Trust is an important quality for every business. This is especially important when you’re an online entrepreneur who owns an e-commerce website because site users are wary about their personal information getting stolen by cybercriminals.
While online shopping has grown exponentially over the last decade, customers remain cautious and won’t patronize e-commerce websites that don’t ensure the protection of their confidential information. One of the best ways to allay the fears of your customers is to secure your website with SSL certificates.
What Are SSL Certificates?
Transacting online is more convenient but the trade-off is the Great Unknown – the threat of hackers lurking on the server sites. Customers feel more confident dealing with a brick-and-mortar business because they can see security measures are in place and there’s an address to the physical location.
In comparison, when they’re transacting with websites, customers don’t know who they’re dealing with and the URL can vanish without a trace.
SSL or Secure Socket Layer is an encryption protocol that was developed by Netscape in 1995. It was created to provide a protected or secure connection between devices operating on the Internet.
For example, when you transact with an e-commerce website, you’ll be transmitting data from your web browser to the site’s server. You don’t know if the server of the e-commerce site has been infiltrated by malware designed to intercept your data.
With SSL, your data becomes encrypted and protected from getting stolen by cybercriminals. Having an SSL certificate is proof that your website is secure and offers data protection for its users.
If you acquire an SSL certificate, your website URL will appear as “HTTPS” instead of “HTTP” with the ”S” meaning “secure”. Likewise, the URL will include the image of a padlock.
In contrast, if your website doesn’t have SSL certificates, your URL will be preceded by the words “Not Secure” or by the image of a slashed padlock.
How Do SSL Certificates Benefit Your Online Business?
Would you transact with a business that was marked by Google as “Not Secure”? According to a survey conducted by GlobalStudy, 84% of consumers won’t transact with a website that’s not secure.
SSL certificates help build trust with your customers. It will assuage fears that their data is at risk of being stolen by cybercriminals and will leave a strong impression that your brand cares about its customers.
Building trust is just one benefit of securing your website with SSL certificates. There are other benefits of having SSL certificates that can contribute to the growth and success of your brand.
1. Professionalize Your Business – Not everyone can get an SSL certificate. You can only get them from a qualified Certification Authority. The CA doesn’t automatically approve all requests for SSL certificates. It must first check on the authenticity and legality of the business.
Thus, if you’re able to acquire SSL certificates for your website, it’s proof that your business is legitimate.
2. Encourage Brand Loyalty – Customers are unlikely to provide confidential information to websites that aren’t secure.
If your website offers subscription-based services, signups for monthly newsletters, or private members-only arrangements, you won’t get much traction unless you can prove to users that their information is safe with you.
The SSL certificate is the “seal” of safety of your website. In the decision-making process of signing up for your services, not having SSL certificates will be the deal-breaker.
3. Increase Sales – Guess where the customers who abandon the search from websites that aren’t covered by SSL certificates will go to next?
If your website is covered by SSL certificates, you have the opportunity to capitalize on the sales that were foregone by your unsecured competitors.
Consumers are more discerning than ever. They’re well-informed about the rising incidence of hacking and cyber-attacks. Shoppers place a premium on trust and security. And in a competitive industry, you need all the advantages you can get.
4. Protect Your Business Information – The ability of SSL to encrypt data isn’t limited to your site users. Because it encrypts data that’s transmitted from browser to server, the information you transmit to site users and customers is also protected.
For example, you might send your customers a voucher, discount coupons, PDF reports, newsletters, or copies of your chat logs. These types of information will also be protected by your site’s SSL program.
5. Give Your Search Ranking A Boost – Google is the biggest search engine in the world. And if Google wants to throw its weight around, you have to give way or else.
In 2017, Google announced that websites without SSL certificates will be flagged down and penalized in the search rankings. Google has long advocated excellent User Experience (UX) and the search engine giant is well aware of the increasing threat posed by cybercriminals.
Call it Google’s version of tough love, but not having SSL certificates will make it harder for your business to be visible on the Internet.
Thus, if you acquire SSL for your website, not only will you make your users feel more comfortable but you’ll make Google happy as well. And Google might reciprocate by giving your website a boost in the search rankings.
If we’ve convinced you to secure your website with an SSL program, you’ve made the right decision. The next step is finding out the type of SSL certificates your business needs.
What Type Of SSL Certificate Does Your Business Need?
Prior to Google’s advisory, SSL certificates were thought to be only important for e-commerce businesses and other types of websites that ask users to provide personal information to avail of services, newsletters, and access to special features.
However, SSL certificates can do more than just benefit e-commerce and subscription-based websites.
What other processes, transactions, and online activities can SSL protect?
- Credit card transactions
- Transactions via payment platforms
- File sharing processes
- Database/CRM programs
- Email activities
- Website activities such as updating of pages
- System or network login processes
- Workflow processes
- Website administrative functions
SSL can be applied across a wide range of industries. Depending on the nature of your business, here are the types of businesses for you to consider:
1. EV SSL Certificates – EV stands for Extended Validation. This type of SSL is ideal for websites that ask users to provide personal information and process payment transactions via credit card and other electronic payment systems.
If you have an EV SSL, the name of your company and the CA that issued the certificate will appear after your URL.
2. OV SSL Certificates – OV stands for Organization Validation. This type of SSL is proof that you have the legal right to use the domain name. OV SSL certificates contain business information needed by users to know if it’s safe to transact on your site.
3. DV SSL Certificates – DV stands for Domain Validation. This type of SSL certificate confirms that you own the domain name. The qualifying process of DV SSL isn’t as strict or comprehensive as an EV or OV certificate but it’s enough to assure your users that your website is safe.
EV SSL offers the highest levels of encryption and site security and thus, it costs more to acquire the certificates. If your website receives a high volume of traffic and processes a ton of payment transactions, you must secure your platform with EV SSL certificates.
If you’re running a Business-to-Administration (B2A) business that deals with the government and local agencies, you’ll definitely need to secure your website with an EVL SSL certificate.
Likewise, an EVL SSL certificate is the right choice for a Consumer-to-Administration (C2A) business that provides government/public agencies a platform to run their processes.
In contrast, if your website experiences a low volume of traffic and only a sparse level of online transactions, acquiring an OV SSL certificate is enough. Small-scale or startup Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C) platforms will do just fine with OV SSL certificates.
Once your online business gains traction and experiences a higher volume of activity, then you can switch to EVL SSL.
If you have a basic website that provides business information, publishes blogs, and has sharing features, a DV SSL certificate should fall within your budget and still give your platform adequate protection.
SSL Or TLS: Is There A Difference?
You might have heard of the acronym TLS from web security experts. TLS stands for Transport Layer Security. TLS is sometimes used interchangeably with SSL. While both protocols provide data encryption for websites, there are differences between both SSL and TLS.
- TLS was developed by Consensus Development as an upgraded solution to address the security issues of SSL 3.0.
- TLS prevents cybercriminals from manipulating communication between server and user.
- TLS offers latency support features to stabilize traffic to your website.
- TLS has been reported to speed up connection.
So should you get SSL or TLS for your website?
If you’re running an e-commerce platform where users submit confidential information or have a B2A/C2A business where you’re providing support for the local government and its agencies, you might feel more secure with TLS.
That said, if your budget is limited, EV SSL should offer enough encryption power and security for your website.
It’s been more than 5 years since Google’s “decree” that all websites must be secured by SSL certificates. And that directive rings louder and more relevant today than ever.
Businesses and consumers will continue to capitalize on the opportunities that are available on the Internet. Going online is no longer a trend; it’s already our way of life and work.
For this reason, the level of competition for views has become tighter. You need every advantage over your competitors. Site security and data protection will always be priority considerations for consumers.
And that’s why you must protect your website with SSL certificates.
When users see the HTTPS or padlock icon on your URL, they’ll be happy knowing your website has security measures in place to keep their confidential information safe from cybercriminals.
Although your website should offer other layers of security, at the very least, an SSL certificate will show your users that you care about their safety. SSL will do wonders for your efforts in brand building and SEO.
If you need SSL certificates for your website, give us a call or drop us an email. We can get them for you right away. And we can also fortify your website’s security systems with the best and newest innovations in the fight against cybercriminals.
Feel free to share this article with people you know are interested in keeping their websites safe and protected from hackers.