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SSL: what is it and does my website need it?

I’ll start with an answer:

Yes. Your website does need SSL.

In fact, any business that uses a website to process or handle data – particularly sensitive data such as credit card details – should ensure that a valid SSL certificate is registered against their domain. This will help you stay secure and give your customers confidence that you treat their security seriously (and that you are who you say you are!).

Previously, SSL has largely only been a necessity only for online sales businesses (eCommerce websites), but as the web evolves, so too does the threat to individual security.

So, what exactly is SSL?

SSL Certificates are an essential step in protecting your website users from these threats, even if your data collection is restricted to just a simple contact form.

It gets a bit technical here, so we’ll hand over to our friends at GoDaddy to give you a quick and simple overview of what SSL does. Click play to watch their video below:

 

Keeping visitors safe and presenting your business’ credibility are extremely important priorities for businesses. Ultimately, if you mess up in this area, the least of your problems will be the significant reputation damage that might be caused by a hack; the worst may be the hefty fines from the ICO (I refer you to the recent TalkTalk data breach) or the closure of your business!

SSL can also have a positive impact on your marketing efforts. Major search engines, such as Google, are starting to give priority in search results to those sites with valid SSL certificates. Not to mention the positive image it portrays of your business as one that takes security seriously!

Perhaps the most important message from GoDaddy is that ‘no site is too small to get hacked’. Those who aim to exploit security weaknesses on the internet often automate the task of doing so with clever computer programs searching for vulnerabilities (think of a car thief trying the door handles of all the cars on a street, looking to find an open one).

This automation means that attacks are often indiscriminate and the attackers often don’t care who they are targeting – it’s a case of how easy it is. The question you’ve got to ask yourself is this: how easy do you want to make it for them? Continuing the car metaphor, not having an SSL certificate is like leaving your car door open!

How do I get an SSL certificate?

Talk to your web hosting company, domain provider or web developer and they will be able to provide you with specific advice and guidance on how to secure your website and will be best placed to support you.
There’s also plenty of support and resources available across the web on SSL certificates, just use this search on Google.

If you’re still not sure, feel free to leave a comment below or get in touch with us and we’ll see if our team can help.

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