This post will show you why the SSL certificate is an essential cybersecurity tool.
The number of cybersecurity breaches is growing at an astounding rate. According to the 2019 report, 15 billion records were exposed due to data breaches.
For any website owner, strengthening website security should be a top priority. While there are many cybersecurity tools and practices to apply, website owners often neglect the importance of having an SSL certificate.
What is SSL? How does it help you improve website security?
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What Is SSL?
Have you ever noticed that some websites have URLs starting with http://, while others begin with https://?
While this extra “s” may seem irrelevant, it makes a big difference.
It indicates that a user can safely share data with you.
Namely, HTTP is a text-based protocol. Websites using it are easier to hack. Cybercriminals can intercept website traffic and read the data transmitted through it.
HTTPS is a binary protocol that encrypts and decrypts the data traveling across computer networks. It prevents cybercriminals from accessing your visitors’ information. That means hackers can only see fragments of data and not the content of the request.
Why You Should Invest In An SSL Certificate?
Without an SSL certificate, your site’s security can never be complete.
SSL protects the communication happening between servers and websites. Once you install it on your website, you ensure all interactions with your website are encrypted.
SSL protects your customers’ sensitive information, such as credit card details, personally identifiable data, health records, etc. By encoding customer data, SSL makes it useless for intruders. Even if they intercept customer data, they will not be able to decode and use it.
Apart from protecting your website, an SSL certificate also secures email communications and other interactions over unsecured networks.
The Additional Perks of SSL
SSL boosts SEO rankings, as well. Google HTTPS guarantees organic ranking improvements for sites using SSL certificates.
According to Google, having an SSL certificate is a “very lightweight signal,” meaning that it does not deliver a dramatic SEO boost. For example, it can help you gain a competitive edge over rivals that still use HTTP. However, HTTPS alone is not enough to reach the top SERP listings. You still need to optimize your website for search engines.
However, SSL can have an indirect impact on your organic rankings. For example, it impacts the overall credibility of your website. In 2017, Google Chrome started marking sites with HTTP as “not secure.” On the other hand, sites having an SSL certificate have a green padlock and a “secure” label.
Therefore, not using HTTPS may harm your brand authority. Seeing that Google has labeled your website as unsafe, your prospects may decide to leave it. That can affect your user engagement metrics and conversion rates, as well as enhance your bounce rates. To Google, that may indicate that your website is not relevant or safe enough.
What Types of SSL Certificates Are There?
SSL certificates are processed by a Certificate Authority (CA). That is software specifically designed to issue digital certificates. Comodo SSL, Symantec SSL, and Rapid SSL are a few examples of trusted CAs.
Now, there are different types of SSL certificates. They usually vary in two parameters – validation and domains.
Types of SSL Certificates Based on Validation
Based on the level of validation your business needs to go through before receiving a certificate from a CA, SSL certificates can be:
- Domain validated certificates (DV SSL) are the most affordable and require the lowest level of validation. Since it is as secure as other SSL certificates, it is ideal for SMBs and blogs.
- Organization validated certificates (OV SSL) provides a medium level of encryption.
- Extended validation certificates (EV SSL) are the most expensive certificates to obtain, but they provide the ultimate protection against phishing attacks, email fraud, and other cybersecurity threats.
Types of Certificates Based on the Number of Domains
Those SSL certificates are classified by the number of domains you can use them for.
- Single-Domain SSL certificates secure one domain and its pages.
- Wildcard SSL certificates safeguard a single domain and an unlimited number of subdomains.
- Multi-Domain SSL certificates can protect up to 250 domains.
- Multi-Domain Wildcard SSL certificates protect multiple fully qualified domains and numerous subdomains.
- Unified Communications SSL certificates enable you to protect multiple fully qualified domains under a single certificate.
How To Choose an SSL Certificate?
Your choices, of course, depend on a wide range of factors, such as:
- the size of your site
- the number of subdomains you use
- the information you collect from customers
- the number of domains you want to protect
For example, if your business collects and manages sensitive customer data or operates in regulated industries, you will purchase an Extended Validation (EV) certificate. It gives your business credibility, showing that your business underwent rigorous identity verification.
Always consult your IT team and determine whether an SSL certificate meets your industry’s security requirements.
SSL Is A Crucial Online Security Tool
With the growing number of cybersecurity threats, securing your business data is a necessity. With the right SSL certificate, you ensure your website traffic and customer data are inaccessible to hackers. I hope these insights will help you!
Do you use SSL as a cybersecurity tool? How does it benefit your website performance? Please, share your experiences with us!