Secure Sockets Layer Certificates, SSL certs, provides added security for your website’s data. They ensure your data is protected from cyber criminals who aim to steal and or destroy personal data from you and your site’s users. Imagine if users were at risk of having information stolen every time they enter a username, password, credit card or banking information on a website and had no way to guard against it?
That situation would be too stressful for users. So SSL Certificates step in to protect that information from getting into the hands of hackers and identity thieves.
Once operational, which is required, SSL Certificates protect every piece of sensitive information sent across the internet by scrambling or encrypting the data. This ensures the information is seen only by the person or persons that are meant to receive it, as they are the only ones capable of unscrambling the data.
What is the function of SSL Certificates?
Security! That’s all SSL Certificates are about.
The goal is to offer website users a safe and secure environment to do business. It gives them the peace of mind they need to send and receive sensitive information, including personal data, payment or login information.
SSL Certificates’ function is to offer users the security plain text data transfer doesn’t. With plain text data transfer, your connection to a server is unencrypted or unscrambled, which is basically an open invitation to cyber criminals to intercept your information and do whatever they want with it.
Without the encryption provided by SSL Certificates, anyone can collect your information and use it to do any number of things, some of which you could get in trouble for, even though you are not at fault.
The goal of SSL Certificates is to therefore make it difficult, if not impossible, for crooks and hackers to spy on the connection and steal yours or your client’s sensitive data, by triggering the padlock and the https protocol on your browser.
Types of SSL Certificates
There are different types of SSL Certificates, three to be exact. Which one you use is dependent on the use and purpose of your website.
For example, the Extended Validation (EV SSL) Certificate is widely used by financial institutions, corporations and many businesses that collect sensitive information from users. They provide the highest level of encryption security and are the easiest to recognize.
The Domain Validated (DV SSL) Certificate is however a better choice for small businesses, bloggers and those who just require standard site encryption. This is by no means weak for website. In fact, it’s the most popular choice.
The DV SSL is less expensive and the application process is quite simple. You are only required to prove that you own the website for which you’re applying for the certificate, through a simple domain validation process.
The last type of SSL Certificate is the Organization Validation (OV SSL). This is highly recommended for governments, companies and any other business looking to add some extra security to their websites.
Why do you need SSL Certificates?
Having gone through the basics of SSL Certificates above, let’s get into the details of why you need them.
1. It’s Mandatory
SSL encryption is so important; today cyber-security requires it. Cyber laws however differ based on industry. Healthcare providers have one set of rules and institutions of higher learning have.
Google also has its own set of rules designed to ensure safer browsing. In July 2018, it launched a feature in its Chrome browser that highlights websites without SSL certificate as “not secure”.
Google lets users know from the start that a websites has chosen not to use SSL Certification and it is therefore not secure to use. Users seeing this will take that as adequate warning to retreat and visit another website. Unfortunately this can negatively impact your bottom-line.
The finance industry is another sector with its own set of rules that requires that businesses maintain a basic level of security. The Payment Card guidelines dictate that all websites accepting credit card and other sensitive information use an SSL certificate.
According to these rules, if you collect money on your website, purchasing an SSL certificate is not an option. You must have one installed.
This fact cannot be overstated, especially with the constant increase in cyber attacks, including scamming and identity theft. These incidents bring the need for information security into focus.
Installing SSL certificates on your website is one of the surest ways to counter these attacks and ensure users’ information is safe, which builds people’s trust and confidence in the business.
Guaranteeing that kind of safety means your clients are more likely to do their online transactions without fear. Resulting in improved conversion rate and sales for you later on.
And while having an SSL certificate doesn’t stop cyber criminals from trying to hack into your website and mess with your information, the encryption these certificates provide will help to prevent those efforts.
There are importers everywhere, particularly in the website world which means that things are not always what they appear to be. Because of this, a server can pretend to be yours and steal your users’ information.
However, SSL Certificates authenticates your website to ensure you and the visitors to your website don’t have to always worry about that. SSL Certificates tell your users that you are the real deal.
4. Protects Data If Intercepted
When you request data on a website it goes through a channel of computers before it gets to the receiver. Previously this was in plain text format, known as HTTP. With the surge in cyber attacks, websites served over HTTP became risky. If your website does not have an SSL cert, the chances of this information getting into the wrong hands along the way increases tremendously.
SSL acts as a buffer. It reduces the risk by encrypting the data. It does this by adding arbitrary characters to the sender’s information. Scrambling the message and the information becomes accessible only by those with a private encryption key. The data becomes unreadable and therefore useless to everyone else.
Learn more about the difference between HTTP and HTTPS here.
5. Essential for Google ranking
One factor in Google rankings is website trustworthiness. This explains organizations allocate a sizeable portion of their budget and time to ensuring they rank well in this area. Using an SSL Certificate is just one of the sure ways to achieve this.
Encouragement is said to increase labor. The same can be said for Google rankings. Google’s algorithm favors websites with encrypted connections. It’s a way of cheering them on. Google, through its HTTPS everywhere initiative, gives these websites an automatic boost in status. While the boost isn’t major, it gives encrypted websites an edge over others without SSL certificates.
Operating a safe and secure website can be a difficult task. With the right SSL Certificate, that work doesn’t have to be as hard. Bring in tough encryption to protect your data during transit from server to browser. Not only does using SSL Certificate make your work easier, it also makes it easier for your site’s visitors. It offers them the security and peace of mind that their information is being protected.
That in turn creates trust between you and your users. This is always good for business. So, if you haven’t yet installed an SSL Certificate on your website, now is a great time to do so.