Businesses have entered an era where all fundamental operations rely on the internet. The trend has led to a genuinely stunning rate of increase in websites. Although internet-based operations come with many benefits to business owners, they have also created new challenges and risks that call for vigilance and extreme measures.
Of the many challenges that the internet has come with, cybersecurity is the most precarious. All website owners must address this issue seriously, failure to which devastating repercussions await them. A successful cybersecurity attack can be costly to repair, and in worst-case scenarios, victims end up shutting down their businesses.
With the knowledge of increasing cybersecurity threats and the high costs that victims of cyber breaches incur, tech gurus and IT experts have done enough to try and keep the internet a safe haven. We have seen the milestones they have covered. They have developed adequate tools and protocols to help website owners maintain the utmost levels of safety. As a website owner, the ball is in your coat. You must ensure that you have all the necessary tools and practices to ensure that your website, resources, and website visitors are all safe.
What is an SSL Certificate?
SSL certificate stands for Secure Socket Layer. Netscape initially developed it in 1994. Its primary objective was to allow web browsers to access web servers safely.
SSL certificates provide information security to information traveling between two points over the internet. It is a crucial website security element because it ensures information integrity, confidentiality, and authentication. The certificate achieves these essential security elements by using cryptography and digital signatures.
How Does an SSL Certificate Work?
For an SSL certificate to protect information as it moves to and from your website servers to users’ browsers, it uses cryptography. The data in transit is encrypted until it reaches its intended destination. Two types of data encryption that you should know are symmetric cryptography and asymmetric cryptography.
The former refers to cryptography, which uses similar keys to encrypt and decrypt information. The key is agreed upon by both parties, and it should remain static.
Asymmetric cryptography is where two keys are used. One key will encrypt the information, whereas the other key will decrypt the information. Asymmetric cryptography is more favorable because, even when someone knows details about one key, he would not decrypt the information unless he has the second key. Furthermore, two parties can spawn a transaction or communication with asymmetric cryptography without having to meet. This is facilitated by the incorporation of both public and private keys.
The organization’s public key is “public knowledge” and specializes in encryption purposes. The private key of the organization remains a secret and is primarily meant to decrypt the encrypted information.
Significance of SSL Certificate in Website Security
1. Data integrity
Data integrity refers to the reliability, overall completeness, accuracy, trustworthiness, and consistency of data over its life cycle. It is concerned with finding out whether your web site’s information was tampered with since it was transferred.
A website that lacks an SSL certificate exposes its data repositories to malicious intruders. The intruders can easily alter the meaning and purpose of the information in transit. The SSL certificate scrambles the data into a meaningless form that intruders cannot decipher. It would be impossible for someone to understand or make any changes to such information.
Today, many fake websites are after extorting money from unsuspecting users. Cybercriminals may easily make a replica website that looks like yours to steal from you. Authentication will help a user to verify the ownership of a website.
Before you acquire an SSL certificate from a trusted CA, the CA will first have to establish your identity. Your web visitors can check your details by clicking on the padlock icon to ensure that they interact with your website and not a fake website.
3. Data encryption
As I explained earlier, encryption is where information in transit is scrambled into a meaningless form that cannot be deciphered by anyone who attempts to intercept it. This is a vital point for you, mainly when you deal with critical information that requires confidentiality. Such information may include; credit card and debit card numbers, financial information, health records, and other confidential information.
Wildcard SSL Certificate – The Most Ideal and Cost Effective Certificate
Website owners often ask me about the best SSL certificate they should use for their websites. You should know that all certificates offer the same level of encryption. However, the criteria of choosing the best certificate go beyond security or encryption strength. You should choose a certificate that gives the maximum benefits, and this is why I have always advised people to go for a Wildcard SSL certificate.
The wildcard SSL certificate is the most cost-effective option on the market. As a user, you will not have to buy a certificate for each subdomain. It can secure up to an unlimited number of first-level subdomains. As a user, you save money and time that would have been needed to purchase and manage multiple SSL certificates for each subdomain. Certificate management is also easy as it is a consolidated process.
To save money and time while ensuring that your website receives the utmost encryption levels, you should consider this certificate. The good news is that; they are not as expensive as they sound. We have vendors and resellers offering cheap wildcard SSL certificates at affordable prices.
How Do You Obtain The SSL Certificate?
Now that you know why an SSL certificate is essential on your website, I know you are psyched up to have one, and you are probably wondering how you can go about the acquisition and installation process.
First, before you start stressing yourself with a myriad of thoughts on acquiring the certificate and how you will install it, it is prudent that you find out whether your hosting provider offers the certificate. Until recently, most hosting providers offered SSL certificates as a premium feature.
If your hosting provider does not have the SSL certificate option, you might want to consider the paid option. There are a number of cheap SSL certs providers such as GlobalSign, DigiCert, etc. For instance, if you are running an enterprise-level website, you should consider the Extended Validation certificate, which has strict authentication that will add more visible trust indicators.
SSL certificates have brought incredible benefits to websites. Apart from enhancing website security, SSL certificates also help build a reputable brand by enhancing your web visitors’ trust. The certificate also plays a significant role in improving website ranks. You should know that Google uses an SSL certificate as a crucial ranking factor. To boost SEO, you should consider installing the certificate.