Why Try SSL as Opposed to Other Online Security Measures
Any web developer can attest that clients frequently ask why SSL is better than other online security. This is a good question. Anyone involved in the web needs to understand the importance of SSL. SSL is the foundation of any good Internet security. Sensitive information is protected from those with malicious intent to do harm - for example, those practicing identify theft. SSL also provides a slew of direct benefits to customers as well.
Benefits of SSL Encryption
SSL encrypts sensitive information. Without SSL, any computer between you and the destination server can possibly read things sent online. This includes login usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive information sent over the Internet. An SSL certificate makes such information unreadable to everyone except the destination server. So SSL keeps your information from identify thieves and hackers.
SSL Does More than Encryption
An SSL certificate doesn't just provide encryption but it also offers authentication. SSL authentication ensures that the information you're transmitting reaches the right destination server. This keeps criminal servers from masking as your site to deceive users into sharing personal information. Obtaining a SSL certificate from a trusted SSL provider, along with having proper PKI (Public Key Infrastructure), is the only way to prevent sites from pretending to be your website.
SSL certificates are only issued to verifiable companies after a series of checks confirming their identity. More validation is required for certain kinds of SSL certificates. For example, EV SSL Certificates, which are designed to better defend against phishing attacks than normal SSL certificates, require more extensive validation. It is practically impossible for phishers to receive SSL certification, which means that criminals can't impersonate your website with phishing emails linking to a site of their own or use a middle-man to allow them to mask as your domain.
Customers Trust Sites Using SSL
Web browsers like Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Google Chrome let visitors know whether or not a connection is secured. Visual cues, like a lock icon or green address bar, are what visitors most commonly see. The more trustworthy the site, the more likely you'll have repeat visits and purchases if your site has a shopping cart or sells services or goods. A trust seal is displayed by SSL providers to further instill trust.
Are There Disadvantages to Choosing SSL?
While the benefits of using SSL far outweigh any disadvantages, there are a few negatives of SSL to consider. First, the cost of using SSL certificates are higher since providers must create a trustworthy infrastructure to validate identity. SSL certificates also use up more server resources since the server has to encrypt sent information. This can be somewhat detrimental to high traffic websites but this problem can also be averted with the use of special hardware.
That said, it is imperative that any website where sensitive information is transmitted properly uses SSL on their website. Properly using SSL certificates protects not only your customers but you and your business as well. Customers will buy more from a website that they trust. Approval from the leading global certificate authority gives businesses a significant advantage over competition. The appearance of an SSL trust seal boosts web traffic to sales conversions, lessens the abandonment of shopping carts, and leads to larger average purchase amounts. Customers won't hesitate to send sensitive information over the Internet knowing that their data is sent with SSL encryption. Would you mail a document containing your credit or bank account info in a clear envelope with no return address? Of course not. The same common sense should prevail on the Internet.
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