SSL Offload, let us do the work for you

The Need for SSL Offloading

Did you notice that certain websites get slower when there’s a large number of people accessing them at the same time. For example, entertainment websites (when a new episode of a popular series goes on air), news channel websites (at the time of elections), sports websites (during major events and competitions), etc. One of the reasons for such latency can be an SSL/TLS certificate you have installed on your server. You can’t (and must not) remove it due to security reasons, but you can improve the speed of the server by integrating SSL offloading into your network.

When an end user opens a website on their web browser, the browser tries to establish the HTTPS connection by performing the SSL/TLS handshake. This task is processor-driven and utilizes the server’s resources to a great extent. Thus, the server gets exhausted and becomes slower. To reduce the encryption/decryption burden from the servers, the concept of SSL offloading was introduced in the industry.

What is SSL Offloading

SSL offload, also known as SSL termination or SSL acceleration, refers to the process of offloading the SSL/TLS encryption and decryption tasks from a web server or application server to a dedicated SSL offload device or load balancer.

Overall, SSL offload can provide performance improvements, enhanced security, simplified management, and cost savings, making it a valuable solution for organizations that handle secure web traffic.

The benefits of SSL offload:

  • Improved server performance: SSL/TLS encryption and decryption can be computationally intensive processes, especially for high-traffic websites or applications. Offloading these tasks to a dedicated SSL offload device can significantly reduce the processing burden on the server, allowing it to focus on other critical tasks and improving overall performance.
  • Increased scalability: By offloading SSL/TLS processing to a dedicated device, the server’s resources are freed up, enabling it to handle a larger number of client requests. This improved scalability is particularly valuable for websites or applications with high traffic volumes or sudden spikes in demand.
  • Flexible deployment options: SSL offload allows for flexible deployment options. The SSL offload device can be placed in front of multiple servers or in a load balancing setup, distributing the SSL/TLS workload efficiently across the server infrastructure.
  • Enhanced security: SSL offload devices often include advanced security features and capabilities. They can perform tasks such as SSL certificate management, client authentication, and traffic inspection, providing an additional layer of security for the server and the network.
  • Cost-effective: SSL offload can be a cost-effective solution, especially for organizations with multiple servers or a need for high-performance SSL/TLS processing. By consolidating SSL/TLS processing onto a dedicated device, organizations can avoid the need for expensive hardware upgrades on individual servers and achieve better resource utilization.
  • Simplified certificate management: SSL certificates need to be installed, renewed, and managed on servers. With SSL offload, the SSL certificates can be centrally managed on the dedicated offload device, reducing the complexity and administrative overhead of certificate management on individual servers.
  • Lower latency: SSL offload devices are often optimized to handle SSL/TLS encryption and decryption efficiently. This optimization can lead to reduced SSL handshake times and lower latency, resulting in improved user experience and faster response times for clients.

SSL Offload, Real life examples:

  • E-commerce Websites: Online shopping platforms handle a significant volume of sensitive user data during transactions. SSL offload is commonly employed to offload the SSL/TLS processing from the web servers, allowing them to focus on processing orders and serving content. This helps to improve the performance and scalability of e-commerce websites, ensuring a secure and seamless shopping experience for users.
  • Banking and Financial Services: Banks and financial institutions often deal with highly sensitive customer information and require robust security measures. SSL offload is utilized to enhance the security and performance of online banking applications, enabling secure connections for customers while offloading the resource-intensive SSL/TLS processing to dedicated hardware or software-based devices.
  • Healthcare Applications: Healthcare providers and medical applications handle sensitive patient data that needs to be transmitted securely. SSL offload is used to optimize the performance of healthcare applications while ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of patient information. It allows healthcare professionals to securely access and transmit patient data without impacting the responsiveness of the application.
  • Content Delivery Networks (CDNs): CDNs distribute website content across multiple servers and geographically dispersed locations to improve content delivery performance. SSL offload is commonly used within CDNs to handle SSL/TLS encryption and decryption, allowing for faster and more efficient content delivery while ensuring secure connections between the CDN edge servers and end users.

Radware Alteon SSL Offload

Radware’s Alteon SSL inspection solution provides a simple one-box solution for offloading traffic encryption/decryption processing for both inbound and outbound traffic. Alteon SSL Inspect acts as a central switching point for all perimeter network security modules, significantly reducing latency of SSL encrypted. Security managers can easily chain and provision security services with highly granular policy options per user profile, with simple out-of-the box wizards. Alteon SSL Inspect supports scalable and flexible security services deployment and reduces overall security solution costs via offloading decryption and re-encryption of SSL encrypted traffic.

Radware’s patented SSL offload technology embedded in Alteon and combined with its transparent traffic steering functionality offers a high capacity, advanced and flexible SSL traffic inspection solution that is simple to deploy and delivers the following benefits:

  • Fast, Accurate and Simple SSL Inspect Maintenance: Quick visibility into SSL traffic patterns, SSL handshake statistics and valuable information into the root cause of SSL Inspection problems if and when they occur.
  • Transparent Deployment: Eliminate the need to re-engineer the network or configure end user clients to pass all traffic through a predefined SSL proxy.

For more information

If you are wondering how, you can deploy a SSL Offload with Alteon ADC and get the benefit from the full feature set of Alteon, go here for more information and please feel free to contact one of our ADC professionals here.

Guy Shimon

Guy is a dynamic, analytical, and forward-thinking bilingual Product Manager who enjoys leveraging his expertise in technology, Agile methodology, and product management to accelerate business goals. Guy is highly regarded for enhancing hardware and software products and positioning them effectively within the market He has a proven track record of aligning vision strategy, design, development, marketing, and post-deployment performance to effectively demonstrate product value.

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