What Are SSL Certificates And What Do They Mean To You?

SSL certificateEveryone who has ever had a computer infected with a virus (most of us at some point) will know that Internet security protection is important. With hackers working day and night on phishing scams, trojans and ever more sophisticated viruses, the web is a scary place. But it doesn’t need to be if businesses invest in SSL certificates.

What are SSL certificates?

SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. These security certificates have been in use for nearly 20 years and are a widely recognised method of keeping private data such as credit card details safe across an online connection. This is particularly important for any businesses which ask customers or clients to make online payments and transactions, but SSL certificates can also be used to secure internal communications between employees across a company intranet or between mobile devices.

When you purchase an SSL it creates a secure link between a visitor’s web browser and your website. This means anything sent via that link, like bank details, will be encrypted, or scrambled. So, even if a hacker does manage to intercept the details on your email, company intranet or operational platforms, they won’t be able to read or use the information.

When the intended recipient of the information receives the encrypted data their end, they have a special decryption key, which effectively unscrambles the data, making it easy to read and process.

There are several types of SSL certificates available depending on your business needs. Internet security company Symantec now offer a choice of three different encryption algorithms.

To help navigate the world of online security and to find the solution that is right for you and your business, Symantec have also created an SSL certificates interactive guide which explains exactly how the technology works, how best to use it and lots of other useful information about internet and online security.

SSL certificate

Why do you need an SSL Certificate?

No one’s immune: Even if your company is a one-man operation, it doesn’t mean you’re immune to cyber attacks. Malicious groups and software will target information channels of any size, as you’ll know if your personal email has ever been hacked. Sadly, small companies are often easy targets as they are less likely to be aware of and to invest in internet security measures. Don’t be put off by thinking that protection measures are unnecessarily expensive (the small outlay is no comparison to the savings you will make in the long run by protecting both yourself and your consumers).

Trust: Anyone who has ever been a victim of identity theft online will know that once they have found out the source of the theft, it put them off using that website again.

When a company invests in an SSL certificate they can display a certificate logo on their website and on every page where personal information is required. Don’t be fooled into cutting prices with a low quality brand however, consumers are keen to see fully authenticated certificates that will help to build their trust in your company. This will encourage both customers and clients to place their trust in you and hopefully do more business with you in the long run.

Internet browsers are now becoming increasingly good at checking the security settings of websites that people are visiting. In Internet Explorer version 7 or above the address bar will turn green when people are viewing a website that has what it deems to be strong security settings, while Firefox displays a padlock symbol. Consumers are being taught to look for these cues when choosing which websites to do business with.

Productivity: It’s not just your customers that you need to protect. If your business’ computer system is hacked, it can be more than a minor inconvenience, it can stop operations, lose you money and in the most extreme cases, even cost you your livelihood. So, if you want to keep your organization running smoothly consider investing in an SSL Certificate issued by a trusted certificate authority.