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What Is An SSL Certificate and Why Do Business Websites Need Them?

A Secure Sockets Layer or SSL certificate is an encryption tool made up of small data files that digitally link a cryptographic key to an entity’s details. When an SSL certificate is installed on a web server it acts like a lock activating https protocols creating a secure connection from a web server to browser. With an SSL certificate, websites can transfer data like credit card and payment details, login credentials and the like securely online.

Typically, in the past, websites that collected such data installed SSL certificates to ensure a trusted connection when conducting transactions. But today, an SSL certificate is standard protocol for websites looking to establish trust with search engines as a safe and secure online.

What do SSL Certificates Do?

SSL Certificates bind a domain, server name and host name, and an entity’s identity (name) and location. Once installed on your network’s server, the application protocol known as HTTP will change to HTTPs. The “S” reflects a “secure” status. Depending on the kind of certificate you purchase and the browser the being used to surf the net, a padlock icon will be shown in the browser when one visits a website that has an SSL certificate installed.

SSL certificates not only provide for secure transfer for customer data. They also support better search engine ranking for your site; build trust among customers and increases conversion rates, even if your website does not support online transactions.

These encryption tools can be purchased from a trusted Certificate Authority. Browsers, operating systems and mobile devices often keep an internal list of trusted CA root certificates. With the root certificate present on the end-user’s device, the SSL certificate will be recognized as trusted. If it is not trusted, the browser will provide error messages to the end-user designating the website untrusted. This becomes increasingly important when websites offer e-commerce activity, as an untrusted error message immediately detracts from the website’s and brand’s credibility online.

SSL certificate are just a small part of a comprehensive cyber security strategy for business online. It is vitally important that business websites maintain a robust defensive cyber security measures with a trusted specialist or agency. If you have questions about maintaining network security or computer support for your business, contact the industry leaders at dotQ4 in Mokena, just outside of Chicago. You can reach us at 708 261 1844.

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