What is an SSL certificate and why does your website need one?

- October 17, 2019 3 MIN READ

Back in the 90s, people often talked about “surfing the internet”. In fact, surfing the net was one of the most common ways the internet was used – a term that essentially means browsing for information (and not much else). Fast-forward to today, and the internet has completely revolutionised the way we run our businesses, buy and sell products and services and share important information.

With all that important information existing on the net, there comes a need to help protect it. Businesses are working hard to find ways to build trust with consumers who want to know that their data is being protected by the websites they are using. One way to show that you take data protection seriously is by installing an SSL certificate for your website. But what is an SSL Certificate, and why does your business need one?

What is an SSL Certificate?

SSL is an abbreviation for Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). It is used to help protect customer information transmitted from one website to another. For example, an SSL Certificate helps to protect the transmission of personal data of visitors who sign up for your monthly newsletter, or share credit card information to make online purchases.

Having an SSL Certificate installed on your website offers the opportunity for website owners to reassure their online visitors that they take security protection seriously and want to earn their trust by securing their website. An SSL Certificate creates a secure, encrypted connection between the visitor’s browser and the webserver. To establish the secure session, the SSL “handshake” process occurs behind the scenes without interrupting the customer’s shopping or browsing experience.

How an SSL certificate works

In recent years, the digital world has been impacted by hackers attempting to get access to valuable information. So, it’s easy to understand why businesses are stepping up their game when it comes to online data security. That’s where an SSL Certificate comes in.

Essentially, an SSL Certificate tells internet users that a secure connection is being used to transfer sensitive data, such as payment information and personal contact information. Via a secure connection, data is encrypted by SSL technology – in simple terms, this means the valuable information is ‘scrambled’, so it is more difficult to be intercepted by hackers. Websites with an SSL Certificate are marked “Secure” by the Google search engine, to help ensure internet users know that the website they are using is being protected when they are transacting on that website. Meanwhile, websites that don’t have an SSL Certificate are marked “Not secure” in the url address box at the top of the website.

What an SSL certificate can do for your small business website

With a recent study revealing that nearly half (43 per cent) of all data breaches involve small businesses, it could help to know what sort of website functions can be protected by SSL technology.

Payment processing. If you’re planning on accepting payments from credit cards online, you will want to be sure your customers’ payment information is being more fully protected. Web hosting companies like GoDaddy include SSL Certificates within its Websites + Marketing Plans.

Secure web forms. Even the most rudimentary information can be valuable to hackers online. So, if you have a website that asks customers to enter personal information such as telephone number, email or residential address to process a request for products and services on your website, then it’s essential to get protected with an SSL Certificate. Even questionnaires that ask for personal preferences, or background information such as family, or health history, can also be protected when transmitted by your website having an SSL Certificate.

Benefits of an SSL Certificate

As well as the practical security benefits of having an SSL Certificate, there are a few other things your SSL Certification could tell your clients or customers. By having your website labelled “Secure” by search engines, can help to make your business more professional. Even if your website doesn’t process sensitive information, it tells internet users that you are diligent enough to keep up with security protections, which can be a positive reflection of your company and your products and services.

With 90 per cent of Australian’s concerned about companies collecting personal data when making payments or sharing important information, having an SSL Certificate for your website can help to raise customer trust of your business.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a large or small business, customers today are aware of how important it is to help to ensure their information is being protected. In a competitive market, obtaining an SSL Certificate through a web hosting company, is an easy and low-cost way to help ensure your website visitors and customers feel more confident engaging with your company and using your website.



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