How do I get a lock on my website: an SSL primer

By Wendy Cummins • June 13th, 2016

wcblog1You may have heard about SSL, and you may even have SSL implemented on your website already. If your customers enter sensitive credit card information or other private data on your website then SSL is a must.

If you haven’t heard of SSL, we’ll answer basic questions in this article and provide resources for you to learn even more.

What is SSL

Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) [the precursor to Secure Sockets Layer] are both referred to as “SSL.” SSL is a protocol that provides encryption between servers and web browsers.

The lock that you see in your browser when you surf to your bank’s website, for instance, is proof that data you enter on that site is protected by encryption. Internet traffic that is not transmitted over SSL is not encrypted, which means that it can be viewed or “sniffed” by unintended parties.wcblog2

Why you need SSL

There are many reasons to implement SSL. Here are a few of them:

  • The lock shows consumers that your business and website are legitimate.
  • SSL protects customers that enter data on your website from having that data viewed by unscrupulous hackers.
  • Securing your website with SSL will improve your rank with Google. You can read more about this on the Google Security Blog: https://security.googleblog.com/2015/12/indexing-https-pages-by- default.html
  • If you host your own Act! for Web site, SSL will protect the data your web and mobile users view and enter in their browsers. And now with Act! v18.1 and an Act! subscription, you can utilize the new Act! web API to exchange data in Act! with other web-based programs. This new functionality is only available over an SSL connection.

How can you get SSL and what does it cost

There are several SSL certificate options. Differentiators include price, certificate warranty and levels of assurance. Certificates range from around $10 to several hundred based on the coverage levels. Check with your trusted IT provider, your hosting provider, your registrar and/or your Act! Certified Consultant to find out what the best certificate is for your circumstance. Always buy from a trusted source and get the protection you need.

How do you get the lock? When you install an SSL certificate on your web server and then surf to your site using “https” instead of “http” you should automatically see the lock in your browser. Make sure your web developer creates a redirect to ensure that your website visitors are redirected to the secured URL automatically.

SSL is becoming more and more important for anyone who has a web presence or does business over the Internet. If you are a business owner, you have a responsibility to protect data that your employees and/or customers are transmitting to your server. As a consumer, you should always look for the lock on any website where you enter data to protect yourself against identity theft and fraud.

If you are interested in the more technical aspects of SSL check out Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transport_Layer_Security

 

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