What to Know About an SSL Certificate for Your Mail Server – SectigoStore

ssl certificates not only protect your website, but you can also use them to protect your mail server

When people hear the term ssl certificate, they assume it is related to website security. well, they are not wrong. but what if we told you that an ssl certificate is also useful for your mail server? many do not know that ssl/tls certificates protect mail servers.

A mail server certificate, also called an email server certificate, encrypts email communications in the same way that ssl certificates protect data transmission through a website.

but why is this additional security step necessary? let’s cover just a few of the main reasons why you should use an ssl certificate for your mail server:

what is ssl in mail?

what is ssl for email? secure socket layer (ssl) is a technology to secure communication between a client and server. an ssl for email ensures that email is not intercepted during transit and that no one except the intended recipient can access it. an email ssl certificate can also authenticate the identity of the sender. The SSL certificate on your email account has two purposes: to authenticate the identity of the sender and to maintain the integrity of the email. email certificates are also known as s/mime or email encryption certificates.

email security is a must these days

Although many organizations have moved to messaging applications for internal communications, they still rely on email for important communications, whether inside or outside the organization. In other words, information of a sensitive nature is transmitted through emails. And that’s where cybercriminals come in.

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In many cases of security breaches, we’ve seen email act as your point of entry. According to a survey conducted by Barracuda, it was found that the majority (74%) of businesses say email-borne cyberattacks have a significant impact, and 78% said the cost of email breaches is increasing. Surely that’s reason enough to take your email security seriously, isn’t it?

s/mime is not enough on its own

now you might say, “but we already use s/mime certificates (also known as email signing certificates) to encrypt emails, so we’re safe.” well not so much. it’s great that you’re using s/mime. but trusting only s/mime can be a problem because s/mime certificates are not installed on a web server; are issued to an individual account. therefore, they can be useful for encrypting an email and sending it to the intended recipient. however, they are not useful if you want to encrypt all communication going through the email server.

why you need an ssl/tls certificate for your mail server

Do you know what would happen if you don’t have an ssl/tls certificate on your email server? well, without ssl/tls, there is no way to check if the email server you are trying to communicate with is the intended server or not. this could lead an attacker to spoof a web server and extract communications in the process. now, this is pretty dangerous territory.

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but wait, there’s more.

If you have not encrypted your mail server, emails passing through your server are in plain text format and attackers could easily execute a man-in-the-middle (mitm) attack and view or manipulate your data. this is a huge problem and can lead to data leaks and a litany of other security issues.

Not to mention that the ssl certificate for your mail server helps you build not only encryption, but also identity checks into your protocol. When you use SSL, you can securely log in to your mail server and avoid sending your login credentials over the internet in plain text.

webmail certificate

You can protect the integrity and confidentiality of your emails with a webmail certificate. The following steps will help you protect your webmail:

  • go to “websites and domains”
  • select “ssl/tls certificates”
  • select the certificate you want to use
  • click in “secure webmail”

the limitation of ssl/tls in email security

As we have already seen, ssl/tls encrypts emails when they are in transit. well, what happens when they are not transmitting and are idle? the thing is that ssl certificates do not encrypt emails that are on web servers. So, that leaves a huge security hole in your system. That is why it is important to incorporate defense mechanisms for both data in transit and data at rest.

Now you must be thinking that email security is more complicated than you think. well, it’s not. As a general rule, you should protect your emails on two fronts: when they’re in transit and when they’re at rest. In other words, you need to encrypt emails and you also need to encrypt your email communication channels.

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To do this, you need two things: an ssl certificate and an s/mime certificate. an ssl/tls certificate will protect your email communications and an s/mime certificate will ensure that all emails remain in an encrypted format. simple, right?

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