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Protect Your Business With SSL Certificates

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by Forrest Yingling

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Certificates have become a staple of the e-commerce industry and are a requirement for PCI Compliance.  If you see a closed padlock (or an “s” following the “http” in the web address, ie “https”) in the address bar of your web browser then you know you are currently being protected by an SSL certificate.  SSL Certificates encrypt sensitive data such as credit card numbers in the checkout process.  Information is encrypted by the SSL Certificate’s ability to turn personal and private data into an incompressible set of gibberish so that this information cannot be compromised by those with malicious intent, such as hackers or identity thieves.

When conducting business online, it is imperative that online business owners and operators protect themselves and their customers.  A security breach can be very expensive and is detrimental to all those involved.  With the burgeoning rate of identity theft and credit card scams, it is vital to protect everyone involved in online shopping.  To provide a scope of how serious a problem credit card fraud is, the five major credit card companies report over $1 billion in losses per year stemming from stolen credit card information (much of which occurs online).

When an SSL certificate is in place then data is being encrypted on all sides, meaning between the customers computer and the web servers.  SSL certificates are not only necessary for those involved in selling on the Internet.  They can apply to anyone handling sensitive information such as banks, utility companies and so forth.  With such an abundance of private information being shared across the web, it is imperative to have the proper security precautions in place so that customers as well as merchants feel safe.

To your customers – having an SSL certificate in place shows that you take their confidentiality and personal information seriously.  Currently, most e-commerce sites offer 128-bit encryption.  This ensures them that their customers will be protected no matter what browser they are using.  If a store handles payments or collects private information like addresses, social security numbers, or dates of birth then it needs to use 128-bit or better encryption.  Sites using 128-bit or better encryption are virtually immune to hackers and their customers can feel safe.

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