Article by Emma Gosper – Digital Business Advisor, Western Sydney Business Centre

If you have a website for your business, or you’re currently/thinking about setting one up, an SSL certificate is one of the most important things you need to include.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology used to establish a secure encrypted connection between a browser (user’s computer) and a server (your website).

The SSL ensures all data passed between the browser and server remain private and integral by securing sensitive data such as credit card information, passwords, and all data exchanged during each website visit.

SSL is an industry standard and is used by millions of websites in the protection of their online transactions with their customers. This is important because the information you send on the Internet is passed from computer to computer to get to the destination server. Any computer in between you and the server can see your sensitive information if it is not encrypted with an SSL certificate.

By including an SSL certificate, you’re showing your target consumers that you are a legitimate business that’s worthy of their time and trust. You’re also proving to them that you care about them and about safeguarding their information, so much so that you are willing to invest in extra online protection. Consumers tend to recommend and be loyal to brands that safeguard their interests.

It also means increased web traffic and sales. It’s not just consumers and internet users who value a website with site protection. Search engines such as Google also look at this when they are ranking sites. If you’re using an SSL certificate, you have a higher chance of appearing at the top of search engine results, and in turn, suffer if you do not.

You can identify if a website is secure by viewing the web browser address bar. If you see HTTP this means the website does not have a certificate installed, if you see HTTPS (S’ stands for ‘secure’), and a padlock icon, this mean the website is secure and contains an SSL certificate.

You can purchase an SSL certificate through your website hosting provider, or by asking your web developer to install one for you.