Archive for March, 2008

The Importance of an SSL Certificate

Sunday, March 9th, 2008

What is an SSL Security Certificate and How Does It Work?
An SSL Certificate (Secure Socket Layer) is a certificate that is installed on a secure server. The SSL certificate is used to identify the merchant using it and to encrypt credit cards and other private information. Unique authenticated information about the certificate owner is contained within each SSL certificate to ensure the validity of the certificate and on-line shopping stores. What exactly is encryption? According to an on-line definition, “encryption is the process of turning a block of plain text or other raw data into “ciphertext” encoded blocks of text.”

Why Do You Need an SSL Certificate?

Anytime that a web page asks you for sensitive information, you must know whether or not it is a secure website. Think about this for moment, every time that you view a website the information is sent from your computer to the server and from the server to your computer. This information is typically sent in “plain text” this means that anyone can view it if they see it. Every piece of information exchanged passes many servers to reach the final destination. Do you want your confidential information readily available to anyone?

Who Needs an SSL Certificate?

Does everyone who has a website need an SSL certificate? No! The only reason to have an SSL security certificate is to protect sensitive information such as social security number credit card information, license number or addresses. If your website does not procure this kind of information from your customers, then you do not need an SSL Certificate. So, if you have an on-line store and accept credit cards or on-line orders you need an SSL Security Certificate. Who else may need this certificate? If your business partners log onto confidential information on an extranet you need an SSL Security Certificate. If you have offices that share confidential data over an intranet, you need an SSL Security Certificate. If you value the privacy of your customers and the trust that they give you, then you should protect their privacy with an SSL Security Certificate.

Who Needs an SSL Certificate?

There are two distinctive indications of the security of a web page. When browsing on the Internet, web pages typically begin with “http.” But, on a secure connection, the page will begin with “https.” See the difference? It is extremely important to be aware of subtle changes like this when giving information over the Internet. What is another way to tell if your information is protected on a web page? There is a standard among web browsers to display a “lock” symbol somewhere in the browser, not the web page area. Once you see this lock, you can click on it to find out more information about the site’s security. Please be aware that some fraudulent websites are built with a bar at the bottom to imitate the lock icon. Don’t be fooled, click on it, look for additional information and above all make sure that your information is being protected.