SSL Certificates: What they are and why you need one

If you use the internet on a daily basis, you will come across sites secured with an SSL certificate. Did the last site you visit have an https:// URL in the address bar, as opposed to http://? Then that site is secured with an SSL certificate!

Does your browser have a nice little green lock next to the URL? Then that site is encrypted with an SSL certificate. So, by now you’re probably asking – What is an SSL certificate and why do I need one?

SSL Certificates are small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s details. When installed on a web server, it activates the padlock and the https protocol and allows secure connections from a web server to a browser.

In simple terms, this means that when you enter data into a website with an SSL certificate, the information is encrypted by your browser, sent encrypted to the server hosting the website, and decrypted by the website. The cryptographic key is only known by the server the website is hosted on. This means that even if a third party was to obtain the information you sent to the website (including your credit card number!), it is theoretically impossible to decrypt without the cipher.

There are certain types of websites that require an SSL certificate no matter what. eCommerce websites that process payments on site will require an SSL certificate, not just to use the third party payment provider, but also to be PCI-DSS compliant. Any website that receives, sends or stores data deemed sensitive by the Data Protection Act of 1998 will need to use SSL encryption to be operating within the law.

Even if your website doesn’t fall into those categories, an SSL certificate is a small investment that helps improve the integrity of your online presence. It helps to improve the user’s experience and gives them peace of mind, that when they enter their information, it’s not going to fall into the wrong hands.

So if you’re interested in talking more about SSL certificates or if you need help obtaining one, just reach out to the friendly folks at NuRelm and let us know how we can assist!

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