Consumer trust and online business powered by SSL
SSL/TLS certificates can be procured online from several online providers. There are various types of SSL certificates available in the market based on the levels of security that the site owner wants to benchmark. But here is the truth - only 0.1 % of the entire Internet world uses SSL. This brings us to the fact that security aspects are often neglected in the real world
For several years now, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates have been protecting websites and other online assets of companies. So to say, the internet usage started with the ‘www’ era and has now moved to an https era, where users prefer to use a website secured by SSL certificate indicated through https prefix to the domain name rather than www.
If you notice, browsers nowadays have started showing a padlock, instead of an https prefix. This lock symbolizes that the website carries an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate, a standard security protocol, which will make sure that the data you share to this website will not be accessible / intercepted by a third party. SSL protocol is now deprecated due to security concerns making way for a new protocol called Transport Layer Security (TLS). Today the active TLS protocol is TLS 1.2 and newer versions are being developed.
SSL/TLS certificates can be procured online from several online providers. There are various types of SSL certificates available in the market based on the levels of security that the site owner wants to benchmark. But here is the truth – only 0.1 % of the entire Internet world uses SSL. This brings us to the fact that security aspects are often neglected in the real world. Many end-users and organizations have found themselves to have delayed the adoption of SSL due to complexity or price issues which may explain why only a small set of websites on the internet to-date have adopted SSL.
If the e-commerce website or websites you are visiting has no padlock or the URL says “Not Secure”- you may need to read this article to know the real reasons.
Why SSL matters today?
SSL/TLS is a secure protocol that works on the top of HTTP to provide security. This means that all the data shared on the network will be encrypted and routed using an HTTP connection using SSL/ TLS combination called HTTPS (which you would see when entering a website that has adopted an SSL). Customers have a tradition of trusting businesses only if they find visible security parameters in the real world. Similar tradition and trust factors apply to websites and online e-commerce platforms as well.
Today, companies and individuals running their online businesses realize the importance of the extra layer of protection that can make customers and visitors feel secure. People share banking information and card details for making online product purchases, transferring money online or submitting their personal information for availing various benefits and offers. To protect such users and business interests, the General Data Protection Regulations insists to safeguard the contact & identity details of individuals. According to this regulation, even a simple website capturing a visitor’s contact details in the ‘contact us’ page can be vulnerable to data theft. All this shared information could contain personal data along with banking data, which is otherwise not supposed to be leaked out to any third person. The third person here could be a hacker or malicious program that can interject online transactions (without the user or site admin knowing) and steal bits of information.
Before panicking you may take a moment to thank cyber security experts who study these threats and update security features to withstand such attacks by creating SSL/ TLS certificates. Today, there are several SSL certificates available in the market and all you need to do is keep the below mentioned features (which are quite important) in mind before availing them:
– Symmetric 256-bit Encryption
– New Powerful 256-bit ECC Keys or Conventional 2048-bit RSA keys
– Compatibility with popular web browsers
– Compatibility with mobile devices across all popular platforms
Role of Certifying Authority (CA) in securing data transmission
Every SSL certificate is digitally signed by trusted CA’s. Known as Trusted Root CA store, the SSL certificate issued to any website identifies and authenticates the organization when a customer approaches the website using his browser. Customers can visibly experience trust as their browser identifies this website as compliant, authentic and verified to share information. SSL encrypts all the data shared during transmission over an SSL forged website. This means customer data “in transit” is not accessible to any third party or hackers. Hackers will not be able to access this data or the session as it would appear gibberish even if they tried to.
SSL/ TLS have specific validity term once bought. SSL/TLS certificates are valid for a maximum of 2 years and have to be renewed after that. hey also come with 3 different variants called domain-validated (DV), organization-validated (OV) and extended-validation (EV) certificates.
– Domain Validated certificate (DV): DV certificates guarantee that the domain name is validated and you are browsing the actual website displayed in the browser’s address bar, thus mitigating man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack.
– Organization validated certificate (OV): OV certificate also guarantees the name of the organization which owns the domain name similar to offerings given by a DV certificate.
– Extended validation certificate (EV): An EV certificate also guarantees the legal existence of the organization owning the domain name, where the CA will check the legal registries and authorization for such certificates.
Thus, these different types of certificates can promise different levels of security assurances based on business requirement.
Role of popular search engines
Now, adding an SSL certificate and switching on HTTPS delivery not only boosts security but helps in getting higher search rankings too. Here is the smart move- search engines encourage websites to be secured and protect their users thereby rewarding them by ranking them. The rankings are done by search engine algorithms using a web crawler or Spider as they are popularly called. The crawlers consider SSL certificate installed on the website as an important component to increase page ranking. SSL, on the other hand, adds mandatory security compliance which is preferred by search engine crawlers helping a website rank better. Better ranking websites attract loyal customers, which is essential for a business to grow.
This way, popular search engine companies are trying their best to enforce algorithm updates and new security norms for fortifying security at the website level. Without any question, we can see that they are trying to bring the real world trust factors by helping online businesses and ecommerce platforms become compliant with security norms. Businesses too are reacting positively to it as they understand its importance to grow and remain competitive.
Show your customers’ that you care about their security
To sum up, the competitive advantages of adopting SSL are immense. Fortifying business websites with SSL can help boost traffic and trust levels of the customers. The encryption provided by SSL Certificates can help avert data theft and breach of confidential information. All this simply implies that your business website really needs an SSL Certificate!
Authored by Vijay Kumar, Senior VP and CTO, eMudhra
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