Why Is SSL Important? 7 Reasons You Should Consider

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated August 30, 2022

Published June 1, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

An SSL certificate is an important way to secure user information and protect against hackers. It's a good idea to obtain an SSL certificate for any professional website that handles sensitive data, like financial information or medical records. If your company has an e-commerce website or collects sensitive customer data, it might be helpful to learn more about getting an SSL certificate.

In this article, we discuss what an SSL is, explain why SSL technology is important for a website and provide a list of ways that professionals can use an SSL certificate.

What is SSL?

A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a protocol for websites that creates a secure link between a web browser and a web server. This link encrypts the information within a website, meaning that if anyone tried to access, hack or intercept the data on the browser, they would instead see a mix of numbers, letters and characters, which makes it difficult to understand the information.

Related: A Complete Guide to SSL: What It Is and How It Works

What is an SSL certificate?

An SSL certificate is a data file that users can install on web servers for security purposes. When users install SSL certificates on their server, it activates security protocols, which enables a secure connection between a server and a website.

Typically, websites have SSL certificates when they ask for personal information from users, like payment information or email addresses. Companies who work with user information, like doctor offices, retail stores or subscription services, typically have SSL certificates for their website. Here are the different kinds of SSL certificates:

  • Single Domain SSL Certificate: This certificate works for one individual domain, but not any subdomains.

  • Wildcard SSL Certificate: This certificate covers one domain and its subdomains.

  • Unified Communications (UCC) SLL Certificate: This certificate protects a user's multiple domains under one certificate. This can cover up to 100 domains at a time.

  • Domain Validation (DV) Certificate: This certificate covers multiple domains and offers a lower level of encryption, though it leaves subdomains unprotected.

  • Organization Validated (OV) SSL Certificate: This certificate provides a moderate level of encryption and they generally are the least expensive certificate.

  • Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificate: This certificate offers the highest level of protection, and sites that handle a high degree of sensitive information typically choose this certificate.

Related: What are the 5 Different Types of Domains? (With Examples)

Why is SSL important for a website?

Here are several reasons why SSL is important for a website:

1. Protects user data

Using an SSL certificate provides protection for you and anyone who visits your website. Whenever a user enters their personal information into a website, the SSL blocks anyone outside the website from accessing that information. When setting up the SSL, you can designate who has access to sensitive information, which gives those individuals options to view secure data.

Related: Working in Cybersecurity: Definition, Careers and Skills

2. Gives you more protection against hackers

If you use an SSL certificate, your information is less likely to get hacked. It's especially useful to use SSL certificates if your website involves usernames, passwords, credit card information or personal information since this is typically the information that hackers search for. If they hack your website, the SSL certificate turns the data into jumbled and confusing formatting which is nearly impossible to decipher.

Related: Types of Encryption: 5 Common Encryption Algorithms

3. Increases search engine ranks

Many browsers promote websites that have SSL, so that users can visit websites that have excellent protective measures. If you're looking to gain popularity for your website, installing SSL certificates may be better for your website's search engine optimization (SEO), which can increase the amount of traffic to your website. Some browsers label websites that do not have an SSL certificate as "not secure" which might make users less likely to visit your website.

Related: Guide: What Is SEO?

4. Meets PCI standards

Any website that accepts online payments from users must first meet the Payment card Industry (PC) Data Security Standard requirements. These comprise a set of steps that you must take to be eligible to accept credit card payments online. One of these steps is obtaining an SSL certificate to secure your website, so getting an SSL puts you one step close to meeting PCI standards.

Related: Definitive Guide to Website Security Certifications

5. Establishes trust with users

Having an SSL certificate may help you build trust with individuals who use your website. These certificates protect their information and can provide them with peace of mind while shopping. You can provide messages to your users that explain how their information is secure on your website because of the SSL certificate.

Related: HTTP vs. HTTPS: Learn the Differences

6. Requires security identification

SSL requires users to verify their identity before inputting information into your website, which lowers the risk of stolen identities or fraudulent purchases. It also requires authentication before you send private information to a third party.

For example, if a user makes a payment through your website, and then you place that money into a bank account, the SSL requires the bank to identify themselves, to ensure you're sending the money to the correct facility.

Related: Must-Have Cyber Security Skills

7. Identifies risks

If you have SSL for your website, you may get notified when a potential hack or security threat happens. Typically, when hackers try to infiltrate your website, you can be notified right away, so that you can take the proper security measures, like checking that the website's information is still secure and changing any passwords or login data. You can also log any cases of potential hacking so that you can quickly identify if hackers were able to get the website's data.

Who uses SSL?

Here are several professions across various industries that may use SSL:

  • IT professionals: IT professionals may repair and install SSL into software to protect their client's information.

  • Web developers: Web developers may enhance SSL certificates and make them more user-friendly and compatible with applications.

  • Retail employees: Any store that has a website can use SSL to protect the sale information, like a customer's credit card information.

  • Marketing specialists: Professionals within the marketing field can protect data related to marketing budgets and advertising information.

  • Banking professionals: Banks may download SSL into their software to protect online bank accounts, which may include sensitive information like credit card numbers and social security data.

  • Education professionals: Individuals who work in education may use SSL to protect information within their school's website about students' medical records and grading data.

  • Financial managers: Professionals who work in finance can use SSL to secure their client's financial information and secure any digital investment applications they use in their practice.

  • Health care professionals: Health care facilities can use SSL within their systems to ensure patient medical records and insurance information are safe from hackers.

  • Insurance specialists: Since insurance companies handle information regarding private policies, user accounts and financial data, insurance specialists can use SSL to protect their data.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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