A secure socket layer, often referred to as an SSL, is a form of security for websites that handles both sensitive and personal details. This includes names, passwords, phone numbers, emails, home addresses and payment details. By having an SSL on your website, it will establish a secure connection between your business’ server and the customer’s web browser.
By purchasing an SSL for your website, it gives your customers security and confidence that their payment and details are protected, making them more likely to purchase from you again. This is because an SSL encrypts any information that a customer submits to your website. Only the computer that is intended to see the details will be able to access information submitted on the site in its unencrypted form. This will ward off unwanted hackers and fraudsters from being able to access and view customer’s information. To be able to see the information decrypted, they would need the private key which they wouldn’t have unless it was given to them. An SSL can also be seen as a way to ‘future proof’ your brand due to an SSL helping to build consumer trust and brand reputation overall. It can stop anything bad from happening and the reputation of your brand and business being destroyed.
A business with an SSL may also benefit from added brand power. This is because businesses that provide SSL certificates offer other site seals and images to show that your site is safe and secure. These site seals are logos that you can display on your website to verify that you have been validated by an SSL certificate provider. Every certificate authority’s trust seal is different and some look more professional than others. As a business, you should really consider the appearance of the seals in order to maximise customer trust.
Having an SSL provides some form of authentication to customers. This is because customers can see that they are buying goods and services from the real business. There are many scam businesses online which may try and duplicate your website. By having an SSL, it shows that your website is authentic and not a duplicate, preventing customers using the wrong website. To further enforce this confidence, customers will also be able to see details of your business’ SSL certificate. This will show information such as when the certificate is valid from, when it expires and who the certificate provider is.
To be able to accept payment details from customers, an SSL is required. However, if your business takes payments through PayPal or any other third party payment system, an SSL isn’t compulsory. It is only needed if the credit/debit card information is going directly to your business’ server. This is because your business isn’t storing the customer’s personal details in the business server, it doesn’t involve your business doing any encrypting as you aren’t holding any of the information.
Also by having an SSL, it may improve the search engine optimisation of your website. Google is said to have increased website ranking positions for those websites that have an SSL installed on their website. This reduces the chance of your customers getting onto sites that scam, as these will be pushed further down in Google searches on their browser. This is a huge benefit of a business getting an SSL, especially for e-commerce businesses. This improves your business’ search engine optimisation without having to do things such as spamming keywords, although this would still massively contribute. As Google is so large and powerful, other search engines such as Bing have followed and decided to use this ranking system too. If your website hasn’t got an SSL, it could automatically be marked as unsafe in a customer’s web browser. When customers see that their web browser has marked a website as unsafe, they are likely to close the window instantly and not browse the site. In the long run, this could affect your websites traffic. This could then lead to a drop in sales.
SSL can reduce the chances of your customers falling into the trap of phishing emails. If customers are to click into a link that has been put in these e-mails, they are likely to click away instantly if they cannot see an SSL in place on the website.
There are two different types of SSL certificates, standard SSL and extended SSL. A standard SSL certificate changes the HTTP at the start of the URL to HTTPS, this automatically tells the browser that the connection between the server and the browser is secured using SSL. The padlock is also activated, showing your customers that the browser connection to the server is secure. If there is no padlock or the padlock shows a broken symbol, the page does not have an SSL certificate. Customers confidence and trust is almost instant when they see these small, but highly impactive indicators on their web browser.
On the other hand, extended SSL offers the same as a standard SSL certificate and more. As well as the HTTPS and the padlock being shown, the whole address bar will turn from white to green, indicating to visitors that the website is using extended validation SSL. It also offers the website owner’s legally incorporated business name to be displayed on the address bar real estate. This is because in order to be able to issue an Extended Validation SSL Certificate, an in depth security check is needed before the certificate can be issued. Therefore, granting them the added authentication of the business name in the real estate bar.
Overall, SSL protects both the information that you send and also receive, keeping all details secure and safe between both parties. It ensures that all information is handled in a secure manner and remains private and confidential. They are highly effective in giving customers confidence. Even if a customer doesn’t know or understand what an SSL is, they know that a padlock and a green ‘https’ shows that a website is secure can be trusted.