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News and insights on various topics from the team at Rush Hour.

It’s About Time More Websites Used SSL

Published July 15, 2017 by Rush Hour

SSL

What Exactly is SSL?

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is an essential component of the secure internet and protects sensitive information that is exchanged across it. SSL as an encryption technology was created in 1990. SSL works by establishing a secure encrypted connection between the client (you) and a host computer or server (website). This allows for private, and often sensitive information, to be exchanged securely without problems such as data tampering, message forgery and eavesdropping.

SSL is enabled on a website via a properly installed and configured SSL Certificate. SSL Certificates are provided by Certificate Authorities – which are entities that issue digital certificates to organizations or individuals who have passed a validation process.

Different Certificate Authorities provide different products, prices and SSL certificate features. Some of the more popular SSL Certificate Authorities as Verisign, Comodo, DigiCert, Symantec, GlobalSign and Trustwave.

Why Should More Websites Use SSL?

SSL Encrypts Sensitive Information

By using encryption, SSL ensures that information that is transmitted or shared between users and a website can only be read and understood by the intended parties. With SSL enabled, information that is transmitted becomes unreadable to everyone except for the server (website) you are sending the information to. This protects the transmission of information from hackers and identity thieves.

SSL encryption is absolutely essential for ecommerce storefronts given the sensitivity of the information that is exchanged: credit card details, logins, password, addresses, etc.

In our opinion, the time has come for all websites (not just ecommerce sites or other transactional type websites like online banking) to make use of SSL to secure information that is transmitted with their users. Almost every website these days has some kind or form that they use to collect or have their users submit information. This information has to be treated securely and made private as well, as is often the case, this information contains sensitive data like email addresses and contact information.

SSL Provides Authentication

In addition to encryption, a properly installed and configured SSL certificate can also provide authentication.  Put simply, with SSL, you can be sure that you are exchanging information with the right website and not someone posing as an impostor who is trying to steal your information.

Authentication in SSL is done via the SSL certificate. The SSL certificates that are issued by trusted SSL providers ensure that the company (and the website they operate) is legitimate.

SSL Enhances Trust

You can tell that a website is using SSL by looking at the address bar of your browser. Typically, a website that is using SSL will have a URL address that begins with HTTPS (versus HTTP for non-SSL sites) and will also include a green padlock icon in front of the URL.

Many online shoppers are now more conscious about their online security and will often check that an online store is using SSL before making a purchase. More importantly, statistics show that consumers are more likely to buy from a store that uses SSL. In fact, one recent study showed that 60% of online buyers would abandon their purchase at the last minute if they saw that their connection was not HTTPS / SSL secured.

Trust is important not just for ecommerce websites but for all websites. If fact, starting in January 2017 Google’s Chrome browser (the most widely used browser) started labelling websites that do not have SSL enabled as “Not Secure”. More and more people are starting to take their online security more seriously and so should website owners.

SSL Is Sometimes Required for Compliance

For ecommerce websites that accept online payments, it is important (and often times required) that the website passes PCI (Payment Card Industry) standards. One of the requirements is for SSL to be properly enabled and configured for the ecommerce site.

SSL Helps with SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Since 2014 HTTPS has been considered as a ranking signal by Google’s ranking algorithm. This move was part of Google’s push to encourage more security across the internet by rewarding websites who make use of secure SSL technology. Fast forward to 2017, and some SEO experts believe that using SSL / HTTPS can boost your ranking in Google by at least 5%.

Search Engine Optimization is essential for a website’s success – so the 5% boost from SSL is definitely worth considering.

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