The Benefits of SSL Encryption
February 14, 2017
SSL Encryption? Our clients often ask if we should encrypt their entire site, or just the portion having to do with eCommerce. While it was true in the past that encryption was generally limited to collecting credit card info, it’s becoming more and more common for websites of all kinds to choose encryption over non-encryption.
What is SSL/Website Encryption?
SSL — which stands for Secure Socket Layer — is a security protocol adopted by Netscape way way back in 1994. It remains the web’s standard for protecting user data such as usernames, passwords, SS Numbers and credit card data. It is vital to maintaining consumer confidence and a positive reputation for your brand.
Securing your website begins by installing an SSL Certificate on your site’s server. The SSL Certificate is a digital certificate that encrypts interactions between the user’s web browser and your website. This makes it impossible for hackers to infect transactions or steal personal data. Each time your site’s user requests a web page, the certificate on your server encrypts the content. The encrypted content is then sent to your browser for decryption. The reverse is also true when submitting content via forms.
What are the Benefits of Encrypting Your Entire Site?
SSL encryption is the gold standard for protecting online transactions of all kinds and provides your users with the benefits of safety and security. In fact, in many instances, SSL encryption is not just a benefit but a requirement, especially when it comes to matters such as PCI compliance.
In addition to the traditional security applications of SSL, perception can be another justifiable factor. We live in an age of heightened concern over security across many aspects of our lives. Securing your website provides peace of mind to your users as well as confidence and trust. This is particularly true for businesses that operates in legal or financial sectors. Securing your site, even if it offers no eCommerce or other sensitive transactions, suggest to the end user that you “really take security seriously”. This can often translate to the user that you’re “really seriously in general”.
Lastly, Google recently declared that it will now boost encrypted sites in its PageRank algorithm. This means your site will have a better chance of achieving higher rank in SERPs if it’s secured by SSL. While the real SEO benefits of this are currently debatable, it’s a safe bet that in the future security will become a greator factor.
Securing your website is important because it builds confidence and trust in your offering, eliminates the threat of intrusion and offers the potential for improved search engine ranking. If your website does not deal in exchanges of sensitive information, then there’s no rush or actual reason why you need to encrypt your site. But in today’s world, perceptions of trust and legitimacy can play an important role in the psychology of your enduser with regard to the content you publish or services you offer. Which is one reason why, if you haven’t noticed already, there’s a little green lock next to our site’s URL.
Related: Let’s Encrypt — an attempt by Internet Security Research Group, which includes representatives from Mozilla, Cisco, and the EFF, to make it easy to implement SSL for less-technical people.