Code Signing Certificate plays the most crucial part for software developers in ensuring the authenticity and maintaining the integrity of their code, apps, software, or executable files signed by them. The signing of the code by the developer safeguards it against any malicious tampering by bad players. In recent times, the global digital signature market has grown very fast all over the world owing to increased online activity, including online documentation processes, support for the digital signature market, offices working online, and the need for security.
According to a study by MarketsandMarkets, in 2020, the global digital signature market size touched $2.8 billion. Furthermore, by 2026 it is expected to grow to $14.1 billion at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 31.0%.
So, with growing awareness among web users, more and more users now know about the perils of downloading software from unknown publishers. Indeed, these software downloads may cause very serious threats to the users in the form of malicious code, trying to steal your sensitive information, installing spyware into your systems, or infiltrating your system files, causing heavy damages. The warning messages displayed when any malicious or software download from unknown sources is triggered give a clear shout-out to users against risks involved in going ahead with such downloads. An example where the software has not been code signed, and thus the publisher cannot be verified, is seen in the image below.
Therefore to protect your software, Code Signing Certificate is essential and is an effective solution that verifies the publisher identity, eliminates the “Unknown Publisher” warning, and helps build user trust. Furthermore, it helps the developer establish a reliable brand and makes tampering with the developer code difficult. Thus, we can say that a code signing certificate is essentially a digital certificate that mainly performs two functions: authentication of the code and protecting against any malicious code tampering.
Now, to take maximum benefit out of the code signing of your software, it is vital to choose the right Code Signing Certificate that suffices all your present and future needs. Still, at the same time, it is equally important to choose the right certificate provider. How effectively you can reap the benefit of signing your code depends on this selection. There are many crucial aspects that you must pay attention to while selecting your provider. Let us focus on some most important and effective considerations that you must incorporate in your selection process.
- Universal Presence
The first and foremost consideration you must consider while selecting your code signing certificate provider is to assess its global presence. You must choose one that is recognized worldwide and has established a popular presence and trust among global consumers. The popularity of the certificate provider is proof enough for you to trust them and the certificates offered by them. Furthermore, it is crucial to get your software signed through a certificate supported by the various platforms. Equally important is, these platforms recognize the CA that issues the certificate, or you may face a warning message “The security certificate was issued by a company that is not trusted.” Hence, invest in a code signing certificate and its universally trusted provider to secure your software and ensure success for your business.
- Time Stamping Is A Must
When you sign your app or code or software with a code signing certificate, you must pay attention to its validity period. If your certificate expires, your software will be identified as unsafe to be downloaded. This certainly is not a good reflection of your reputation in the market.
So, to protect yourself from running into any trouble associated with insecure software, you must buy a code signing certificate that has a Time Stamping option with it. Time Stamping essentially ensures that your code remains valid even after its validity period expires. Of course, this means that you must select a provider that offers time stamping with the code signing certificate, and you must check for any hidden costs charged for Time Stamping.
- Value For Money
You must research well for the right code signing certificate that suits your requirements and the provider that offers the best value for money. Sometimes the array of choices available in the market can be confusing; you may get different price offers for the same code signing certificates from different Certificate Authorities or even better pricing from a reseller of the code signing certificates.
- Unlimited Signing with One Code Signing Certificate
Please pay attention to the fact that the certificate provider gives you an option of signing an innumerable number of codes within its validity period with one certificate. You must verify this with your Code signing certificate provider, as some CAs limit the number of codes that you can sign with one code signing certificate. After all, getting the same certificate again to sign your other codes can never be a very viable option, financially and maintenance-wise, more so, because you do have an option of signing unlimited codes with just a single certificate.
- Certificate for Both Individual and Commercial Software Publishers
Whether you are an organization developing commercial software or an individual that develops and distributes software, you must check whether your certificate provider supports the category that you belong to. Some Certificate Authorities cater only to commercial software; hence you must ensure that the CA offers the Code-signing certificate for your category.
- Look For a money-back guarantee.
It is always a good idea to choose a certificate provider that offers a full refund of your money within the stipulated time if you are not satisfied with your product. Any reputed and trustworthy vendor would always have a money-back guarantee option with the certificate for its customers. Hence before finalizing your vendor, ensure that it is also offering the same guarantee on your certificate.
- Having 24/7/365 live support Is Essential.
Having 24/7/365 real-time customer support through various channels such as having live chats, chatbots, etc., can be of real help in instances of any technical issues faced. Answers to all your queries and helping to deal with any snags with 24/7 support is vital. So, you must ensure that your certificate provider offers such facilities with your certificate.
In conclusion, we can say that it is crucial to pay attention to the above-discussed pointers so that you make the right choice of certificate provider which gives you value for money and meets all your requirements.