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What is an Exchange SSL Certificate and How to Get One?

what is exchange ssl certificate

A quick guide about Exchange SSL Certificate and how it can secure your Microsoft Exchange Server.

We have experienced an alarming rate of data breaches at no time in history like in the recent past. Data breaches have been increasing rapidly. The trend seems to show no signs of slowing down. It is now the responsibility of data owners and security experts to ensure that their data is safe from data breaches.

Indeed, many milestones have been covered regarding data security. Some of the tools used in the war against data breaches have proved to be effective. We have seen the emergence of robust firewalls, antimalware software, virus scanners, and many more. One great weapon that has helped thwart data breaches is the SSL certificate.

If you are a keen internet user, you should be well conversant with the HTTP and HTTPS transfer protocols. The Secure Socket Layer certificate blends with the HTTP protocol to yield the HTTPS protocol, a secure transfer protocol. With HTTPS, all communications between web servers and web browsers (users’ end) will be encrypted. Thus, it is almost impossible for a hacker to break through, read and understand a ciphertext, unlike plain text.

A lot has been said about SSL certificates. However, not much can be found on the internet about Exchange SSL certificates. The primary purpose of this article is to guide you through the fundamentals of an exchange SSL certificate. So, tighten up your seatbelt and get ready for a ride through the roads of exchange servers and exchange SSL certificates.

What is an Exchange SSL certificate?

To have a clear understanding of what an exchange SSL certificate is, You first need to answer the question, what is an exchange server?

Imagine carrying around a heavy laptop or computer to check your emails. It doesn’t make any sense. Does it? You do not have to carry around a heavy gadget to respond to your email. With advancements in technology and an increase in smartphones, all you need for your email needs is a mobile phone.

But how is it possible that an email that can be seen on a computer is now accessible on mobile phones? If you figure out the answer to this question, you will know about an exchange server.

Microsoft email server was initially developed for Microsoft internal purposes but was later made available for customer use. It is a server-side application that provides data and information to the client. It helps organizations achieve reliability and enhances performance. The Microsoft exchange server is only compatible with the Windows operating system.

To use a Microsoft exchange server, they will have to install it on their PC or personal computer. The installed Microsoft exchange server will then act as an application that interacts with the remote server. This interaction happens through the internet, and therefore, you need an exchange SSL certificate.

Benefits of Using an Exchange SSL Certificate

Certificates for exchange allow one to use Outlook with advanced protections levels. Exchange SSL certificate is the most basic of all certificates of exchange. It is also the most vital of all certificates of exchange.

For your knowledge, Microsoft exchange certification is necessitated by three certificates; the self-signed certificates that one can easily create trusted Certificate Authority certificates (which is where SSL certificates for exchange servers fall), and Public Key Infrastructure certificates.

But why is the SSL certificate so important for Microsoft exchange servers? The following are the reasons why you need an SSL certificate for your Microsoft exchange server.

  • Secure Data Transmission

With almost a 31% market share, Microsoft exchange has risen through the ranks to become one of the most popular email host platforms globally. This stat means that a huge chunk of the world’s email communication is happening through Microsoft servers. It also means that a lot of sensitive data is transmitted over the Microsoft Exchange servers. As a result, Microsoft emails services such as Outlook are major targets of cybercriminals whose main intention is to seize the sensitive data in transit.

Usually, there are great risks of information interception as it travels between servers. The technical term for such an attack is a Man-In-The-Middle attack. SSL certificates for Microsoft exchange are so important in minimizing and preventing such attacks.

An exchange SSL certificates provide an SHA 256-bit encryption whose primary role is to make data illegible to any intruder other than the rightful recipient. Because organizations’ communication involves exchanging sensitive data, they must have the exchange SSL certificate to protect all in-transit data.

The email host is trusted by most email clients and is compatible with all Microsoft versions. So, you can install an SSL certificate for exchange 2010, 2013, 2016, and earlier versions like 2007.

So, if you are yet to install an SSL on your Microsoft exchange server, then you are treading the wrong path. Ensure that you acquire one today for your good and the good of clients’ sensitive data. You can get an exchange SSL certificate from CheapSSLShop.

  • Establishing Trust

Just like the normal SSL certificate, an exchange SSL certificate establishes a sense of trust in your clients. Without trust, your business is as good as dead.

Microsoft exchange certification helps to assure clients that their interaction with organizations is genuine. It does this by authenticating the exchange servers.

An SSL certificate from a trusted source such as a trusted certificate authority offers additional trust indicators. Usually, the Certificate Authorities are authenticated and validated by a trusted agency.

They will also ensure that the organization acquiring the exchange SSL certificate can be trusted before issuing the SSL certificate. Based on the validation levels of the SSL certificates, the certificates could be trusted with a higher level of security.

  • A single exchange SSL Certificate Matters

Today, things have been made easier. You do not have to go about purchasing multiple certificates for all your domains and subdomains. All you require is a single certificate. It will be easier to manage multiple vendors and keep updated with all the upcoming events. It is also easy for you to request help if a technical hitch occurs because you will only have to talk to a single vendor.

What’s the Best SSL Certificate for the Microsoft Exchange Server?

You will be surprised by the number of SSL certificates on the market. The market is almost saturated and looking for the best among the best certificates is no walk in the park.

However, if you are looking for an exchange SSL certificate, you will not have a hard time. This is because there is only one SSL certificate tailored to meet the needs of exchange servers.

The Unified Communication Certificate (UCC), also called the SAN SSL certificate, is the one certificate that has been primarily crafted to meet the requirements of the exchange servers’ environment.

So, what is it that makes the Unified Communication Certificate (UCC) so special? One of the key features that have made UCC suitable for exchange servers is its unified compatibility with all Microsoft mail services such as Autodiscover, Outlook Web Access/App (OWA), and Webmail.

Another special feature of the certificate is that it allows you to secure several hostnames, domains, and subdomains. As such, you do not have to go about shopping for different types of SSL certificates for each of your domains and subdomains. It is, therefore, a cost-effective certificate. It is also convenient as it allows less certificate handling.

You have no other choice but to install the Unified Communication Certificate. The Comodo UCC SSL certificate is one of the best certificates you can find on the market.

How Do I Get and Install an Exchange SSL Certificate?

Now that you understand what an exchange SSL certificate is, why you need one, and the best certificate you should go for, you probably wonder how to get one and install it. Do not worry. This section will tell you how to obtain an exchange SSL certificate and how to install it on your exchange servers.

The Microsoft exchange servers 2010, 2013, 2016, and later versions have the UCC certificates installed by default. However, you must check the validity of the SSL certificate first before rushing to install the certificate. This is because most certificates usually expire one year after the issuance date.

Another crucial factor that you must consider when applying for the Microsoft exchange server certificate is to ensure that the name of the web app and the server match. After ascertaining the two issues, it is time to generate the Certificate Signing Request (CSR) key. The following are the steps to follow when installing an exchange server SSL certificate.

Step one- Purchase a Subject Alternative Name (SAN) SSL certificate.

The first step to install an SSL certificate on your exchange servers is to purchase the certificate. There are several factors that you must consider when choosing the certificate authority for your certificate. For instance, you should consider the warranty, price, and support of the certificate authority. Comodo UCC exchange certificates are the most effective, and you should consider working with them.

Step Two- Generate a Certificate Signing Request

After you have purchased the certificate, you should then generate the Certificate Signing Request. You must insert all the details that the Certificate Authority asks for. The details will be used for validation.

Step Three- Complete the Configuration Process

Upon generating the Certificate Signing Request, the Certificate Authority will issue a certificate that you will need to install on servers. It is then time to complete the pending certificate request.

Follow the following procedure to complete the pending certificate request.

microsoft exchange admin center

Step 1- Go to the Admin Center on Microsoft exchange and select the Certificates option under the Servers Option.

exchange-2016-complete-pending-ssl-certificate-request

Step 2- Find the pending request status and click on it. Next, select the Record and navigate to the Complete option.

exchange server ssl pending request complete

Step 3- Set up the UNC path and click OK.

set the unc path to the certificate

Step 4- Upon completing all the above procedures, the SSL certificate status will be updated on the Admin Center as shown in the image below;

Microsoft exchange admin center pending certificate request

Conclusion

We have seen and heard it in the news about unsecured emails getting leaked. If you haven’t fallen victim to such an attack, we can only guess how awful things could be. Those who have been victims before knowing how frightening and depressing things could be.

Believe me when I tell you that you do have to be a victim of a cyber breach. Therefore, businesses need to beef up their security. The exchange servers need stern security measures to stay safe from the many data breaches we hear about every day. This can only be possible if you implement an exchange server SSL certificate. The certificate will help to encrypt all communications, thereby safeguarding data from unauthorized access.

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