates, including cost savings, immediate certificate issuance, and flexible business terms, but today I’m going to focus specifically on how they can help prevent certificate expiration.
1. Complete certificate inventory in one account
When you use a certificate management service, all certificate activity is performed in one main account. This makes it much easier to keep track of your entire certificate inventory and monitor expiration dates. Many services also offer some type of renewal snapshot, which provides a quick list of all your certificates that are approaching expiration, so you can easily renew them with the click of a button.
GlobalSign's Certificate Renewal Widget
What this means for you:
- Ability to view lists of all upcoming renewals
- No more relying on spreadsheets to keep track of your certificate inventory
2. Ability to synchronize expiration dates
Some CAs offer you the ability to synchronize your certificate validity periods so you can have all certificates up for renewal at the same time. This means you don’t need to worry about certificate expiration throughout the rest of the year. It can also be helpful for budgetary reasons since you would be able to expect the cost of all certificate renewals to recur at the same time every year.
What this means for you:
- Take care of all expirations at once, freeing you to focus on other things
- Manage budgetary expectations
3. Multiple account users can renew certificates
Management services generally allow for multiple users within each account, which takes the burden off of one individual. What happens if your normal “certificate guy” is on vacation and forgot to renew a certificate? No problem! You can have his or her backup go in and take care of it. User privileges (the ability to issue, renew, revoke certificates, etc.) can be assigned at the domain level, allowing account administrators granular control over which users can perform which types of activities for each domain.
What this means to you:
- Renewals are no longer dependent on only one person
- No need to share account login details so someone else can renew
Managing SSL Certificates individually not only increases the chance of certificate expiration, but can also be a cumbersome burden on your IT department. Using a certificate management service significantly reduces the effort, cost, and time spent on SSL.
Do you use a certificate management service? What are your favorite features? Let us know in the comments!