Security Is Not a Dirty Word – 4 Reasons Why Your Website Needs an SSL Certificate

Two Dam Creative

There is a scene in the fourth series of the classic British comedy series Blackadder, in which Captain Blackadder, played inimitably by Rowan Atkinson, snidely questions the necessity of new security measures after having, in his words, his “bottom fondled” by Captain Darling. General Melchett (Stephen Fry) responds haughtily: “Security is not a dirty work, Blackadder!”



As any devotee of British comedy will tell you, this is just one of many side-splittingly hilarious scenes from arguably the funniest series of all time. Internet security, however, is most certainly no laughing matter. Recent history is awash with online breaches that exposed the private information of staggering numbers of people, including one in 2017 that revealed the email addresses of 711 million people! Take a moment to process the sheer gravity of that kind of leak! That’s more than twenty-seven times the population of Australia!


Your business is unlikely to have anything in the same galaxy as that volume of data. Does that mean you should feel complacent about the level of security on your website? Fall into this trap, and you’re running a very real risk of placing your customers, and yourself, in serious jeopardy.


The good news is that unless you are a particularly large business, you probably do not need to fork out obscene sums to ensure that the data passing through your website is secure. Simple installation of an SSL Certificate is usually sufficient to keep all involved safe from would-be cyber-saboteurs.



What is an SSL?


A correctly installed SSL certificate will encrypt any information transmitted to or from your website, making it unreadable to any third-party individual or computer. It works a little bit like you might imagine an undercover spy network might: You enter a URL and your computer attempts to contact the web server and requests SSL. The web server sends a copy of the certificate to your browser, which it scrutinises. When satisfied that the credentials are legit, your browser sends a message back to that effect. The web server then sends a digitally signed acknowledgement to your browser, informing it that it may commence safe transmission of top-secret data, which is then encrypted so that nobody but the intended recipient can view it. I bet you didn’t realise it was that complex, correct? This begs the question: why do we need to go through such an elaborate rigmarole just to allow our computers to talk to each other? Here are four powerful reasons:



Information Security


Without an SSL, that data appears as plain text and can be read by anyone smart enough to access it. You wouldn’t publish your credit card details online, would you? The absence of an SSL is doing just that with your client’s private information. Clearly, that’s not great for business. One security breach could spell doom for your business and disaster for your customers. “But I don’t have e-commerce!” I hear you cry. Do not fall into this trap! An SSL encrypts ALL information passing through a website. This includes logins and passwords, especially those giving access to the back-end of your website. It’s probably fair to say that handing over control of your online presence to an unknown third party with ill intentions is not a particularly attractive proposition.



Rank and File


In 2014, Google informed the world that it would now include the presence of an SSL certificate as a significant organic rankings factor. This was big news at the time and sent a clear message to the world that online security is a weighty matter. Google’s business is to provide a positive online experience to its users. Call me Mr Fussy, however, having my credit card details intercepted and bank account cleared out is unlikely to fall into this category. For this reason, Google biases against sites that do not provide a secure online environment. If you want to have any hope of achieving high rankings, you must have an SSL.



Plenty of Phish in the Sea


As utterly thrilled as I am to know that the deposed former president of Zamunda thinks that I am a stand-up, trustworthy guy and wants to deposit $473 Million in my bank account, I think I’ll pass on this occasion. Phishing scams are not limited to your inbox. They can attack your server as well. The second your SSL protected server detects that its counterpart might be a little bit dodgy, it will refuse access, protecting itself from unwanted intruders.



The Circle of Trust


Online consumers and browsers alike are more sophisticated than many think. Most people are at least aware that the little padlock in the corner of their browser bar, or the letters “https” in the URL indicate that the website they are visiting is secure. The absence of such indicators is likely to send most punters fleeing to the hills with their credit cards. In a world in which online scams are rife, the presence of this basic security measure is in most cases sufficient to establish a level of trust that will encourage visitors to become customers, increasing conversions.


Whatever your online marketing goals, an SSL is an absolute must for every website. 2 Dam Creative ensures that every website we build is protected with the most trusted level of security. Want to know more? Drop us a line, and we’d love to chat.

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