Public cloud infrastructure provider Amazon Web Services today announced the launch of AWS Certificate Manager, a service that developers can use to obtain transport layer security (TLS) and secure socket layer (SSL) certificates for websites for free.

These certificates tell browsers (which in turn tell end users) if a connection to a site is encrypted and secure. Several companies sell these certificates, but AWS is offering to do this service free of charge, along with free certificate renewals and management.

For now the service is only available through AWS’ popular US East (Northern Virginia) region, AWS chief evangelist Jeff Barr wrote in a blog post. Additional regions will support the tool in the future, Barr wrote.

This is one more feature that could help companies not already using the Amazon cloud to start using it once and for all. Amazon offers so many things — database software, a business intelligence tool, file sharing services, a work email service, and of course raw compute, storage, and networking resources for custom applications to run on. Now TLS/SSL business can go through Amazon too, with the certificates themselves available for nothing.

This can help Amazon further distinguish itself from other public clouds, like Microsoft Azure, the Google Cloud Platform, and IBM SoftLayer.

These clouds are constantly looking to catch up with AWS. Recently AWS picked up video encoding technology through its acquisition of Elemental Technologies, and today IBM announced that it had acquired video streaming company UStream.

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