Symantec Launches Encryption Everywhere with Ten Hosting Program Partners

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Symantec’s free website encryption program Encryption Everywhere has been launched to worldwide availability, the company announced at World Hosting Days in Germany. Symantec developed Encryption Everywhere to support its goal of securing 100 percent of “legitimate websites” by 2018.

Symantec estimates that out of nearly 1 billion websites, only three percent are encrypted, which means a lot of low-hanging fruit for cybercriminals. Citing the pervasiveness of cyber threats, as well as the prioritization of encryption by browsers and search engines, the company suggests that hosting providers can offer basic website encryption with any hosted service, and then offer increasingly stronger premium security packages.

“Symantec is about to change the game for cybersecurity with Encryption Everywhere,” said Roxane Divol, senior vice president and general manager, Website Security, Symantec. “It’s time to secure every legitimate website and win back security on the internet for every business and consumer. That’s why Symantec is making it easy to secure any website from the very moment it is registered or renewed, starting with free, basic encryption all the way through to complete website security solutions.”

Read more: Despite Increased Awareness of Encryption, Many Internet Users Think it’s Too Complicated: Report

Ten hosting providers have already signed on as program partners, including InterNetX and Hostpoint, and PCWorld reports another 10 are nearly done deals.

The non-profit collaborative Let’s Encrypt project just announced it has issued a million free certificates since its launch in December. Symantec is positioning Encryption Everywhere as a solution integrated with and enabled by the web host, and therefore as easy as the host makes it. Let’s Encrypt is designed to be deployed and managed by the end user, though DreamHost launched integrated support in January to make it a one-click option for its customers.

The extent to which the freemium model of website encryption takes hold will largely be worked out between web hosts and their customers. The project of both Encyrption Everywhere and Let’s Encrypt brings up several questions about the profitability of certificates, both for certificate authorities and resellers.

Read more: Backdoor Access to US Data Would do Nothing to Stop Availability of Encryption: Report

Does the freemium model change the margins? If basic certificates are free, how many websites need organization validation (OV) or extended validation (EV) certificates? Can CAs and resellers increase margins through economies of scale or making deployment easier?

Way back in 2003, Netcraft asked if CAs still had a margin generating business model. WooCommerce expert Patrick Garman asserted in a 2014 blog post that “it seems the hosting industry for the most part has taken SSL certificates and the lack of a customer’s education on the market and turned it into high profit margins.”

The extent to which certificates are a profitable product in the future is an open question, but companies in the SSL/TLS market will have to ward off the impression they are charging money for something that should be free, which means educating Internet users. In the meantime, free and easy encryption methods are sure to be a hit with the increasingly data security-aware public.

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