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What is a SSL Certificate?

June 29, 2020

With the right tools, it is possible to achieve cloud security that allows businesses to safely transmit and store sensitive data. Encryption is one of the basic tenets of cloud security and it is supported by SSL security certificates. Employing these security practices not only adds credibility and security, but it also contributes to SEO efforts that will help you generate more business. Keep reading to learn more about security certificates and how they work.

History of Security Certificates
Security certificates or Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates were first introduced in 1994 as a tool to help send encrypted data. If a website is protected by an SSL certificate, the address will begin with https://. Initially, security certificates were mainly used by websites that transmitted sensitive data, but this changed in 2014 when Google announced that it would be rewarding websites with an SSL certificate. This meant that less secure sites wouldn’t be receiving optimal search engine rankings, which prompted websites to add this layer of security. In 2017, Google took measures a step further by including a “Not Secure” message in the browser address bar and the message has been made a permanent fixture for all websites that don’t use an SSL certificate.

How Does an SSL Work?
SSL certificates use both a private and public key for asymmetric encryption that prevents third parties and malicious actors from viewing sensitive information. To generate a certificate, you must obtain a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) from your server. A Certificate Authority (CA) will issue the SSL certificate once your business and other information have been verified. When the SSL has been added to the website, the browser will be able to ask the website to identify itself. The server will then send the file with a copy of the SSL Certificate and check to make sure that it has been issued by a trusted CA and hasn’t expired. If everything checks out, the server and browser will use the keys to encrypt and decrypt the data. For the user, all this happens in a matter of seconds and provides a secure way to make payments and share other personal data.

Why You Need an SSL Certificate
If you are an eCommerce business that takes online payments, a health organization that stores patient data, or even a non-profit that doesn’t handle any sensitive data, you need an SSL certificate. This security tool represents a new standard in cloud security and plays an important role in your business. Here are just three of the reasons you need an SSL certificate:

1. Better search engine rankings and SEO. Now that Google and all other major search engines recognize and label websites that don’t have an SSL, your SEO will be affected by not having an SSL. Without this security tool, you won’t be able to earn optimal rankings and connect with potential customers. Taking just a few minutes to update your security protocols can directly translate into more business.

2. Up-to-date security. Unfortunately, hackers and malicious actors will continue to try to find ways to access sensitive data. Using SSL certificates will help you stay at the forefront of security practices and take a proactive approach to protect your business and your customers.

3. Provide a trustworthy website. If a visitor lands on your site and sees a message that reads “Not Secure” they may begin to question your business and security practices. Consumers want to support credible and trustworthy businesses. Providing secure and encrypted communications can only reflect well on your business and help to build trust.

Cloud security can feel a bit overwhelming if you aren’t familiar with available tools and protocols. However, there are clear steps you can take to provide better security and safely take advantage of cloud technology. SSL certificates are just one simple tool that goes a long way in protecting user information and building a better business. To learn more about cloud security, contact the experts at prancer.