When you launch your business online, there are a lot of things to think about. It’s not just the style and functionality of your website that you need to think about. You need to think about the technicalities and security of your website too. An SSL certificate is one feature that can to be added to a website. It helps protect your sensitive information, customer’s sensitive information and keep criminals at bay.
SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. It basically offers a secure foundation for any website. The technology establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring all data passed between the two is encrypted.
In a real world situation, this means that sensitive information, which passes from a customer’s browser to your web server, remains private and integral. Data that typically passes between the two includes customer names, credit card numbers and addresses. If not protected, these details can fall into the hands of criminals.
While SSL Certificates are important for all types of websites, they are absolutely essential for e-commerce sites and sites that take payments through the site, rather than via a payment gateway such as PayPal or SagePay.
SSL is easily identified on a website these days, either by the use of the “green bar” which contains the registered business name of the company, or the simple green padlock symbol which indicates that everything is nice and secure.
The SSL certificate offers so many benefits. Even though SSL certificates need to be renewed annually and come at a cost, the advantages far outweigh these obstacles.
The main purpose of an SSL certificate is to encrypt information. This renders personal information unreadable to anyone without the proper encryption key. So, should something ever go wrong with the security of your site, the information leaked will be useless.
If you want to operate an online store or take credit card payments from customers via your website, you need an SSL certificate. In order to meet Payment Card Industry regulations, an online business needs an SSL certificate with the proper encryption of at least 128-bit. The certificate needs to provide a private connection on any page that requires the input of customer information and data. Note that this is not essential if you intend on using a third party payment gateway to process payments.
SSL isn’t just important because it’s a requirement; it’s important for keeping your customers and your business safe too. Furthermore, customers can view the documents on an SSL certificated site to validate that the SSL certificate can be trusted. Documents will confirm if your site is up to date and that the website is really yours and not an imitation.
A safe online shopping service instils confidence. Think about it: If you go to buy something on a website, do you make sure the lock symbol appears on the address bar? Do you look out for ‘https’ rather than ‘http’? When consumers see https, the lock symbol or the green bar, they know the website they are using is safe and that their personal data is being kept secure.
One of the benefits for your business is it lends itself well to your SEO efforts – especially in Google results. While your site won’t be boosted to the top of the search engine, SSL can help with your overall rankings. This is because search engines like Google will try and direct visitors to secure equivalents of a company’s http pages wherever possible.
Google has also recently updated it’s merchant guidelines for shopping campaigns on it’s AdWords platform, by insisting sites must have an active SSL in place in order to have their shopping campaigns verified.
Need help with the technical side of your website? If you’d like some help from the experts, get in touch with the 21 Digital team. We can give your website a technical check over and ensure that any technical requirements are looked after. Contact Michael, our Technical Director, on 01254 660 560 to find out more.