You may or may not have seen the letters SSL on a website or an email at some point. If you’ve paid attention to a web form when providing personal information or credit card information, those three letters were more than likely there. But, what do they mean? SSL is an acronym for Secure Sockets Layer, which is technology lingo for security.
It’s a little more complicated than that. SSL is standard security that encrypts links between services and clients. Usually this link happens between a web server and browser or an email server and client. What’s important for you to understand is that it keeps your sensitive information protected.
What Type of Information
It’s important to understand the type of information that SSL can keep protected for you. You might actually be surprised to learn that you utilize SSL every time you log in to a website. Typical information that SSL keeps protected includes:
- Social security numbers
- Credit card numbers
- Health information
SSL helps keep people and data secure every day. Before you send any of this information through an online form, make sure you see the small lock icon or the green address bar—both are guarantees that the site has an SSL certificate.
What’s an SSL Certificate?
Essentially, the SSL certificate creates a pair of keys (one public and one private) that work to establish the encrypted connection. The most important thing about certificates is that the most come from reliable sources. A web browser won’t trust just any certificate, which can be created by almost anyone. Instead, browsers have lists of trusted Certificate Authorities they trust. With this process, a web browser can trust an organization because they are using one of the pre-approved Certificate Authorities for their SSL certificate.
Why You Need An SSL Certificate
Why do you need an SSL certificate? It’s fairly simple: in order to have users trust you and feel comfortable providing you with their private information, they need that security. In some cases, like if you’re asking for credit card information,
you’re required to have an SSL certificate. For other things like addresses, phone numbers, social security number, and health information, your customers want to know their information is protected and having that certificate does that.