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VeriSign Hails 1M Milestone for SSL

The SSL certificate business is a good one for VeriSign (NASDAQ: VRSN) -- so good that the company claim to have deployed 1 million active SSL certificates.

VeriSign's 1 million SSL certificate milestone comes as the need for SSL security continues to grow. SSL certificates are a key part of Internet security infrastructure and provide an important mechanism for securing traffic.

The VeriSign 1 million SSL certificate total tally includes SSL certificates currently in use and those sold by VeriSign and its SSL brands, including VeriSign, Thawte and GeoTrust.

VeriSign acquired GeoTrust in 2006 for $115 million, settling a long-running dispute over who was tops in the SSL marketplace.

Tim Callan, vice president of product marketing for VeriSign SSL, declined to comment on current SSL deployments by brand but noted that VeriSign does not share its renewal percentage for SSL certificate publicly.

Callan did, however, share some figures on the growth numbers of VeriSign's SSL certificate business. In the first quarter of 2007, VeriSign had 886,000 active certificates, he noted. This number grew to 1,024,000 active certificates for the first quarter of this year, a growth rate of approximately 16 percent.

According to VeriSign, 93 percent of Fortune 500 companies use its SSL certificates.

"The other 7 percent are using a mix of competing products or those using self-signed certificates," Callan told InternetNews.com.

Among those competing products is GoDaddy, which as a privately held company, doesn't disclose actual numbers, remarked Warren Adelman, president and COO. "We are now the second-largest SSL Certificate provider, which is pretty good considering we started issuing certificates in March 2004," Adelman told InternetNews.com.

Adelman commented that SSL certificates from VeriSign and GoDaddy are similar in levels of protection and verification.

"The real difference between our SSL certificate and VeriSign's is price, pure and simple," Adelman said.

For VeriSign's Callan, the biggest barrier to adoption for SSL certificates is not necessarily price but rather the lack of understanding about the need for and appropriateness of SSL for Web sites.

"VeriSign is spearheading the advancement and education around the benefits and effects of increasing trust amongst consumers via SSL certificates," Callan said.