When you walk into a store, you know who you are dealing with.
You see the products, the branding and the store assistant. You
can be sure that if something should be wrong with your
purchase, you’ll have recourse to the store manager or owner.
But on the Internet, website visitors generally have no
reliable way of knowing who owns the website (the virtual
store). When customers visit a website with the intent of making
an online purchase, they want to know whom they’ll be paying.
They want proof of the identity of the website owner, and they
want to know that the personal information they send to the
website cannot be intercepted by other Internet users. This is
where SSL digital certificates come to the fore.
SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is a protocol developed by Netscape
that enables a web browser and a web server to communicate
securely; it allows the web browser to authenticate the web
server. The SSL protocol requires the web server to have a
digital certificate installed on it in order for an SSL
connection to be made.
Thanks to an SSL-enabled web server and an SSL
certificate, a customer connecting to a secure website is
assured of three things:
- Authentication: The website really is owned by the
company that installed the certificate.
- Message privacy: Using a unique "session
key", SSL encrypts all information exchanged between your
web server and your customers, such as credit card numbers and
other personal data. This ensures that personal information
cannot be viewed if it is intercepted by unauthorized parties.
- Message integrity: The data cannot be tampered with
over the Internet.
Your customers benefit because they know that by checking the
details in the certificate, they can assure themselves that the
website they are dealing with is in fact the website they want
to be dealing with. They also know that a third party on the
Internet cannot intercept their credit card or personal details.
If it is important for you to assure your customers that they
are not at risk when sending data over the Internet, you should
get an SSL certificate. If you have more than one domain name to
secure, then you should have more than one SSL certificate.
Digital certificates are domain name and host name specific, so
you will need as many certificates as you have domain names.
Reassurance pays. Your e-commerce business will benefit from
the SSL- enabled web server and digital certificate, and you'll
see an increase in online purchases from customers who feel more
secure buying from you online.