Trying to secure an internal web app that will go public - certificates?

We are looking to inherit a web application that will be hosted internally within our network. It will have to be made public so external users can use it, but management wants to avoid VPN. The application will host many private information, so I need to be sure that the web server is completely secure to my best ability. Need some helpful tips from experts to give me a good scope of what might need to be done. Here are my ideas:

- Install a SSL certificate to encrypt external to internal
- Look into Secure ID type method where we could manipulate certificates?
     - So we can issue certs to those that need to connect
     - Revoke certs that are no longer needed
     - Only those with certs will be able to view the URL link (such as https://webapp.com), if no cert the link would be blocked...?

Anyone of any best practices that would help me setup this scenario?
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tdlewisConnect With a Mentor Commented:
SSL will protect the data as it is transmitted over the Internet from the server to the client. Using SSL is a best practice for all web pages that contain confidential information.

However, you also need to protect the private information in storage. First, you should separate the data from the web server by storing all the private information on an internal server that is not directly accessible from the Internet. Your web server will connect to that internal server to access the private information.

Second, you must ensure that the web server has a hardened configuration. If you do not have the internal expertise to ensure that there are no problems with the web server configuration, you should hire a security professional to help you get that right.

Third, you must apply all relevant security patches and have a mechanism in place to evaluate and apply new security patches as they are released.
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