What is SSL?

secure socket layer certificates

One of the terms you will come across as you set up and maintain your business Web site is “SSL.” This is a security measure (or protocol) that allows you to engage in secure transactions with customers and with others. It encrypts information and makes it difficult for hackers to steal personal payment information from your customers. It is very important that you make sure that your ecommerce Web site is protected by SSL. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer.

Origin of SSL

SSL was originally developed by Netscape, although most Internet browsers are compatible with SSL right now. This is important, since it allows your customers to give you secure information with less threat of it being intercepted. SSL was developed using data encryption, and functions by creating a secure connection between the server and the client. While SSL was originally developed to send documents over the Internet, it is not widely used in business transactions that use credit cards. You can tell a Web site is secure and protected by SSL by the fact that when the connection is made, an “s” appears after the standard “http” in the address bar (resulting in an address that begins “https’).

SSL is complementary to another security protocol: Secure HTTP (S-HTTP). S-HTTP can be used to send individual messages, rather than creating a connection that allows multiple messages to be sent. The Internet Engineering Task Force has approved both SSL and S-HTTP as standards for online security. Other options include virtual private networks, VPN services, which often use data encryption to protect private or sensitive information.

SSL certificates and verifications

Online businesses that use SSL often get certificates to show that they are who they say they are. Checking a certificate can help customers feel safer about buying from your Web site. However, trust is still required. You have to decide to trust the certificate issuer as well. You can also get verification through a number of third-party sites, such as eVerify and VeriSign. These show your customers that you have made a great deal of effort to protect their private and sensitive personal information.

Why SSL is important for your ecommerce Web site

Having SSL is important for your ecommerce Web site because it helps your customers feel safe about entering their information. Savvy online shoppers will make sure that they are working with a secure connection in order to better protect their information. If you do not provide adequate security, customers will not trust your Web site, and they will be reluctant to give you business. They will not want to enter credit card information for fear of its being stolen. When you choose an ecommerce Web host, make sure that adequate security is offered. Also, you might consider certificates and verifications so that your customers are aware of your efforts to ensure their privacy.

Setting up an ecommerce Web site requires that you consider your customers. You need to make sure you are providing them with a safe shopping environment, as well as one that is convenient. With SSL, you can provide the peace of mind your customers need to continue spending money on your business Web site.