When you’re getting ready to submit your personal financial or other sensitive information on a website, do you look in the corner of your screen for the little padlock symbol? Many people do. If you don’t, you probably should. That padlock signifies that you’re making a transaction on a secure site—namely one that has an SSL certificate installed.
So what is SSL exactly?
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, which probably doesn’t mean a whole lot to you, or most people for that matter. To break it down, SSL is the standard technology that enables encryption on a site, allowing a secure connection from a server to a browser.
Think about it like this. When you call your bank to do business over the phone, chances are they are going to ask you for some personal information. What’s your mother’s maiden name, maybe? Your passcode? The last few digits of your social? Whatever the case, the company is walking you through several steps to verify your identity. They want to make sure that you are actually who you say you are before they share any information with you. SSL certificates work much the same way. When a browser connects to a server, the server shares specific information back in order to verify its identity. Once the browser confirms the identity, a secure browsing session begins. Also known as the “SSL handshake,” this process goes unseen by users and happens almost instantaneously.
If your business sells products or services online, having a solid SSL certificate on your site is a non-negotiable. You want your customers to feel safe and more importantly, protecting your customer’s sensitive information is your legal responsibility.