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The Indispensable Importance Of SSL Certificates

Updated on January 28, 2016

Secure Socket Layer (SSL) has become a popular buzz word in the information security circle all across the globe. And its popularity has only been heightened in recent years with the growing number of businesses who swear by SSL certificates to foil the intimidating attempts of cybercrimes. But time and again, there seems to be a school of thought that questions the validity, and importance, of SSL certificates. This article is specifically written to discuss the merits of SSL certificates, with an aim to convince the nay-sayers why SSL protection is a must.

Let's compare an SSL certificate with real life scenario. Long before internet and email were invented, people relied on written letters for communicating with each other. These letters were signed by the sender (to claim authenticity), folded, put inside an envelope, and sealed with great care with an intention that only the desired recipient could open and read the message. An SSL certificate operates in the same spirit, but offers way more complex and infallible guarantee.

If a website doesn't have an SSL certificate in place, any online users can possibly see the credit card information, email Ids, passwords, and other valuable data being traded in the website; just like what would happen to the letter if it wasn't signed and sealed. Encryption is the keyword in SSL. What encryption does is it makes the information being communicated understandable only to the sender and the receiver, and if third-party intruders try to breach they will only decipher strings of hash that don't add up to anything.

An SSL certificate also asserts authenticity because it proves that the information is coming directly from the original sender without anyone tampering the message. In the business language of online commerce, this translates into brand trust of a website. Customers take the visual cues of a website URL being preceded by https:// instead of http://, and the green- or gold-colored bar with a padlock symbol in the URL that evokes safety.

For websites who accept card payments, SSL certificate is an obligation required by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Being a regulatory body, not only does the PCI encourage the reissuance of SSL with the change in PCI policies, they can penalize a website for not being PCI compliant. This can spell bad for a business who depend on online transaction for their operations.

Having your website protected with SSL basically comes down to being a principled online business owner. It shows that you are serious about running an online business and value your customers' money and data. Above everything, SSL ensures your website is out of the harm's way so that you can focus on things that are more important for your websites, and to take it to greater heights.

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