Radar Hill Blog

What is SSL and Why Do You Need It?

Internet safety is increasingly a concern, and there are continuously new ways that scammers and hackers can gain access to your information. However this is not a doom and gloom post, rather we will explain how you can help protect yourself and your customers by discussing what SSL – Secure Sockets Layer – is, and why you should have it installed on your website.


What is SSL?

SSL essentially means that all content that is transferred between servers is encrypted. Put simply, if you fill out a form to order a cake at your favourite bakery, the information on the form is going to be going directly from you to the bakery, from one server to the other.

Encryption Definition

Encryption Definition

You could say

“I’d like to order the 8-inch chocolate cheesecake for my nephew’s birthday on May 29th, I can pick it up at 3pm.”

A hacker may then intercept this message, and if there are no safety guards in place, they will see that content. This can include the contact information, such as the email address you entered. However, if there is SSL installed, then if it is intercepted the only thing that the hacker will see is

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Having SSL, encrypting any information, means that all information that is passed between you and your clients on your website is secure, and can only be read by the intended recipients.


Why Have SSL?

Safety

People are increasingly aware of SSL, or at least, that they should only be visiting secure websites. All modern web browsers give warnings when websites do not have SSL, and they are not subtle about saying not secure right next to the domain name. [pic]

It should be explicitly noted, for your safety, never ever enter your credit card information on a website that is not secure. And be wary of entering any other information on a page that is unsecured.

Safety is paramount SSL. It is called an Internet Security Protocol for a reason. When you use an ATM, you don’t loudly announce you are going to take out cash with your Visa while saying the PIN number out loud. Or, when leaving your house for the weekend, you don’t shout across the street that your home is going to be empty for the next couple days. Of course not, that would be irresponsible and inviting potential harm. It should be noted that just because someone knows your card number or that your house is empty, that something negative will definitely happen, but you can mitigate the chances by being subtle at an ATM, or leaving a light on in your house. Having an SSL certificate on your website is one of those things that mitigate potential harm happening to you, and your clients.

It is not just credit card information that you need to keep secure. Any kind of information can be used for nefarious reasons. Thus if you have a contact form on your website, you want an SSL certificate. It helps to create trust between you and your clients, as your clients’ data and information should always be secure.

SEO 

An SSL certificate on your website is also a simple way to boost your Search Engine Results, as it is now part of the ranking system. There are many different factors that go into a Google or other search engine result, and there is no magic quality that will make you number one. But having a secure website is a favourable quality, as why would Google promote an unverified and unsecure website?

It should also be noted that SSL is not going to slow down your website. A few years ago that was a concern, but it has no discernible impact on speed.


Certificate Requirement

This year Google made it a requirement that SSL certificates be registered with a Certificate Transparency (CT) log. This means that the Chrome browser will show a full-page warning whenever users are accessing an HTTPS website that is using an SSL certificate that has not been registered with a public CT log.

An SSL certificate cannot come from just anywhere. Google also announced that certificates issued by Symantec will no longer be recognised, which means that a website with one of these will show a full page warning saying the site is unsecure. Users then have the choice then to click to accept the risk, or simply leave the site back to safety.


When it comes to technology, we know that not everyone is an expert. It can be difficult to understand abstract concepts, and SSL is something that sounds fancy and complicated, but it is essentially just a safety barrier. It is a way to close and lock the door on potential security risks, and it takes no effort on your part to have it added on your website – other than an affirmation that you want it. Just let us know and we will take care of it.

 

About Caitlin O'Hara

Shawn's daughter, Caitlin has been around Radar Hill her entire life, but only recently in a full-time professional manner. In 2016 she began managing the social media accounts, writing articles and newsletters, as well as being an administrative assistant when needed. When not in the office she enjoys cooking (including those samosas that have been huge hits at Radar Hill open houses) and travelling, and has recently moved to Scotland.
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