Can OpenSSL Secure a Business Website?

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Over the last few years, many businesses have seen a dramatic increase in their use of remote connectivity to corporate systems and data. Staff now work from home, road warriors need connectivity from where they happen to be, and customers want access to systems, perhaps to place and enquire about orders.   Marketing uses websites and Social Media as a means of driving sales and increasing awareness of their goods and services.

The upshot is that businesses have increased the use of websites in their business strategies, either as information portals or as online e-commerce sites.

The increased use of remote access to corporate applications and data has meant a corresponding increase in the use of cyber security services to manage the increased risk.

Remote Access Risks


Going through all the potential remote access risks that cyber security services must counter is way beyond the scope of this short document, but at a high level they include:

  1. Unauthorised Access

    It is essential that only known users with pre-set credentials are allowed to access systems and data. The entry point for remote users must be outside the corporate firewall to provide an additional layer of protection. That allows guest access, essentially a pass-through for Internet access only, where users remain outside the institutional firewall.

    The credentials can be a user-id/password combination, perhaps supplemented by device MAC addresses for tighter security.

  2. Malware infection

    Malware is an ever-present threat. Remote access is not the only, and often not the main way of introducing malware to the network infrastructure. The entry point for remote users must be outside the corporate firewall, and all incoming data pass through the corporate anti-malware shield.

    All incoming data must be scanned for malware, and for tighter security, also the external remote device.

    Finally, downloads of corporate data, and uploading it to cloud-based storage silos must be very strictly controlled.

  3. Theft of data and confidential information, especially financial information

    The FBI has stated recently that data theft, ID theft and theft of financial data are the fastest-growing hacker activities. Ransomware in particular has shown spectacular growth.   This reinforces the need to have comprehensive cyber security services in place to prevent malware and hacker attacks.

    Organisations running an e-commerce facility and storing customer financial data are particular hacking targets and need to have the highest levels of data security and access control.

  4. Network disruptions

    Network disruptions can happen for a variety of reasons. An individual hacker can try to disrupt service just for fun, or a hacking attack to deny service can be for deeper reasons. Recently, defacing and hijacking websites for political purposes has increased in frequency.

Cyber Security Services

Cyber Security Services

As can be seen, establishing a secure connection between a server and its clients is a vital part of ensuring online security.  This is where cyber security services come in,  managing enabling access and the subsequent access to the corporate network.

The basic way is to create an encrypted secure connection between the user and the host. In essence, create a private secure tunnel between the two.

A connection process sets it all up. The end-user device contacts the host server and asks for a secure connection. The two exchange information according to the protocol to be used, and when the dialogue is successfully completed the connection is established and user access is enabled. The exchange can include a challenge/response activity where user credentials, including a password, are exchanged.

In some implementations, a registration and logon process is needed for guest access to pass through to the Internet. Corporate users will use their corporate credentials to sign on and use systems and data.

The host server can be configured to accept connection requests from any device that successfully completes the connection process or can limit connection to only known devices.

What is OpenSSL?


One security protocol that is used widely in cyber security is OpenSSL.

OpenSSL can be used to secure a business website by providing secure internet communication through SSL/TLS protocols. OpenSSL is an open-source implementation of the SSL/TLS protocols that provides encryption, decryption, and digital certificate management capabilities.

SSL/TLS protocols are used to establish secure communication between the web server and the user’s web browser. The SSL/TLS protocols use digital certificates to authenticate the web server’s identity and establish a secure communication channel by encrypting the data exchanged between the web server and the user’s web browser.

The server and client exchange security keys that are valid for the current session only. Some implementations change the key pairs after a pre-defined interval to thwart penetration attempts.

Why Use OpenSSL?

Why Use OpenSSL

Using OpenSSL to implement SSL/TLS protocols, means a business website can provide secure communication to its users, protecting sensitive data such as login credentials, credit card information, and other personal data. This can help build trust with customers and protect the business from security breaches that can result in financial losses, reputational damage, and legal liabilities.

SSL is a well-established protocol, widely used around the world, and is built-in to many browsers implementations, secure connection applications.

Any Risks or Caveats with OpenSSL?


It is important to note that while OpenSSL is a powerful tool for securing business websites, it should be used in conjunction with other security measures, such as firewalls, antivirus software, and intrusion detection systems, to provide a comprehensive cyber security solution for the business website.

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