Businesses are increasingly moving online to reach out to their audience. It proves to be a cost-effective means to quickly reach out to a larger section of their target market. While the number of websites has increased, the number of data breaches has also kept pace and increased. A study by the University of Maryland states that there is a cyberattack every 39 seconds.
The importance of website security has grown manifold, as any data breach leads to high costs for the business. Moreover, it can also lead to a severe loss of customer trust. One of the best ways to thwart a data breach is to install an SSL certificate. This article will discuss the importance of SSL for online business websites.
What is an SSL certificate?
SSL – the Secure Socket Layer, is a security standard that is accepted globally. An SSL certificate allows encrypted communication between the web server and the visitor’s browser. It helps secure the underlying customer information on the server, like login details, personal details, and financial information.
It is a digital certificate that validates the identity of any website and uses the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) technology. The encrypted exchange of information between the web server and the browser ensures that no unauthorized third party can access the information.
How does SSL work?
Public key cryptography uses a private and public key pair to ensure data is transmitted. When a user connects to the website, the user’s browser asks for the public key of the web server in exchange for its public key. This incident allows encryption of the messages that the other party can only read.
When the user sends a message to the web server, it uses the server’s public key for encryption. The server will decrypt the information using its private key. The message that must be sent back to the browser is encrypted as well. A renowned Certificate Authority provides SSL certificates.
SSL also offers authentication
Websites are continuously facing a risk of getting hacked by cybercriminals. One of the ways to thwart such attacks is by installing an SSL certificate. They are provided only after proper validation according to the type of certificate chosen. Moreover, if you are running an e-commerce site, you will be required to install an SSL certificate to adhere to the PCI-DSS guidelines.
The importance of SSL for online business websites can be known because it can protect visitors against phishing sites. All visitors must check the padlock on the address bar. The padlock ensures that the website has installed an SSL certificate. The certificates are provided only by a renowned third party – the CA.
The level of validation provides visual cues for the visitor and can enthuse a sense of trust that they are interacting with a valid entity. The visitor can quickly look into the details of the certificate installed by the website. Businesses can choose reliable yet cheap SSL certs such as AlphaSSl, RapidSSL, Comodo SSL certificates provided by a renowned Certificate Authority and have an assortment of products that can fit any budget.
Benefits of SSL certificate
Improves customer trust
How would you feel if you heard that the database of your favorite brand had been hacked? Your customers would feel the same. No one will prefer to transact with a business with poor networks. The website visitors will fear parting with information if they find out that your website is unprotected.
Your site must have visible cues to ensure your visitors can transact with your website, knowing that it is safe. Apart from the padlock, most premium certificates also provide a Trust Seal that you can place at prominent portions on your website.
Ensures data security
The importance of website security emanates from the increased events of data pilferage by hackers. Even the best brands have fallen prey to such attacks. It becomes necessary that all websites install SSL certificates that can help enhance the data security of the underlying customer information.
The encryption of the communication exchanges also ensures that there can be no man-in-the-middle attacks that can wreak havoc on the company’s database. If you are sitting on a vast array of user information, it is suggested to use these certificates as a prominent defense against hackers.
Prevent security warnings
Google is instrumental in ensuring a safe browsing experience for internet users. The web browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are flagging non-HTTPS websites as “Not Secure”. Given that internet users are pretty apprehensive due to the increase in cyberattacks, such warnings are bound to scare them.
The visitors readily abandon such unsafe sites and move to the competition and rarely come back. It would mean lost business along with bad word-of-mouth. There are chances that the browsers block such non-HTTPS websites altogether in the future.
Better search rankings
The Google search engine made changes to its ranking algorithm back in 2014 that provided preferential treatment to HTTPS websites. It is also evident from some research that has been done in this field. Moreover, being a secure website also brings in more visitors to your site. They will stay longer on your website, meaning that the authority of your website will increase too. It will help to improve the website rank during keyword searches.
The SSL certificate must be valid.
Earlier, the SSL certificates were valid for a longer term, between two to five years. Due to the importance of website security, the validity period has been brought down. Google Chrome and Apple Safari do not trust certificates with a validity of more than 398 days. Businesses must ensure that the SSL certificates continue to remain valid.
It may be a problem for web admins who must manage several such certificates. There have been few instances where the validity of the certificate has lapsed. Renowned entities like LinkedIn and Equifax also missed renewals at times. It becomes necessary that web admins set notifications to remind them to renew the certificates on time.
How can visitors check if the certificates are valid?
Most visitors are satisfied to see the padlock on the address bar. For further details, they must click on the padlock to check the validity of the certificate. There will be a pop-up, and you will see this tab “Certificate (Valid).”
If you click on this tab, you can check the details of the certificate. You can also check the certificate installation in-depth at SSL Labs.
The internet has made our lives easier but has also brought forth the menace of hackers. There have been several incidents of data breaches over the years. It increases the importance of SSL for online business websites. The benefits of moving to the HTTPS platform are immense. Apart from data security, businesses are also benefited through better search rankings and no security warnings.