Do I Really Need to Check Site Certificates?
Voice of the Client: How frustrating to be asked what practically equates to a rhetorical question. Your internet browser says that there is a problem with the site’s security certificate. “Do you want to proceed?” it asks. My choices are YES, NO, and Check Certificate. Of course I want to proceed because the alternative is that I my work is detoured. I don’t feel qualified to check the certificate, so the question is, do these alerts represent a legitimate pause for concern or just a nuisance click to proceed?
Time Waster: Your internet browser checks the validity of the security certificate every time an internet site is launched. Occasionally, it comes across a certificate that is out of date and prompts for a sign off. For the average business user interacting with reputable sites, this alert regarding security certificates is simply a precaution. It takes just a second to click yes and chances are the website will have updated their certificate by the next time you try to access it. When accessing a site for the first time or if the site has questionable integrity, it is better to click NO and find a workaround until you can verify the security of the link.
The Solution: Better safe than sorry is a good policy especially if your Virus Detection software is out of date. Fielding internet related alerts and other system messages about security are standard skills for IT technicians. If you or the company for whom you work doesn’t have internal technology support, here are a few ways you can safely conduct business on the web.
- Schedule a check in with a certified IT Technician to make sure there is adequate security on your device and that your data is regularly backed up.
- Participate in a remote access support membership with a certified IT Technician so you can have them view and validate your choices.
- Avoid sites for which the certificate is out of date or delay accessing the site to allow time (usually within 24 hours) for the certificate to update.
Impact: It is not a problem until valuable data is lost or compromised. What used to be the occasional horror story of losing business information when a hard drive crashed has now grown exponentially with online threats. Make adequate systems support a business priority to eliminate risk and improve the efficiency of the business.
To make sure your business and supporting technology are secured and functioning to the greatest capacity, work with a certified and reliable IT Support Professional.
Jim Carlucci is CompTIA A+ certified. Count on Jim for:
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