Today, you are 20 times more likely to be robbed at your computer than on the street. Studies show that one in every ten people are at risk of Internet fraud and other cybercrimes. What is more, US consumers experienced 27 fraud attacks for every 1,000 e-commerce transactions.

If you’re used to purchasing items online or if you run an e-commerce business, you should tighten up your security to prevent any attacks.

The easiest way to protect yourself is to make sure that the websites that handle your sensitive information (credit cards, home address, social security, etc.) are equipped with SSL.

What Is SSL?

An SSL or Secure Sockets Layer is “a standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a server and a client—typically a web server (website) and a browser, or a mail server and a mail client” (DigiCert).

SSL encrypts sensitive information using a cryptographic key called an SSL certificate so the information can travel securely across the Internet. Normally, information is sent and received in plain text, meaning anyone who can intercept it can see everything. With SSL all information is packaged in code that can only be encrypted and decrypted by those participating in the transaction.

They come in two types: standard SSL certificates and extended validation (EV) SSL certificates. While the differences are minor, the main difference is that EV SSLs provide more security but cost more and are a bit more complicated to handle.

How Do I Know If A Site Is Using SSL?

Typically, sites that use SSL are identified with a padlock icon on the left portion of the search bar. Many of them come with certified badges from Internet security companies like Norton and McAfee. If you want to know which system is running the SSL on a particular website, just click the padlock icon for the details.

The padlock icon and the badge tell you that any information transmitted between you and the website can only be read by your browser and the server of that website. Also, protected site usually come with a private domain registration and other ancillary security measures.

What Are The Advantages Of SSL?

If you’re running an e-commerce business, SSL gives your customers confidence that (1) all their information will be kept confidential and (2) all transactions on the site are legitimate.

Google typically identifies sites without SSL as not secure. If the site lacks SSL, Google will let you know either through a pop-up box or a notification. When customers see this, it’s a major red flag. In an e-commerce study, 17% of consumers who abandoned a purchase cited “concerns about payment security” as the number one reason.

Moreover, SSL isn’t only for your customers. If you’re running an e-commerce site, you need to protect your customer’s’ information and the money you earn from transactions. You wouldn’t want hackers to get a hold of your records, would you?

How Can I Get SSL For My Website?

A standard SSL certificate goes for anywhere between $10 to $100 per year depending on your web host.

To equip your website with SSL, you need to generate a certificate signing request (CSR) with your server. This step involves submitting documents to your web host to prove that you own the domain name involved. Once you’ve been verified, your server will give you an SSL certificate file to install on your server.

SSL is one of the most effective ways to protect information online. The key to keeping your online business safe for you and your customers is installing the necessary security measures to hide your information from malicious entities.

Not sure where to start? WebsiteSpot offers a full range of services to meet your web hosting, web development, and security needs.