What is SSL and Why it Matters in 2021
An SSL certificate is a simple way to enhance the security of your website. Protect your customers and protect your business with an SSL certificate.
What is SSL and Why it Matters in 2021
For every business it's important to make sure that your customers feel safe when visiting your website. While businesses are struggling to keep their operations afloat during the sweeping COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a perfect haven for hackers to take advantage of the situation.
One of the simplest ways to help enhance website security is by encrypting the connection using an SSL certificate.
To customers it might just seem pretty basic, a lock on the left side of the URL. But it means much more to them than they might actually be aware of. Read on to find out more about SSL certificates and why they are so important for you, your customers, and your business.
What is an SSL Certificate?
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. In short, an SSL is there to make sure that anything happening between the customer and the server is encrypted. It provides a layer of security to help prevent unwanted third parties from reading the transmission.
Any website can be SSL certified, one of the telltale signs is the lock on the left of the URL and it being referred to as https as opposed to http.
SSL Encryption – How it Works
Encryption is a process of converting data into an unreadable format to help prevent unwanted third parties from reading or altering the data. It’s a method used to increase the security of communications between the server and the client.
Reading and deciphering the encrypted data is done using “keys”, namely a public key and a private key. One is used to encrypt the data, while the other is used to decrypt the data on the other end. The keys can be in various lengths, called bits. The more bits in a key, the harder it is to break.
The two most common SSL encryption levels is 128-bit and 256-bit. In this case 256-bit encryption is much stronger than 128-bit. Most hosting companies have started adopting 256-bit as their default encryption for SSL.
What Happens if You Do Not Have an SSL?
An SSL certificate is not required to host your website, but they are highly recommended for everyone. Here are a few things that may happen if you do not have an SSL installed on your website.
- Risk of data breaches (credit cards, personal information being stolen)
- Encryption is very important nowadays, with the mass amounts of information being transferred around the web there's always the risk of information being stolen and misused.
- Reduced search engine rankings.
- Google has confirmed that secured connections are part of their ranking signals in order to encourage website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep more users safe on the web. This means if two websites are considered to have the same level of authority, the one with a secure connection will rank higher.
- Loss of customer traffic
- As an example, Google Chrome will flag any website without an SSL certificate as “Not Secure” which will impact the amount of people coming to your website.
SSL for PCI Compliance
With the rise of e-commerce and local businesses shifting their operations to a more digital storefront, to facilitate the challenges during the pandemic, internet security becomes a more paramount issue.
Most payment processors require you to maintain a PCI compliant website in order to accept transactions online. Without an SSL certificate, users are at high risk of having their personal and financial information being stolen. Some payment processors may even stipulate the minimum level of encryption required by your SSL certificate.
Which Type of SSL Do I Need?
There are several types of SSL certificates available on the market including:
- Organization Validated Certificates (OV SSL)
- Unified Communications Certificate (UCC)
- Domain Validated Certificates (DV SSL)
- Wildcard SSL Certificate
- Multi-Domain SSL Certificate (MDC)
- Extended Validation Certificates (EV SSL)
Most businesses will be fine with a validated certificate, however some regulated industries like financial or medical may require specific types of encryption. The cost can vary depending on the type of certificate and the provider.
How Can I Get an SSL?
The first step is finding a provider like AT&T Website Solutions. We offer basic and premium SSL solutions for websites built and hosted with AT&T Website Solutions.
Once installed, the SSL does the rest. Each certificate has an expiration date, so don’t forget to renew it regularly to help provide that your website stays protected.