Most e-commerce sites or online websites selling products are currently using SSL technology to protect the data provided by their customers and clients. However, not all websites, in particular, smaller home business or affiliate types of sites, are currently using SSL/TLS certificates.
Additionally, many websites aren’t set up to be e-commerce sites. This includes blogs, information sites, customer or consumer review websites or other types of sites that don’t collect financial information. These sites, even if they aren’t set up now or never will be used to handle financial transactions, can still benefit from the addition of SSL technology.
To understand how this technology will help any website, let’s take a closer look at the purpose of SSL certificates and what they accomplish.
The Basics of SSL
All Secure Sockets Layer or Transport Security Layer technology is designed to provide a way to transfer information between a server and a client. This can include between mail servers and clients or between web servers and browsers.
This is done via a method known as an SSL handshake. In a very simple form, it uses a set of keys and the certificate from a recognized Certificate Authority. The keys are long strings of random but related numbers that can recognize each other and only each other. One of the keys is a public key and the other is a private key. The private key is maintained exclusively and privately on the server.
Only when the public key and the private key identify each other as valid and also verify the certificate information is the secure connection established. Once established, this provides complete protection by encryption and decryption through the secure channel.
This prevents any 3rd party from accessing the encrypted data and being able to decrypt it to read the information. This is important as the data may pass through more than one server and may even be intercepted by hackers between the sender and the receiver.
Consumer Comfort with Online Transactions
For those old enough to remember, the first attempts to conduct financial transactions online were fraught with cyber security attacks, although they weren’t called that back in the early to mid-1990s.
With the development of SSL, and now the different levels of SSL certificates, consumers have confidence and trust in providing financial information online. They look for the green or gold padlock in the address bar and even for the site seal from a Certificate Authority on the website itself.
This is true for PCs and laptops as well as for mobile device security. In fact, most consumers will e-commerce click off a website without a valid and recognized SSL certificate in place. Consumer training programs have been highly effective in providing education for online shoppers, helping to prevent fraudulent or unsafe websites from gathering financial information from consumers.
Search Engine Ranking Benefits
A website is ranked by search engines based on different algorithms. These are complex formulas that determine a website’s relevance to the information the user types into the search engine box
Google, the most often used search engine worldwide, now factors in the use of Secure Sockets Layer technology. When your site displays the https instead of the basic HTTP, it will receive a slightly higher ranking in the list provided to users.
While this isn’t going to be a major factor for SEO standings and search engine rankings, not having the technology can be the difference between ending up in the top few results for various searches. Even a few positions up the list can make a very big difference in the number of visitors to your site.
This is true if you are in e-commerce site, information site or even a blogging site. Remember, the use of the technology prevents the capture of any data transmitted, including simple things like email addresses and personal information that could be obtained if someone let a comment or signed up for a newsletter from any site.
Stops Copies of Websites
Most people had found themselves on a phishing website at some time when they were online. These sites are set up to look like respectable sites, including some of the larger financial sites or e-commerce sites.
When you choose to proactivity address online cyber security through the use of SSL/TLS certificates, it is possible to protect your websites good name and reputation. Once you have the certificate for the authentic website anyone trying to obtain a certificate for a fake or phishing site will be denied the application through any Certificate Authority. This simple step will prevent this very challenging situation from creating distrust or concern for your current customer base or for new potential customers.
The easy visibility of the secure connection and the ability to demonstrate to customers that you are serious about their protection from cyber security risks is just good business practice. It also allows you to meet some of the requirements to accept online credit and debit card payments through the PCI DSS or the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, an important step for any e-commerce or business site.