This article was published in the Fall 2019 issue
of Silicon Slopes Magazine
by John Merrill, CEO of DigiCert
We’ve all been to websites and seen the padlock icon next to the URL indicating security, but have you ever wondered what was behind the padlock? How does it get there? What security is provided? And which companies are behind it?
Lehi-based DigiCert is the world’s leading provider of such services, making sure that when you browse online the data you send is encrypted and the website you are on is authentic, not a fraudulent look-alike. When you enter a credit card payment or login, SSL certificates (as they are commonly known) are protecting that data as it traverses the web from your mobile device or computer back to the company that owns the site. We also protect email and other work applications.
The services we offer provide the security backbone of the Internet. Recently, some investors in our company told me, “You’re the company providing such vital security for so many aspects of our digital lives that few people have heard of.” For the average consumer, who is not an information security professional, that is mostly true. In many ways, that is okay with us. It means the security is working without you having to think much about it.
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol, which has since given way to the more modern Transport Layer Security (TLS), began in 1994, as the Internet was coming into prominence. To grow and gain trust, e-commerce and financial transactions needed a security layer to encrypt data. Netscape worked together with Verisign and Microsoft to develop the first SSL certificates, and secure online transactions were born. Fast forward to today, and the technology and its use has grown tremendously. At the forefront of this trend, DigiCert is protecting the world’s most important data from our base right here in Silicon Slopes.
Encrypting data is only half the battle. Being assured the website you are sending data to is really operated by the company you think it is ends up being just as (or more) important. After all, sending your data to imposters only means that they can decrypt it on the other end and cause significant harm to your finances, associates, and reputation. DigiCert and companies like us, known as certificate authorities, follow stringent rules to verify the identity of each company applying for one of our certificates. That helps protect you. Our customers include nearly 9 in 10 of the Fortune 500, 97 of the world’s top 100 banks, and the world’s top websites. Managing from hundreds to millions of digital certificates is a big job. These organizations use our automation solutions and platforms to keep track of these certificates so the sites you like don’t go down.
Keeping the Internet secure is no small feat. Analysts predict there will be 80 billion connected devices by 2025. Some of the devices we already secure include air-to-ground and air-to-air communication at airports, smart meters, USB devices that you use for charging, medical devices that monitor patient health, cars, ATM machines, and the payment terminals where you swipe your credit card. Energy grids, municipal utilities and so much more falls within the growing market where we operate. We are working to help companies understand the threats to these devices and use our certificates to increase protections against those seeking to hack these devices and cause harm.
As digital business and Internet connectivity continue to grow, DigiCert is committed to keeping you safe online. If this sounds exciting to you, check our Careers page and apply to join our company.
Read the rest of the articles in the Fall 2019 issue of Silicon Slopes Magazine