Why You NEED SSL and How it Works

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What is SSL
SSL comes from the term Secure Sockets Layer. It was the most common cryptographic protocol for security over internet communications before being replaced by Transport Layer Security. Even though the protocol has changed, this technology is still referred to as “SSL”.

What does an SSL Certificate do?
The TLS protocol is meant to provide privacy and data integrity when establishing a connection between a web server and a browser.

Common properties of this protocol included:

  • A private connection via encrypted data transmission.
  • All information you send over the internet is passed through multiple computers before reaching its destination. With an SSL, this information will be unreadable to all computers except the one you are sending the information to.
  • Integrity checks on transmitted messages.
  • An SSL will check for and identify any vulnerabilities in a network.
  • Identity authentication between communicating parties.
  • Some SSL Certificates use public-key cryptography – a system that uses pairs of public keys to encrypt messages.

Why do I need SSL?
SSL Certificates are essential in ensuring that sensitive information is secure. They keep data confidential and protect the integrity of communication between servers, computers, and browsers. It is important for eCommerce websites to ensure they are encrypted to prevent from cyber attacks and threats.

Have you ever visited a website a noticed a message next to the URL saying, “Not Secure”? That is either because the website doesn’t have an SSL certificate, or they haven’t properly implemented it.

Google has announced that it’s going to begin flagging unsecure websites as unsafe. When a user visits a website and sees the message “Not Secure”, they lose trust in the website. With a properly installed SSL, you strengthen your brand presence. Properly implementing HTTP over TLS, or HTTP over SSL (HTTPS), on your website will ensure your website doesn’t get marked as unsafe and increase visitor trust.

How does an SSL Certificate work?
SSL Certificates are like digital passports. When a browser connects to a website with SSL, it sends a request for the website to identify itself.

The website sends a certificate with its information:

  • Name of holder
  • Serial Number
  • Expiration Date
  • Public Key
  • Signature of Issuing Authority

The browser checks this information to determine if the website should be trusted then sends a message back to the web server. The web server then digitally signs and sends back approval to start an encrypted session. Encrypted data is then shared between the browser and web server. Example – John sends a message to Joe. The message is locked with Joes public key. The only way to unlock the message is with Joe’s private key. If a hacker tries to unlock the message without Joe’s private key, the hacker will only see cryptographic code which is unreadable.

How do I add an SSL Certificate on my website?
It is recommended that your reach out to your web master and web host to properly implement SSL.

Here are some steps you can take to get started:

  • Purchase an SSL Certificate - There are multiple versions of SSL’s but the most common are Self-Signed Cert and Certificate Authorities (CA’s). Self-Signed Cert’s aren’t as trusted as CA’s, so it is recommended you choose the latter of the two.
  • Once you purchase your Certificate, you need to activate it. Most web hosts do this for free, so reach out to them and ask. If you are unsure, contact your web developer or webmaster and ask for their assistance.
  • Once activate, the certificate must be installed through your cPanel. Again, reach out to your host or web professional.
  • Update your website to use HTTPS. This step is technical and the process various depending on how your website is built.

How much does an SSL Certificate cost?
SSL are usually purchased annually, and their prices vary depending on the provider and type of SSL, but they typically range for $30-$60 per year. Some web host even offer them for free as part of a hosting package.

Request an SSL Certificate today!
Contact I.T. Control today to purchase and professionally install your SSL Certificate.