Let’s Get SSLerious

Aug 25, 2017

Security is a Big Deal these days. We’ve all seen the leaked GoT episode … I mean … we’ve all heard that a GoT episode got leaked. Right? The point is, hackers are everywhere, and they will take anything they can get their cyber hands on.

Woman taking credit card out of walletSo how to keep your company’s website secure?

It’s a very real concern, and if you’re a business owner who’s not concerned about digital security, then you haven’t been paying attention. Even if your website, app, or portal is not used for financial transactions, a secure connection indicates to your customers that you are a company with foresight and dedication, who is committed to their safety. 

What is an SSL?

Spend some time around any IT folks and you’ll hear the acronym “SSL” get thrown around A LOT. It’s something we love to discuss but rarely bother to explain. The importance of it is just understood in the tech community, and TechArk is here to act as your digital sherpa, guiding you through the peaks and valleys of SSL. Ready? Let’s sherp.

SSL stands for “Secure Sockets Layer,” and, simply put, it provides a secure channel between two devices via internet or intranet connection. It’s actually an umbrella term for all digital security, but in fact was replaced by TLS: Transport Layer Security. Most folks still just say “SSL,” though.

Person using can with stringThe difference is comparable to shouting into a megaphone versus speaking softly into two cans connected with a string. A website that does not have SSL/TLS is like the megaphone – anyone could be listening. Your information is wide-open, broadcasting loud and clear to any old hacker who happens to be lurking around. With the cans, however, the only one who can hear you is at the other end of the string.

An SSL/TLS works the same way. Once a private connection has been established between browser and server, all web traffic between the two is secure – but only after the correct security has been installed on the organization’s server. That’s where you need a trusted tech partner, to ensure that all the pieces are installed and working the way they should.

What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL Certificate is not actually a certification, surprisingly enough. The term refers to a collection of small data files which work to bind together all the digital assets of an organization – the domain, server, and host names – into one cohesive identity.

Along with the privacy of the connection provided by SSL/TLS, the Certificate further encrypts and then decrypts the data being transferred. This is particularly useful when communicating important or confidential information, such as usernames, passwords, credit card information, and more.

Can My Customers Tell if My Site is Secure?

YES. It’s super-easy to know if a website is secure or not. Simply look in the top bar, where the web address is (for example, right now you should see https://www.gotechark.com/lets-get-sslerious/):

Secure https sign

See that “S” on the end of the HTTP? That’s new, and it stands for “Secure.” It also states right upfront that your website is safe for customers to make purchases, sign up for newsletters, redeem coupons, and more.

How to Lose a Customer in Ten Seconds:

Other signs of digital security include that cute little padlock in the top bar and the word “Secure,” both of which will display in green. When it’s that easy for customers to see that the connection isn’t private, you better believe they’ll think twice about entering credit card info on a website that is lacking this reassurance.

Your connection is not secure alert

SSL is a promise to your customers, and an investment in your company. A website without an SSL certificate is like a storefront with no lock, cameras, or staff. Doesn’t sound super-smart, does it?

Don’t tempt fate – or the hackers. Just call TechArk. We can provide guidance regarding which type of SSL/TLS certificate is right for you and your company, as well as install and maintain web security for your website.

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