04 May Types of SSL/TLS Authentication Levels
A brief overview of the different authentication levels of SSL Certificates
For SSL/TLS certificates, there are three different levels of authentication. These different levels are:
- Domain Validation (DV)
- Organization Validation (OV)
- Extended Validation (EV)
Domain Validation (DV)
DV certificates are the most basic type of SSL/TLS certificate. They offer straightforward, bare-bone encryption with minimal authentication. In order to receive a DV certificate, all you have to do is prove ownership over the registered domain.
The upside of this is that it allows blogs, personal sites and other non- business sites the opportunity to encrypt—and as the internet evolves, every website should have encryption.
The downside is that anyone with a domain – including cyber-criminals – can get one. Basic indicators of SSL like HTTPS and the padlock icon assure that your communication on a site is encrypted, but there’s no way to tell exactly who’s on the other side.
Organization Validation (OV)
OV certificates offer a higher level of authentication, which helps website visitors know who’s on the other side of a secure connection.
It’s important to note that the encryption across all three types of certificates – DV, OV and EV – is exactly the same. But OV and EV offer greater levels of authentication. In order to get an OV cert, you will need to prove your organization is legitimate. This is a pretty simple process as long as your business is registered and all of your documentation is up-to-date.
The upside of OV is that these certificates come with a clickable site seal. When a website visitor clicks on this seal, they’ll be able to see your organization details and be assured of who is on the other end of the connection.
Extended Validation (EV)
EV certificates offer the greatest level of authentication and are the only SSL/TLS certificates that display the registered company name within a green address bar next to the URL within browsers. This is the most recognized symbol of trust reputability on the internet and can actually increase conversions on a site.
In order to get an EV certificate, you have to undergo a more extensive vetting from the Certificate Authority issuing you the cert. However, like OV certificates, if you have a registered business and your documentation is up-to-date, you can get an EV certificate in an average of 3-5 business days.
As mentioned, EV certs unlock the green address bar in all browsers, which will display your registered company name within. It’s impossible to fake a green address bar, so visitors to a site will have absolute assurance that a website is operated by a legitimate entity that has been thoroughly vetted by a third-party security company.
Premium EV options from Symantec, the world’s largest and most trusted CA, also come packaged with other security solutions. They can also pay for themselves, as research shows that websites with EV certificates can achieve a true ROI by increasing conversions. EV certificates are the only SSL solution that can be viewed at as an investment rather than a cost.