Why SSL Certificates are Vital for eCommerce Security

November 17, 2023 / Security and Privacy

SSL-Certificates

If you run an eCommerce website or are thinking of starting one, the security of your website and your customers has to be a major priority. While there are several strands required to effectively put this in place, one of the most important is to install an SSL certificate. In this post, we will explain what SSL certificates are, their benefits for security and the choices of SSL available to you.

What are SSL certificates?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, and this is a standard security protocol for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser during online communications. Essentially, the SSL certificate ensures that all data transmitted between your web server and your visitors’ browsers remains encrypted and private.

When a web server and browser need to establish a secure connection, they engage in a process called an ‘SSL handshake’. This ensures that both parties have the right keys to encrypt and decrypt a message.

One of the changes that happens when you install an SSL certificate on your server, is that the application protocol (known as HTTP) shifts to HTTPs, where the ‘S’ stands for ‘secure’. This will mean that the start of your website address or URL will change from http:// to https://.

SSL and eCommerce security

Installing an SSL provides the following benefits for eCommerce sites:

Protect sensitive information

When making online purchases, customers need to enter personal and financial information like their name, address and banking details. SSL certificates encrypt this data, making it unreadable to anyone other than the intended recipient. As a result, even if a hacker intercepts the data, they won’t be able to understand it or use it.

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Building trust

In a world where people are wary of giving their personal details online, a visible SSL certificate, often represented by a padlock symbol or the word ‘Secure’ in the browser’s address bar, gives customers peace of mind. It assures them that their personal and financial information is secure and provides the confidence and trust to shop with you. As a result, it can lead to increased sales and customer loyalty.

SEO benefits

Search engines want to ensure that their users have a good experience when using their website. For this reason, they give preference to websites that are secured using SSL certificates as that is where they’d rather send their users to. This means that having an SSL certificate can give your site a slight boost in search engine rankings, driving more visitors your way.

Authentication and verification

Apart from encryption, SSL certificates also provide authentication. This ensures that the customer’s information is sent to the right server and not to an imposter trying to steal data. A good SSL certificate also provides validation that your organisation is legitimate and that the website is indeed owned by your company. Some even offer a warranty, paying compensation if financial loss results from encryption failure.

Protection from phishing attacks

Phishing emails often contain links that lead unsuspecting customers to a counterfeit website from where they can have their financial details stolen. However, because of the verification process that happens when buying an SSL certificate, it is difficult for these malicious actors to be allowed one. This means that when customers see the HTTPS and padlock symbol, they can be more confident they’re not on a phishing site.

What happens without SSL?

Without an SSL certificate, any data passed between web servers and browsers is in plain text. If a hacker intercepts this data, they can see it, steal it, use it and sell it, potentially causing a range of problems, from financial fraud to identity theft.

Additionally, modern browsers have taken the initiative to warn users about sites that aren’t secure. If you don’t have an SSL certificate, visitors might see a warning that your site is not secure, which could deter potential customers from shopping with you.

SSL choices

When it comes to SSL certificates, there is a range of options available to website owners. On one hand, there are free SSL certificates like those provided by Let’s Encrypt, a non-profit certificate authority that offers domain-validated certificates. Let’s Encrypt has gained significant popularity due to its being free and its easy integration with many hosting providers. On the other hand, there are commercial versions, like GlobalSign SSLs, whose extended validation certificates require more rigorous verification and offer higher levels of trust.

While free certificates can be an excellent choice for smaller businesses or individuals, it’s essential to evaluate your website’s needs. If you’re running a high-traffic eCommerce store, investing in a premium SSL might be beneficial for the added trust and validation it can bring to your customers.

Conclusion

In today’s digital market, security is vital and expected. SSL certificates play a key role in this, offering not just encryption but also authentication. For eCommerce websites, which deal with personal and financial details all the time, an SSL certificate has become a necessity. Hopefully, you should now know what they are, how they work and why they are so important.

For more information, see our range of GlobalSign SSL Certificates.

Author

  • Arjun Shinde

    I'm an experienced digital marketer with expertise in planning, SEO, SEM, and social media. I'm good at creating engaging content and optimising campaigns for a strong online presence.

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3 Comments

  1. You can even get shared SSL certificate from your host providers after paying very small amount.

  2. 128 bits, can calculate 288 times as many combinations as 40-bit encryption, means trillion time stronger, but except few SSL provider it is hard to get the real high level encruption. BTW 128- or 256-bit encryption is already available with some of reputed SSL providers.

  3. The SSL certificate insure the customers for trust and they feel secured doing business with you especially when they notice a recognizable trust mark on your site ( for example like VeriSign Secure Site seal)  they are more comfortable shopping on those sites and  come back for better repeat purchases.

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