Online security is a major concern for businesses and customers across the world, and SSL is the simplest solution to this. If your website does not have an SSL certificate, the chances are that your potential customers are already seeing a warning that your site is not secure – and they may not be able to find your website at all since this will have a negative effect on your SEO rankings.
If your website handles any customer data or personal information, an SSL certificate is a must-have. Here, we will discuss what SSL certification really means, and how you can ensure that your business is meeting requirements and protecting the interests of your customers at all times.
What is an SSL certificate?
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, and an SSL certificate simply lets your users know that your website is secure, using an encrypted link and a secure connection between your web browser and theirs to protect all data that passes between the two. An SSL certificate is, essentially, a cryptographic key that creates a single use secure session between two servers, so that all data passed between the web server and browsers remains private and integral.
All websites that have an SSL certificate from Google to validate site content are recognisable because their web addresses include a https:// browser rather than simply http://, which is less secure. A safe SSL connection will show a green padlock next to a https:// link, and customers are becoming more and more aware of the importance of this.
Why do I need SSL certification?
Internet security is a major concern for users and businesses alike, and SSL certification is a good way to reassure your customers and prevent online fraud and identity theft. Any site that uses, collects or exchanges information should be secure, and becoming SSL certified is a simple and straightforward process.
SSL certification will give your business:
- Better website security. If your website takes text inputs, you need SSL certification, whether this is in the form of login panels, contact forms, search bars or other forms of data collection. SSL certification encrypts all sensitive information to ensure that it is unreadable to everyone except the server you are sending it to. A secure website is essential to protect your customers against online crime, and SSL certification is the easiest answer.
- Improved SEO. SSL is a Google search engine ranking factor, and has been playing a key part in the Search Engine Ranking Process (SERP) since 2014. This means that you cannot hope to optimise your search engine rankings unless you are fully SSL certified. Your SEO will also be indirectly affected by your SSL certification, since research suggests that your users will be more inclined to click through and to stay longer on your site when they know it is safe. Having a website that is not protected by an SSL certificate is likely to lead to visitors leaving your site as soon as they receive the search engine warning that the site is not secure, and this will be reflected in the SERP.
- Secure payments. SSL ensures a safe online shopping experience for your customers, protecting their data from anyone who wishes to use it maliciously or for their own purposes. Weaknesses in your network are most often identified when information is transmitted, and this is a huge potential problem for you and for your clients. SSL certificates offer a solution to this problem, protecting your system against transit based hacks that threaten both parties. In order to receive online payments, your website must be PCI compliant. One of the twelve primary requirements of the payment card industry (PCI) is having an SSL certificate, so this is unavoidable if you accept online payments.
- The green padlock. The easily recognisable green padlock symbol helps to build website user trust and improves conversion rate. This enables users to be sure that they are sending their information to the legitimate server, and not to an imposter. An SSL certificate from a trusted SSL provider gives peace of mind to your users, and also protects your business against those who impersonate legitimate sites in order to steal data.
- GDPR compliance. GDPR is applicable to all businesses and organisations that deal with customers in Europe, and compliance with regulations is mandatory. GDPR legislation does not directly refer to SSL certificates, but it contains clear requirements that can only be met when SSL certificates are used. SSL certification ensures encrypted communications between systems, so that regulated information is protected with appropriate technical and organisational measures, and this helps to ensure GDPR compliance as well as protecting your customers and your business.
How much does an SSL certificate cost?
The cost of your SSL certificate will vary depending upon where you buy it, and you can obtain a certificate for free or work with an experienced company to purchase a premium package and have this recognised in your website address. For example, here at ePresence, we can help you to upgrade your website from HTTP to HTTPS by implementing a security certificate, and this will involve acquiring and installing your SSL certificate, doing a full site back up and creating a 301 redirect. We will also update Google Analytics and Search Console, and you can relax in the knowledge that all of the details are taken care of.rvices.
How do I get an SSL certificate?
Trusted SSL providers will issue SSL certificates to organisations that have been verified through a process of several identity checks. Some providers require additional checks, and some types of SSL certificate, such as EV SSL Certificates, involve a more rigorous validation process. It is advisable to take advice from an experienced digital marketing agency in order to make the best choice for your business.
There are three types of SSL certificate available to choose from, and these are as follows:
- Domain, which is the most basic type, simply serves to validate the ownership of the domain. Most sites use this type of SSL certificate, because it can be obtained for free, and is very quick and easy to install.
- Organisation, which requires additional documentation to prove identity, as well as domain ownership.
- Extended, which requires more extensive proof, usually of a legal nature. This is used by large financial institutions such as PayPal, so users are guaranteed the highest level of protection.
It is worth noting that the encryption and protection offered is the same for each of these options, but the additional levels of validation serve to increase confidence in the identity of the website and its owner. If you are, or aspire to be, a leading brand, the extended certificate is well worth the additional time and investment, since this will offer better protection against copycat scams and phishing, such as duplicating websites.
SSL certificates are issued by a certificate authority, and there are many of these to choose from. Certificate authorities are subject to a rigorous validation process, and they must pass in order to become an official CA. The credentials of the CA are included on each SSL certificate issued by them, and the integrity of both parties is protected by the process.to find out more about our services.