Providing security is a necessity if your business sells products or services online. Your potential customers are wary about the prevalence of fraud and identity theft, and the FBI even advises people not to send credit card information electronically until they ensure the transaction is secure.
To protect your customers’ data, you will need an SSL certificate. SSL or “secure sockets layer” technology encrypts all communication between web browsers and website servers. Many users are now familiar with the small green “lock” symbol that appears in their browser address bar when a site is protected by SSL and uses the “https” rather than plain-text “http” protocol. For consumers and businesses alike, SSL provides a sense of security — but many companies aren’t sure how to make the leap from standard links to secure layers.
Before you complete an SSL certificate set-up, it’s worth knowing a bit about the technology. First, the registered domain name for which you are acquiring the certificate must be owned or controlled by you. At its most basic, SSL protection works to obscure data sent to your site from web browsers. “Keys” are used — a public key that any browser can access when navigating to your site, and a private key that only your company knows. The information exchanged between servers and browsers is encrypted using the keys so that your server can decrypt it, but malicious actors or eavesdroppers cannot. These keys are purchased from a trusted certificate authority. This and other steps on how to set up an SSL certificate are outlined in the accompanying checklist.