TL; DR: SSLTrust was founded in the early 2000s with the goal of easing the process of installing and managing SSL certificates. The company delivers standard and business-focused SSL solutions from a number of industry-leading brands that can be leveraged by developers, website builders, and businesses. In addition to its compelling certificate offerings, SSLTrust also provides PCI and website malware scanners, email spooling and failover, and email encryption, among other security solutions. With continuous development informed by customer feedback, SSLTrust is positioned to see another 20 years of success and keeping customers safe.
In the early 2000s, Paul Baka found himself providing web development services for a number of businesses in the greater Sydney area. The internet was barely out of its infancy at the time, and website building and related tools, including site security solutions, weren’t very intuitive.
Paul quickly realized that installing and managing website security products was a niche skill.
“Most of the customers at the time struggled with installing and setting up their own SSL certificates, removing malware, and securing their code,” Paul said. “Back then, SSL Certificates were not as common on websites and were mostly found on bank, government, and ecommerce sites.”
Many of Paul’s customers lacked the skills to navigate the poorly supported — and often overpriced — SSL certificates on the market. First, these site builders and business owners had to find the right product. Then, there was the matter of installing and managing it. Further complicating matters was that ticket resolution could take days, and sometimes support personnel couldn’t solve the issue, Paul told us.
“There were few resellers in the market, and none in Australia were offering benefits above buying directly from the certificate authorities,” Paul said. “The most striking thing missing in the market was that no one seemed to be offering the level of support that the market demanded. So we decided to jump in and fill the gap.”
Paul and his partners founded SSLTrust with the goal of delivering competitive prices and localized support to the Australian market. And the reception couldn’t have been better.
“We received a lot of positive feedback for both the speed and usefulness of the support we provided,” he said. “Our customers still regularly let us know how happy they are to have the level of support we offer. This market gap and positive customer feedback drove our company to focus on supplying SSL products at a lower price and with support that actually does help.”
Staying Ahead of Trends to Keep Customer Sites Secure
Paul told us that he’s seen a number of shifts in the web services industry over the years. Some of the changes that have had the biggest ramifications in the SSL space have been the rise of free certificates and a reduction in a certificate’s maximum terms.
“Previously, maximum terms were typically five years. Over time, that maximum was reduced initially to two years, and now one year is the maximum term an SSL certificate is allowed,” he said. “This change has had a noticeable impact on our customers, who frequently inquire as to why three, four, or five-year SSL certificates are no longer available.”
According to Paul, the shorter terms have resulted in the need for website owners to install new certificates yearly. Some customers viewed this as adding to their workloads. However, Paul noted that customers are usually satisfied when they hear the benefits of the shorter terms.
“Once we explain the increased security benefits of installing a new certificate, most customers are understanding,” he said. “To ensure our customers maintained a positive experience when purchasing and then having their certificates issued, we spent a lot of time updating our platform. The multiyear plans took a bit longer for us to get right, but we are confident that the changes we have made to our system better accommodate the needs of our customers, making it as easy as possible for them to get a new certificate issued each year within their plan.”
The rise of free SSL certificates was another big shift SSLTrust has had to navigate. But Paul said that, while he did see some drop in certain customer types, the company has also gained clients.
“Often customers who have tried or were using free SSLs find the process too hard and more time-consuming, having to reissue them every two to three months. They are great when they work, but the cycle time has caught out so many people,” he said. “Forgetting to install a new one impacts their business, with security warnings showing up on their website.”
SSLTrust has been able to keep pricing down through partnerships. And, as Paul noted, some of the certificates the company delivers are cheaper than a cup of coffee. The popularization of free certificates has also kept SSLTrust on its toes and forced the company to become more innovative and responsive to customer needs.
“Knowing that users can get free SSLs keeps us focused on evolving our system, we want our users to have the best possible experience,” Paul said.
The Goals: Competitive Pricing, Ease of Use, Customer Satisfaction
In addition to standard and business-focused SSL certificates from industry-leading brands, SSLTrust also offers malware and PCI website scanners, email encryption, and a range of other security services. The company’s certificate management system is intuitive, and it’s currently going through a revamp to improve its usability even further.
Paul told us that a number of initiatives and products help SSLTrust stand out among competitors. But a few are top of mind for him.
“I am very proud of our Business Validation for GeoTrust, Thawte, and DigiCert orders,” he said. “We have a fantastic system that allows customers to validate their business once. Then they can instantly have business-validated SSL certificates issued.”
This saves users the legwork of having to do the same business validation process each time. And, according to Paul, the customers love it.
“The amount of positive feedback we have received from our customers regarding this feature has confirmed for me how badly it was needed,” he said. “We are also working to build a similar system for our Sectigo product offerings.”
The goal is to make things as simple as possible while reducing costs and increasing customer satisfaction. Support plays a big role in achieving that aim, and Paul noted that the team is constantly coming up with new ways to help customers, whether that’s through email, chat, phone, or video guides.
“I would honestly have to say it is the combination of a number of things that yields the most benefit for our customers,” he said. “But the basics that stand out are pricing, support, and all the extras SSLTrust delivers.”
The Future: Continued Development and Listening to Clients
An underlying theme in our conversation with Paul was the notion of listening carefully to customers. SSLTrust is bent on maintaining a robust feedback loop with clients to inform its development trajectory and adapt to the changing market.
“We not only welcome customer feedback, we actually reach out to them and ask them what they think,” he said. “We have a particularly nice group of customers!”
SSLTrust employs a team of full-time developers that are constantly working on new features. Currently in the works is the company’s new SSL configuration process, which eases certificate configuration and management. This release includes features such as the ability to generate a CSR and private key within the browser.
“We are also releasing a desktop application, CertKey Manager,” Paul said. “This will be a cross platform (OSX, Windows, Linux) desktop application which allows you to securely and easily store and manage all your certificates and private keys.”
Users will also have the ability to collect newly purchased SSL certificates within the application via a provided token given with each order.
Another big item on the development roadmap is the release of SSLTrust’s website security check tool. With this solution, users will be able to input their domain name and get results from over 40 leading malware, malicious, and spammer databases to see if their website has been flagged.
“Last, but by no means least, our very own Issuing Certificate Authority is being launched,” Paul said. “It will have some great features such as trusted organization seals, inbuilt organization reviews and ratings, free certificate duplication, and free DV SSLs, malware scanning, and more.”
SSLTrust has partnered with Sectigo for this, which is why certificates will be trusted right away within all browsers.
“And we will have some great features, normally only provided with premium SSL purchases, with great entry level prices,” Paul said. “Yes, I am excited!”