A Secure Sockets Layer adds much needed security in an increasingly unstable digital world.
Your digital platform should reflect the standards of your business. If you’re like most business owners, you probably consider customer comfort and security a top priority. Assuming that is the case, then getting a Secure Sockets Layer for your online business should be a no brainer.
A secure sockets layer (SSL) protects all the information exchanged between two parties on the internet. Typically, this is facilitated between your website’s hosting server and your customers web browser.
They are incredibly common in a digital world increasingly aware of cyber threats. In fact, Google reports that over 89% of websites use a secure sockets layer. In short, it is industry standard for ensuring secure transactions on the internet.
If you aren’t using an SSL, you are hurting your business in more ways than one. That is especially true if your business model requires exchanging sensitive information with customers, such as credit card & phone numbers. You need to shield that sort of information from hackers if you want your customers to trust your website and, ultimately, become a conversion.
Here is everything you need to know about Secure Sockets Layers and why you need one:
What is a Secure Sockets Layer?
A secure sockets layer acts as a shield for the information you are exchanging.
When a user goes to your website, their web browser and your hosting server are constantly sharing data. Website hackers can target the channels you are using to share that information. If they are successful, they can extract any information you or your customer exchange.
There is a substantial need for a system which keeps hackers from intercepting information they can use to their benefit. This glaring vulnerability is the reason SSLs were developed over the years.
To create a secure connection, you must first acquire an SSL certificate from a web services company who is a certificate authority. Certificate authorities, like Comodo or Synatec, act as third-party arbitrators who verify both sides of the transaction. These certificates are like your website’s drivers license. They provide information about your website and that information is verified by a reliable source. Essentially, it proves you are who you say you are.
Once your website is certified, it will form secure connections with customers. When a customer visits your webpages, their browser and your server engage in a ‘handshake.’ At this point, your server presents your SSL certificate, and the customers browser verifies that information by comparing it to the authority’s records.
After your website is verified, the two parties establish a process they will use to encrypt data before sending it to one another.
Finally, the two parties can begin sharing information. Your customers website takes their data, encrypts it, and sends it to your server. Your server is the only other entity who knows how to make sense of the encryption.
How can I tell if a website is secure?
Customers can easily tell if they have a secure connection with your website. This is because most reputable browsers are making it increasingly clear when users are at an insecure location. The most obvious way browsers display the secure connection is through a small green padlock symbol in the address bar. Additionally, a secure website will read HTTPS instead of HTTP.
These are subtle signs of security, but what about insecure sites? Industry-leading browsers, such as Google Chrome, immediately inform their users if the website is not safe. This can include a red-flag warning that tells them not to share sensitive information with a website. If a user comes to your website using one of these browsers, and you do not have an SSL certification, don’t expect them to send you any valuable information.
But do I really need it?
Secure Sockets Layers create two factors essential for any business transaction. For starters, an SSL, ensures authenticity in each transaction. In this context, authenticity means means the customer is positive he or she is interacting with the website they want to. A simple certificate tells the user that your website represents you and your company.
Additionally, there is tremendous value in the use of encrypted data. Even if a hacker managed to intercept the data you are exchanging, they wouldn’t be able to understand what they are looking at. Encryption ensures no one will be able to see valuable information except for you and your customer.
Aside from security and comfort, there are other added benefits that help your business flourish.
Web browsers like Google are much more friendly toward secure websites. In January 2017, Google Chrome began marking sites without HTTPS as non-secure. Nowadays, it requires HTTPS for all sites that collect sensitive information. By penalizing websites for having HTTP, Google is helping ensure that users have a private and secure digital experience. It also indicates that not having an SSL will lead to decreased traffic.
On their national platform, The Better Business Bureau also suggests every business uses a secure sockets layer. Some states take it a step further, requiring businesses to use an SSL if they want to be BBB certified.
Finally, HTTPS pages also load significantly faster than their HTTP counterparts, so your visitors are more likely to enjoy their experience and stick around.
If you aren’t using an SSL these days, your shooting yourself in the foot. The certification process is relatively painless, especially considering the amount of security you get in return. If you are interested in adding an SSL to your website, we’d love to help out. At Web Design by Knight, we offer HTTP/SSL upgrades at an affordable rate.