Have you noticed that when you type in a website's URL, a little lock appears to the left side of your search bar? Or have you seen a pop-up notification that tells you that a website you’re visiting is NOT secure? Well, this occurs to let you know whether or not the website you are visiting is SSL Certified.
You might ask yourself, what does SSL Certified mean and what does it have to do with my business? Surprisingly, it has everything to do with your online security. The SSL or Secure Socket Layer is a certified seal of trust. This means that your website’s visitors are able to communicate and/or purchase safely from your company. More importantly, any messages or financial information that could be shared between your business and a customer will not be intercepted nor read by other parties. The SSL creates a secure link between your website and your website’s visitors, establishing an encrypted communication link so that all contact is secure. The SSL creates a private and safe channel of correspondence.
The SSL Certificate is a computer file that combines a cryptographic key with your companies information. While on a server, it allows your website to secure a connection to the web browser. Your SSL Certificate will conduct a level of safety checks that are made by the Certificate Authority that issues the certification. The Certificate Authority has a Root Certificate, and if the Root Certificate and the remote-issued SSL Certificate are not correctly matched, the browser message to the customer will display untrusted errors. However, if they are matched, the customer can proceed to the trusted site.
The Root Certification awards a company/organization an SSL Certificate. The Root Certificate must be present on the customers computer in order for the SSL Certificate to be trusted. Operating systems work with Certificate Authorities so that the Root Certificate is embedded into everyone's software.
The customer's browser and the remote web server exchange the symmetric encryption key. This means that the same key is used to encrypt information that is transmitted and decrypt on arrival. There is a forward secrecy built into the system to ensure the symmetric key can not be deduced from the asymmetric key. This further protects against hacking.
Here is a breakdown of the SSL process:
1.User visits your website.
2.Server sends an encrypted key.
3.Host responds with a valid SSL Certificate.
4.Server decrypts the key and delivers content to user.
5.Secure connection is established.
6.Transferred data is encrypted.
Business owners need to maintain trust between themselves and their clients. Having a very secure website makes all the difference in the world. This is a technological investment that will protect you and your customers.
It is possible that Google will soon begin to condemn sites that are not SSL Certified. If that happens, these sites will unfortunately meet their demise and will no longer be accessible through a Google search. It is crucial to stay ahead of the latest advancements in security, and not only to protect your website and future customers, but to also ensure that your business will have an accessible web present.