Everyone has heard about security problems on the internet. Organizations from government departments to small businesses all suffer breaches from time to time, so security is important. One way to make a website more secure is with an SSL certificate. The actual security they provide is crucial; as is the level of trust such technology gives to website users.
But what does an SSL certificate do? Essentially it establishes a secure connection between a user’s browser and your website. It’s like having your own mini version of what Jack Bauer has on the television program 24 when he gets a secure connection to talk to the president. Your secure connection is between your website and your customer.
You’ll see SSL in action if you use the web’s most popular websites. For example, go to Google or Facebook. You will see two things in your browser that show you that these websites have made a secure connection between their web servers and your browser.
How it Works
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and it works by encrypting the connection between your users and your web server. To make it work on your website you need an SSL certificate.
Here is a simplified explanation of the process:
Why is it Important?
SSL certificates secure the data sent between your server and your user’s computer in a way that cannot be tampered with. This data could be information, login details, or payment information.
For example, when you type a search into Google.com, it is impossible for someone to eavesdrop on the phrase you are searching for. Similarly, when you log into Facebook, it is not possible to intercept and decipher your password while it is in transit between your computer and Facebook’s servers. And, when you send payment information to PayPal, a hacker cannot listen in and swipe your credit card number.
Your users are afforded the same protections when you install an SSL certificate.
Internet users have come to trust SSL certificates in part because of the setting up process. They are issued by Certificate Authorities. These companies have a root certificate which is pre-loaded into most common web browsers such as Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox. This means the makers of those browsers (Google, Microsoft, Mozilla) know and recognize the Certificate Authority as a trusted source of SSL certificates. The SLL certificates issued by Startups, Inc. come from Comodo, which is a Certificate Authority trusted by web browsers.
It is possible to buy SSL certificates issued by organizations that do not have this level of trust. When this happens the user gets a message in their browser with a warning, which makes most people hit the back button. This is why it’s important to not only have an SSL certificate, but to get one from a trusted source.
When you do, your users will have more confidence in using your website and sending it data.