What is an SSL Certificate Outage Error? A Complete Guide
What is an SSL Certificate Outage Error?
The cryptographic protocols that are designed to provide a secure and safe communication channel between the clients and servers throughout the internet are called Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS). SSL is the older version of the encryption protocol whereas the newer version is TLS. The SSL/TLS certificate not just provides authentication to the website instead it also helps to establish remote server identity through which the client browser communicates. When a web browser is not able to verify the installed certificate then an SSL certificate error will occur.
The browser will display an error message showing a warning that your site may be insecure instead of connecting to a requestor. This warning may occur when your SSL certificate is expired. According to industry standards, the lifespan of SSL certificates is not more than 398 days. Every website has to renew or replace the SSL certificate at least one time after every two years.
Three Levels of Validation offer by SSL/TLS Certificates
- Domain Validation (DV): The verification is done by CA (certificate authority) to check whether the applicant has rights to the particular domain name or not. This is usually done through email verification. The domain validation (DV) certificate can be issued within minutes.
- Organization Validation (OV): The Certificate Authority (CA) also helps to investigate the additional information of the applicant’s organization on the basic level apart from verifying the rights of the applicant to the specific domain name. For increasing the trust of users on the website, this information is mentioned on the SSL certificate.
- Extended Validation (EV): The verification of business ownership is done by the CA along with accepting accurate documents. The investigation is done by the company and verified information is displayed on the certificate. In the URL or address bar of the browser, a secure padlock will be displayed. This will help the user to build their confidence and gives extra assurance on the website which is safe to visit.
What Happens when you have an Expired SSL Certificate?
The downtime of the webserver is costly. As per Information Technology Intelligence Consulting’s hourly cost of downtime in the 11th annual survey for more than 98% of big enterprises along with over 1000 employees on average is over $100,000 for one hour per year costs of the company. This means the per-minute cost of downtime is $1,667 for a single server which is growing to $16,670 per minute when 10 servers and critical business applications or data assets are affecting by the downtime. Multiple process interruptions can happen due to expired and unidentified SSL certificates. This may range from a simple or message display on a screen too bad termination of service because of a protocol error. Some other causes of SSL cert outages include:
- The certificate cannot be trusted which means Certificate Authority (CA) did not digitally sign the certificate. The certificates that come from the trusted organization can be trusted by the browsers and the website will not be considered untrusted. To establish that the valid root of CA issues the website’s certificate, a solution of an intermediate certificate is needed.
- The server that host the site was not properly completed the certificate installation.
- A mismatch of name error occurs for the URL in question. For example – the certificate might consist of a domain name i.e., https://www.example.com whereas a part of the SSL certificate might not be registered in a different way like https://example.com. Multiple subdomains names need to be secure in an SSL certificate as well as the root domain name.
- A dedicated IP address lack on the site.
- When a website owner trying to install the certificate as a user on the webserver or CDN then invalid SSL certificate or intermediate certificate errors could occur but the correct relevant details are not provided by this.
An SSL certificate without a web server is vulnerable to being hacked and visitors and customers are exposed at a higher risk of having their data stolen.
What Happens Without SSL?
The website and data collected by the SSL certificate without encryption are open to a data breach or cyber threat.
- The websites that are not secure crackdown by the search engines and block users’ access via address bar and decrease the SEO ranking of the webpage in Google and other search engines.
- The issuer alerts of the unsafe sites shown by Google Chrome, Firefox, and other browsers. The web pages are encrypted by the SSL instead of transactions take place or not on the content server. The web page that is not secured by the HTTPS will automatically receive a ‘Not secure’ warning of the browser interface.
- An error message occurs on the user’s web page ERR_SSL_PROTOCOL_ERROR. The confidence erodes by the influx of error messages from visitors and customers.
Impact of Manual Certificate Management
The expired SSL/TLS certificate failure of renewal or replacement leads to any communication that the machine will cease to work. The continuity of business needs to know every certificate installed, who is controlling the machine access, and the expiration time of the certificate. The organizations use the distributed certificate creation and management teams like web hosting providers to quickly find the hundreds of thousands of certificates dealing to manage everything easily. A human error and unidentified SSL certificate errors stage occurs due to a lack of centralized ownership, automation, and organizational visibility.
Enterprises can be at risk of certs expiring even after getting email notifications for expiring certificates because of the gaps present in the ownership of certificate renewal and management that are caused by human error, vacation, or staff turnaround. For preventing SSL certificate outages, a proactive commitment to monitoring and management is a critical step.