Did you know cybercrime can cause damages of up to USD 6 trillion per annum?
And the damage goes beyond monetary loss, as it extends to reputational loss, operational and business continuity loss, loss of productivity, failure to maintain regulatory compliance, and even the loss of infrastructure when you no longer have access to your domain or website.
These malicious incidents aren’t something small businesses can recover from overnight. Given that cyber risks are increasing by manifolds, you must invest in the best website security to neutralize such threats.
And here’s where SSL enters the picture. Let’s take a look at what it is, how it works, why is it beneficial, and how you can install it on your website.
What is SSL and how does it work?
Have you ever noticed certain website URLs begin with https:// while others only http://?
Or have you observed that payment-related websites or pages that collect personal information have a padlock icon beside their URL? Such indicators must be important and mean something, right?
It signifies the presence of website security checks and indicates that your website is end-to-end secure and protected.
SSL is an acronym for Secure Sockets Layer. It is a data encryption-based internet security protocol that Netscape popularized in the late 1990s. Although modern-day websites follow Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocols, which succeeded SSL, SSL has now become an umbrella term denoting TLS.
SSL/TLS offers a high degree of privacy and data security by encrypting data before it gets transmitted over a network. As a result, if anyone attempts to intercept this communication, they will only come across garbled nonsense.
Here’s how it works:
- First, SSL performs a website security check at the client and server sides through a process called “handshake.”
- The SSL handshake authenticates the terminals and exchanges the public key.
- During the handshake, both ends generate session keys, which encrypt data based on a mutually decided upon cryptographic protocol.
- SSL/TLS also ensures no data change has taken place ever since the session has started.
- Finally, the data transfer of the encrypted information takes place, and the server uses the public/private session key to decrypt the data.
READ: 10 Steps to Enhance Your Website Security
What is an SSL certificate?
SSL certificate is a data file that facilitates SSL/TLS encryption as the website hosts them at the origin server.
It contains information, such as the website’s identity (domain name), its public key, domain name holder (individual or organization), certificate issuing authority, associated subdomains, date of issuance of the certificate, and expiry date of the certificate.
SSL certificates can be broadly categorised into three main types, namely:
- Domain Validated (DV)
- Organization Validated (OV)
- Extended Validation (EV)
Categorisation of SSL certificates may also take place on whether they apply to a single domain or multiple domains.
Benefits of SSL Certificates for Your Small Business Website
After learning about SSL and SSL certification, you now know how it adds value to your business in several ways.
The good news is you don’t have to jump through hoops to gain an SSL cert. Most hosting service providers offer you one at no extra cost or for a nominal charge!
So, to reiterate the benefits of SSL certification, here is a low-down of its associated advantages:
- It protects your customer data and maintains compliance with regulatory guidelines, such as the GDPR and CCPA.
- It also shields your website from man-in-the-middle and phishing attacks.
- Since security is a primary concern for major search engines like Google, SSL certification is a high-value ranking factor that can improve your SEO.
- It cultivates an ecosystem of trust, which will eventually improve your revenue.
- SSL does not require the installation of client software. As such, even small businesses on a tight budget can protect sensitive business information through SSL.
- Major payment gateways require that websites hold a valid SSL certificate to allow online payments. It’s mandatory for accepting online payments.
How to Install SSL on Your Website
Now that you know how SSL works and how it will benefit your business, you may be keen on acquiring one and installing it on your website.
Before you get started, you will need your server certificate, intermediate certificates, and private key.
Once you have everything in place, here’s a quick overview of installing an SSL certificate over Web Host Manager (WHM):
- Log in to WHM using your username and password.
- On the homepage, click on the menu titled “SSL/TLS.”
- Select “Install an SSL certificate on a domain.”
- Enter your domain name and upload your certificate files.
- Click on Install.
Crazy Domains users can follow this easy guide on how they can use their SSL certificates. The guide also contains detailed information on how to install SSL on their web server.
Keep your business and customers safe
To summarise everything discussed so far, small businesses should be wary of the debilitating and far-reaching effects of security breaches. SSL certificates are a web security standard that helps mitigate several cyber threats.
Apart from protecting data at the client and server sides, it also brings in a host of other benefits — ranging from improved SEO performance to better security standard compliance. If you want to learn more about website security, visit our blog.