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Learn about SSL Certificates Here

4/24/2018

Learn about SSL Certificates Here

At a time when cyber security is as important as it's ever been, businesses are finding out ways to secure their data.

The most basic of such cyber security systems is equipping your company's website with SSL, or TLS as they are called now. So exactly what is SSL or TLS? And how does it affect my website? 

What is SSL? 

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layers. It plays a critical role in providing web security for your site. To put it simply, SSL protocols protect connections that are made between websites and networks. These networks like the internet should be understood as being insecure, which means that without a proper SSL certificate, any computer existing in between the site and the network can view all of your inputed information. SSL offers a way to prevent this by creating an encrypted link between the network and the site. This link keeps all the data exchanges between the site and the network private by making them indecipherable to third parties. It has become the standard security technology solution for web agencies to use, especially on e-commerce websites where sensitive information such as credit card numbers and login passwords frequents. 

One way to tell if your company's site incorporates this computer networking protocol is by looking at the URL. A site that's encrypted with an SSL certificate has https at the beginning of its URL. HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTP Secure) and it combines Hypertext Transfer Protocol with TLS to implement secure communication on the network and its applications. Having SSL certificates is crucial to protecting your business, its data, and client's private information on the web. Without it, websites face possible penalization from search engines for not being able to provide security assurances to its users. A key advantage in custom web design is the ability to build a stronger security apparatus around your website. 

How Does SSL Work? 

SSL certificates are tiny data files that digitally bond cryptographic keys to an organization's information so that once it is activated on a server, it acts as a padlock to prevent third parties from viewing sensitive details. When first setting up a secure connection, a browser attempts to connect with a secured website with https and asks the site to identify itself by sending a copy of its SSL certificate. The server sends over the requested identification, which includes the certificate's public key to the encryption, to the browser. The browser then checks the validity of the certificate by exchanging messages with the server. The exchange acknowledges that the server wants to start an SSL encrypted session with the browser in which case protected data begins to be shared between the browser and the server. 

Having such protection for transmitted data is a must for e-commerce servers as they receive confidential details, but other servers can choose to install SSL protocols on pages they wish to keep secure over the internet. A downside to having too many levels of encryption is that it can slow down your site. A customized security solution will be able to pick and choose which pages need special encryption. 

How to get an SSL certificate?

Since SSL connections on the web require an SSL certificate, websites must have their own dedicated IP address in order to obtain an SSL certificate. Once you have your own dedicated IP address, you can buy and activate the certificate to install it on the server. After installing it, you can update your website and begin using HTTPS to offer secure encrypted communication.  

SSL vs. TLS 

Simply put, TLS is a successor to SSL. TLS stands for Transport Layer Security and just like SSL, it is a cryptographic protocol that secure communications over computer networks. Utilization of TLS has taken off ever since SSL was banned by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and subsequently by major search engines for its risks of security exposure.  Website Innovator uses SSL for all e-Commerce projects.

Reference: BusinessInsider

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