SSL: what is it and why do you need it?

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Across the globe e-commerce is undergoing staggering growth and the UK is one of the markets leading this trend. More and more British shoppers are choosing to buy online rather than in shops, meaning that whilst high street visits are dropping by 3% annually UK e-commerce is currently growing by upwards of 10% year on year.

Although there are many positives to e-commerce, if website providers do not take the necessary precautions customers can be exposed to the risk of having their details stolen. Unsecure connections and a lack of encryption are two of the most common problems that can put consumers at risk.

As more and more transactions are occurring online, it is imperative that the multitude of websites offering online purchases and transactions ensure adequate systems are in place to protect customers’ details. Secure Sockets Layer (commonly known as SSL) is a means of encryption that can be used by businesses to protect online communications such as customers’ payment details or addresses.

SSL works through businesses obtaining an SSL certificate which is linked to a web server. These certificates are obtained from third parties who are licensed to distribute them. Gaining a certificate enables SSL protocols which has clear benefits for both consumers and businesses. SSL allows for a private connection between two parties across the public internet, giving protection to information that is transferred between customers and vendors. Moreover, having an SSL certificate gives customers’ peace of mind from knowing they can trust a website.

Internet browsers are programmed to recognise websites with an SSL certificate and will give users an indication of whether the website is secure or not, often in the form of an icon such as a padlock. Furthermore, the domain of SSL verified websites will change from http:// to https://. The combination of these two elements makes it easy for internet shoppers to check that websites are safe to shop on, meaning that, for a business, getting an SSL certificate is one of the best ways of showing consumers you are taking the necessary steps to protect their details. By taking advantage of a free SSL proxy from Thawte, you can ensure your website and customers are properly protected and trustworthy.