Introducing SSL Certificate Monitoring Service: Automated Alerts for SSL Installation & Configuration - Webnames Blog

Introducing SSL Certificate Monitoring Service: Automated Alerts for SSL Installation & Configuration

HTTPS monitoring and alerts

The latest addition to our growing suite of SSL Management enhancements is SSL Monitoring. Our SSL monitoring service helps small businesses and large IT teams alike to validate SSL installation and ensure that everything is working as intended, through automated testing.

Codes, ciphers, and encryption of communications are almost as old as human society itself. The growth of the internet and exponentially increasing computing power of devices tasked with breaking down encryption have meant that encryption is a key pillar of data privacy online. At the most basic level, SSL Certificates encrypt all information that is exchanged between two entities over the internet by using a public and a private key, so that only the intended recipient can decrypt and access the information.

We at Webnames have stressed the importance of installing an SSL certificate and making HTTPS mandatory for all visitors to websites for several years now. However SSL is a separate product, that works in conjunction with a domain name and your web hosting or server. This complicates the installation, verification and monitoring of the SSL certificate, a problem solved using this service. Use monitoring in conjunction with Advanced SSL Management tools to streamline and risk-proof your IT infrastructure.

What does an SSL Certificate Monitoring service do?

Whether you manage a few SSL certificates for small business websites or a portfolio of hundreds of SSLs across internal and external servers, across the cloud for a corporation, SSL certificate lifecycles are a key part of your critical IT infrastructure. As the below graphic outlines, ensuring uninterrupted HTTPS security for all your properties requires execution of several steps from certificate issuance, validation, installation, renewal and more.

The SSL Monitoring service helps simplify SSL certificate management, and when used in tandem with SSL Admin tools can help IT Teams streamline the complete SSL lifecycle across issuance, verification of installation, cloning, installation and continuous monitoring.

Is there any use for SSL Monitoring after certificate installation or renewal?

While SSL monitoring is very useful during the SSL installation process, it can be equally valuable for ongoing monitoring of websites to ensure that they serve data only over HTTPS connections. For websites that deal with customers’ personal data or financial information, it is critical that all data exchanged between the customer and your servers are always encrypted.

Monitoring can help IT teams monitor the health of SSL certificates installed across multiple servers across hostnames and ensure that the serial numbers match against the certificate on record. This gives IT systems administrators and cybersecurity staff peace of mind.

What parameters does this service track?

The Webnames SSL Monitoring service keeps tabs on a number of parameters such as the Hosts on which an SSL certificate is installed, installation status, ability of a server to establish an HTTPS connection, serial number matching of SSL found on a server against the one on file and the expiry date of the certificate.

The following is a list of monitored parameters indicated by the this service:

  • Presence of SSL
  • Expiry date of SSL with warnings for expired or upcoming expiry of SSL
  • Host matching of SSL with records
  • Server uptime with error alerts for inaccessible server
  • Serial number matching for the SSL

Using these parameters, the SSL monitoring service provides a quick and easy dashboard for the status of SSL installation, which can be invaluable to IT teams.

What are the applications of this service for website owners?

SSL installation verification: As noted earlier, installing an SSL and ensuring that the certificate is correctly configured, by matching the SSL serial number, hostname, expiry date and type of certificate all match, can be completed dramatically faster with monitoring. If you are part of an IT team that manages hundreds of certificates, this can boost your productivity. Similarly for smaller businesses, this can be a simple and efficient way to ensure that everything is set up just right, if you do not want to get into the technical aspects of SSL configuration.

Secure channel access: The most important application of SSL monitoring is to ensure that a server can establish a secure connection for inbound and outbound traffic. Monitoring can ensure that customer trust in the brand can be maintained by alerting your team if any issues with HTTPS access to the website are found. For website owners, IT system administrators, and cybersecurity professionals, the validation of the SSL certificate and the status of installation is vital to ensuring system integrity for critical data.

Certificate expiry: SSL monitoring can alert IT teams and website owners about imminent expiry and flag expired certificates. Many corporations use a mix of SSL certificates across different brands, validation types and renewal cycles. Many free SSL options require renewal every 90 days and even though they can be automated, the ability to monitor certificate expiration and ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks is vital to data security and brand reputation.

Website uptime: In addition to keeping tabs on the status of the website(s) to establish connections over HTTPS, SSL monitoring can act as ongoing monitoring for website uptime itself. Of course, larger organization may use high frequency website uptime monitors such as Pingdom, but for smaller organizations the 3 daily scans by the Webnames SSL monitor can double up as website uptime alerting as well.

I am a small business with just one website, do I need SSL Monitoring?

If you prefer to self-manage your small business website, our SSL monitoring service can help validate installation and alert you if any issues are detected. As a small business, availability of IT resources or even just the time to monitor and ensure that your SSLs are correctly configured may be a challenge and this product can help fill that gap. You can always contact Webnames support for assistance with installing your SSL certificate or for any questions, but automated SSL Monitoring can give you the assurance that everything is in working order.

Getting Started with SSL Monitoring

The SSL Monitoring services work only with SSL/TLS certificates purchased through Webnames or Webnames Corporate. They can be used across Domain Validated (DV), Organization Validated (OV) and Extended Validated (EV) certificates alike and work well across cloned certificates for multi-server installations as well. For SSL certificates that support SANs for use across several domain names or sub-domains, SSL monitoring can be invaluable, as it helps track installation status across all host names involved.

SSL Monitoring works with all SSL certificates that are purchased through your Webnames account including support for SANs and cloned multi-server installations.

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