Ever wonder why some websites begin with “http://” and others with “https://”? That “s” stands for “secure”. It indicates that the site you’re browsing is using a protected, encrypted connection. This measure of security has become increasingly important for all sites on the web—both to protect users’ sensitive information and to improve SEO. These days, having an SSL certificate is critical.
What is an SSL Certificate? And How Does it Work?
It’s your electronic gateway!
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security techno-speak for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This may sound all techy on you, but it’s vital. Having an SSL link ensures that all your data passed between the web server and browsers remains private.
Sites that use HTTPS ( rather than HTTP) safeguard their visitors’ information, and now also earn better rankings in search engines—even Google has prioritized sites using HTTPS. More about that below.
If you don’t have the SSL certificate, a secure connection cannot be established, that means, your company information will not be digitally connected to a cryptographic key.
SSL Certificates include a lot of crucial info:
- Name of the site owner
- Website serial number and expiration date
- Copy of the certificate holder’s public key
- Digital Signature of the certificate-issuing authority
Back in the day, the only sites that were really recommended to have SSL certificates were stites that gathered people’s private info, mostly for purchases. E-commerce sites, reservation sites, basically any site where you were required to enter payment or other private info in order to complete a transaction. Yes, it was important to have even if you were using Paypal or another payment site that protected your credit card info. An extra layer.
Fast forward to today and those days are gone. In a non-secure hyper-hackable internet world, now if you don’t have an SSL Certificate, Google is going to flag your website- in more than 1 way.
Why? Because we turn to the internet for everything. From selling to buying, it is the gateway of an e-world. With this dominating trend, online security has become a necessity.
Undoubtedly, Google loves its users and therefore, is coming up with every possible way to make us feel secure here on the internet. This is a good thing. With its recent announcement, earlier this year, Google will begin flagging all the unencrypted internet by July 2018.
This means that Google will be flagging 2/3rd of the web as unsafe.
AND to make matters worse, if your website does NOT have an SSL certificate, it will display a nasty, ugly ‘Not Secure’ warning in the URL bar in front of your website address. .
Who Needs to Have an SSL?
With Chrome version 62 being released, websites with any kind of text input will need an SSL certificate. Answer these 2 questions:
- Does your website include text inputs in the form of login panels, contact forms, search bars, etc.?
- Is your website on HTTP://?
If it’s a YES to both these questions, you need to install SSL to avoid any risks or warnings. As stated above, if you don’t implement SSL soon, your visitors will see a “Not Secure” warning on visiting your site
4 Reasons Why an SSL Certificate is Critical
Here are 4 of the main reasons to get your company or organizational website an SSL Certificate if you haven’t done so already:
1. They Encrypt Sensitive Information
The information you send on the Internet is passed from computer to computer to get to the destination server. Any computer in between you and the server can see your credit card numbers, usernames and passwords, and other sensitive information if it is not encrypted. When an SSL certificate is used, the information becomes unreadable to everyone except for the server you are sending the information to.
2. They Protect You From Cybercriminals
Cybercriminals are dang clever, and more dangerous now than ever. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, cybersecurity damages will cost the world over $6 trillion annually by 2021. It is impossible to escape the rising tide of cybercrime if your website doesn’t have an SSL certificate. Cyber-criminals will identify weakness(es) in your network…mostly, when information is transmitted. Recently, the black eyed masked people have been refining malicious strains that are specifically designed to capture data while moving between destinations. (Told you, these people are clever!)
It’s vital to protect yourself from this mess by installing SSL certificates which offer a vital means of defending against transit-based hacks.
3. Having an SSL Certificate Builds Trust & Brand Power
With SSL certificates, your customers will see visuals like a lock icon and green address bar that indicates well-trusted encryption is in use. If I as a customer, see that on your website, I will be assured that my information is traveling safe. Right? Undoubtedly, this will add brand power and boost the credibility to your brand.
4. An SSL certificate is good for SEO
Just common sense. When a site is trusted more, people will visit it more. That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. Google is already beginning to favor https sites over http and this will only increase more as time moves on. Google Chrome is labeling http sites as insecure, warning users that the connection is not secure. No bueno. Also, an SSL site loads much faster than http, and we all know what happens when someone has to wait an extra 2 seconds for a site to load. Sayonara, baby.