In-depth But Easy Guide to SSL Offloading | Benefits of SSL Offloading
In a traditional environment/architecture, a client requests a certain webpage. The web server processes the request of the client and then sends back a response to the client. Modern websites and architecture use SSL offloading to make this process efficient.
Let’s dig deeper and learn more about SSL offloading.
What is SSL Offloading?
SSL offloading refers to the process of removing web servers from encryption and decryption tasks.
There are SSL offloader devices such as Citrix NetScaler and F5. You can also get separate Application-Specific Integrated Processors (ASIC). This allows the webserver to decryption/encrypt SSL traffic and offsets its task. It handles the decryption and encryption-intensive tasks for web applications.
This will free up web application server processing power. It can now respond to client requests as quickly as possible. This is SSL offloading in a nutshell.
SSL offloading can also be referred to as SSL Accelerators and SSL load balancing.
Any modern device that helps to distribute workloads among the available resources can be called a load balancer. This could be done by limiting SSL handshaking to itself and forwarding plain text data to the backend server least occupied.
SSL offloading has many benefits
- The SSL offloader device takes care of the SSL handshaking task. This involves both encryption (encryption) and decryption (decryption). These are the two main tasks that slow down web application computing power.
- The device can complete the SSL handshaking process faster than the webserver. The web application ends can load the website quickly and process the request much faster.
- It all depends on the type of SSL loadable you have installed at your end. This can help with HTTPS inspection, reverse proxy, and traffic regulation.
- HTTPS inspection is another important aspect of using an SSL load-balancer. While we understand the importance of encryption, there are also drawbacks. Attackers can hide malicious code and encrypt it.
A strong HTTPS inspection policy can be used to evade an attack by using HTTPS traffic. All HTTPS traffic will be checked and allowed to enter the corporate network only if it is deemed to be acceptable.
Each HTTP traffic must be offloaded and inspected as the SSL/TLS traffic grows.
Also, check the DIY guide on how to verify SSL certificate installation
Types of SSL Offloading
There are two types of SSL offloading. It is important to know which one best suits your needs.
Offloading web pages:
This is where the device decrypts data and sends it in plain text to backend servers.
The server will send the appropriate response to the client’s request, and the packet will be sent to the device.
The device will then encrypt data using the SSL and send it to the customer.
This involves decrypting data, inspecting the contents, encrypting them again, and then sending it to the backend web server.
All web servers hosting the requested URL must have SSL certificates installed. It will then be decrypted again by the webserver.
The server will then encrypt the response before sending it to the device. The device will decrypt the response, inspect it and encrypt it again before sending it to the customer.