How Using SSL Protects Your Website

If you keep your browsers up to date you may already have run into warning messages when you try to go to unsecured websites.  For example, in Firefox the message is: “Your connection is not secure.” In Chrome it’s: ” Your connection is not private,”  and these messages are followed by  a possible explanation of why your browser is blocking you from going to the website you just tried to reach.

Now, you could brush it off as a mild irritant in your browsing routine, but the implications for your business are much heavier and far-reaching than you’d think. As a casual visitor to someone else’s website, those messages may not worry you that much, but if you’re on the other side of the table, you absolutely need a secured website when you have an online business. That’s where SSL comes in.

Get a basic overview here:  Google Chrome to start marking HTTP connections as insecure (PC World)

Here’s why SSL is important: In essence, it adds another layer of security and legitimacy over the operation.

  • It adds an extra layer of protection especially when you process sensitive, critical personal and financial information on your site — of course, encryptions protecting sensitive and critical financial information on the server side is also a must.
  • It provides extra reassurance to visitors and customers that your website has protection in place when it’s collecting any kind of sensitive data like log-ins and passwords, and credit card information.

 

Something else that your visitors may not have considered is their own browser personalization (whether desktop or mobile app). Plug-ins are also evolving towards greater security,  and your visitors may have ones that will block them from accessing your website for security reasons. Assuring them your website is secure can only be backed up by solid proof:  Using an active SSL cert.

The push is increasing internet security wherever possible due to the continuous evolution of hacking methods. Phishing, malware, holding information hostage… we have a lot to worry about,  and on an industry level, the people responsible for updating our browser engines are doing their part to help, and thus the warnings.

To protect your site  and anyone visiting  it, get an SSL certificate.

What do you mean, “secure?”
When we say “secure’ in this case, we’re referring to having a site that uses the HTTPS protocol to prove that the site is what it says it is — thus the need for a static (unchanging) IP address, as opposed to dynamic addresses which can shift around. With the HTTPS protocol enabled, this means any data you send to and is sent to you from the website as a visitor is shielded both ways. This blocks hackers from inserting themselves in between visitors  and the website and intercepting the data.

You can buy these certificates from Certification Authorities (CA’s) , which are trusted entities that issue certificates after application and payment –although there are free SSL certificates available, but those typically have a shelf-life of months, rather than years. You can also check with your own web-host to see if they have any set-up in place which allows you to get an SSL certificate, and can automatically update it (for a small fee or perhaps free with the hosting package.)

What for?
To certify that your site is your site (you usually have to send in proof of identity and business registration)  and is where it says it is (dedicated IP address). With a properly installed certificate, that credential will enable your website to ‘talk’ with your visitors’ computers and other websites  on a more secure level.

An SSL certificate is actually a text file you use to  install on your site, using cPanel or WordPress, for example.

For WordPress there are plug-ins to make the process easier.

You can also check your SSL grade on SSL Server Test, a “free online service performs a deep analysis of the configuration of any SSL web server on the public Internet.”

Again, the importance of website security can’t be overstated when it comes to having an online business.

Front-end benefits.

  • Website visitors are assured your site is legitimate and not a fly-by-night set-up, and that their data and  visits are secure with you.
  • Customers are assured that the process where they input sensitive information on your website is secure, and this knowledge helps with customer retention.

Back-end benefits.

  • You add another layer of protection between sensitive data and tech-savvy people with ill intent.
  • Your website can gain a better ranking in the search engines because of its legitimacy. Remember, we’re all moving towards more secure computing.

Resources:

 

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