Do you operate an online eCommerce website? If so, do you use a Secured Socket Layer, also known as SSL? And just how important is SSL?
If you don’t use SSL for eCommerce you could be losing out on sales. SSL is the method that encrypts data as it is sent between the web server and the user’s computer. Why is this important? Your online customers want their private information kept private and not stolen or “hacked” by others with malicious intent.
Let’s put it this way. Would you take out your credit card or bank information and hand it over to a known criminal with a history of identity theft? That is exactly what your customers do if they pass along their credit card information through an unencrypted communication line.
Imagine a network where your customer is on one side of the mountain and you are on the other. In-between is a forest filled with crooks, thieves, and cons. Now, imagine that a single courier must travel from one side of the mountain to the other to deliver important financial data. How likely is it that the courier will make it to the destination via regular paths and roads? The courier could get robbed and the information stolen. Thieves could trace the courier back to the sender where more information could get swiped. Or information could be stolen and fake data replaced and sent along so no one would even know there was a theft until much later.
This leads to the main point. SSL must be used to ensure that no one looks at data on the journey to and from the web server. And it must be assured that the data sent is the actual data received.
Think of SSL as a “cloaking device”. An invisible courier has a much better chance to deliver information unseen by others, and even if it is seen, the encryption prevents any looker from deciphering the information.
What information should SSL be used for? Anything that could be considered sensitive or private. Here is just a short list of information you may want to acquire from your online customers:
- – Credit or debit card information
- – Addresses
- – Phone numbers
- – Email addresses
- – Birthdates
- – Login and password information
You also want to gain your customers’ trust. Using SEO and PPC campaigns to attract customers to your eCommerce site does no good if visitors are uncomfortable processing a payment on your site. Be sure you boldly display your security measures on the site before they make a purchase. Be sure your visitors clearly see the “S” in https:// of your URL. Use SSL certificates and be sure they are authorized by a trusted neutral third party.
Is SSL necessary? No. But without it you risk too much. You risk losing business and customers risk losing their private information. Be sure you take the necessary measure to encrypt private data through your web server.
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