SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, a protocol used to encrypt data sent over the internet.
It’s an essential method of protecting websites and their users from eavesdroppers, identity thieves, and other types of network-based attacks.
SSL is used to secure data in transit by creating an encrypted connection between two parties that can only be read by the intended recipient (the server).
The process uses public-key encryption, so it’s not possible for anyone intercepting this data on its way back and forth to decode it without having access to your private key first.
In addition to keeping prying eyes out of your session details, SSL certificates also help protect against man-in-the-middle attacks where someone impersonates both ends of the conversation without either party knowing about it until they’ve already been tricked into sharing sensitive information with them.
Using SSL certificates isn’t just about providing security.
There are also non-technical benefits associated with having an HTTPS certificate installed on your web server, such as trustworthiness and brand recognition among users who value these qualities when deciding where they’ll spend their time online (or share personal information).
These days there are many services available within the Cloud which make getting started easy enough even if you don’t have experience with IT administration tasks like configuring servers or setting up domains properly beforehand!
SSL vs. TLS
SSL and TLS are both cryptographic protocols.
They are used to encrypt connections between a server and a client so that information passed between the two cannot be intercepted or altered by anyone else.
What’s the difference between SSL and TLS?
- The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standardized SSL in 1996 as an extension of Secure Socket Layer (SSL), developed by Netscape Communications Corporation in 1994. In 1999, IETF standardized Transport Layer Security (TLS).
- Both SSL and TLS perform similar functions, but they differ in accomplishing them.
- TLS uses Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) for authentication purposes, while SSL does not rely on PKI for authentication; this means that when you see “https://” instead of just “http://” at the beginning of your web address.
- It’s because you’re using HTTPS rather than HTTP—and therefore an encrypted connection instead of an unencrypted one—but only if you’ve generated a certificate authority (CA) key pair & purchased a certificate from someone who has registered their CA with Group Policy or Windows Server Update Services (WSUS).
How Do I Choose a Secure SSL Certificate?
You can avoid certificate errors and warnings by choosing a secure SSL certificate:
- Check the certificate is issued by a trusted CA.
- Check the certificate has the right domain name.
- Check the certificate has not expired.
- Check the certificate is being used by the server and browser.
- Check that your web host provides you with an SSL Certificate. If they do not provide one, you may have to buy one yourself or use another source such as Let’s Encrypt (https://letsencrypt.org/).
Is HTTPS Enough For Security?
You may have heard that “HTTPS is enough for security” or that it “is secure by default.”
This is not true. HTTPS provides encryption between your website and the visitor’s web browser, but it does not protect your website from being hacked.
If you want to enable HTTPS on a site, you must purchase and install an SSL certificate for each domain name you want to use HTTPS (for example, www.example-business-name.com).
The certificate costs money and takes time to install and configure appropriately on the server hosting the site—so there are many reasons why getting an SSL certificate may be more trouble than it’s worth!
What Does An SSL Certificate Do?
An SSL certificate functions to protect your website from hackers and attackers. It also provides authentication, encrypts data, and increases your Google ranking.
On a technical level, an SSL certificate does all of the following:
- Protects your website from cyber-attacks by encrypting traffic between your users’ browsers and the web server that hosts your site. This means that if someone tries to intercept this traffic (for example, with a “man-in-the-middle” attack), they will not be able to read it as it will appear as gibberish.
- When dealing with customers or potential customers online, authenticates who you say you are using encryption technology like public-key cryptography (RSA). This prevents third parties from impersonating you when conducting transactions on behalf of yourself or others (such as selling goods through an e-commerce store).
What Happens If I Don’t Upgrade To TLS?
If you’re not using TLS and you don’t upgrade, here’s what can happen:
- Hackers could target you. Unsecured sites are often targeted by phishing websites and other attacks that aim to steal login information from site visitors. Hackers also use unsecured sites to infect computers with malware or viruses, which can cause all sorts of problems for you and your users.
- Search engines might downgrade your site. Not all big search engines like Google have implemented this yet (though we hope they will). Still, some now consider an SSL certificate an essential ranking factor in their algorithms, meaning that if your website isn’t encrypted, it may hurt your SEO!
- You could lose customers because they don’t trust buying things online anymore—it’s just too risky! Please don’t wait until it’s too late; ensure that your site is secure with an SSL certificate!
SSL and TLS – Which is Suitable For Your Organization?
It’s important to understand the differences between SSL and TLS and which is suitable for your organization.
Both SSL and TLS are cryptographic protocols that protect data in transit between two endpoints. When you communicate with a website using HTTPS, your data is encrypted so it can’t be intercepted or modified by third parties like hackers or ISPs.
The protocol used to encrypt this connection depends on whether you’re using HTTP (the unencrypted web version) or HTTPS (the encrypted version of the web). Suppose you’re using HTTP without SSL/TLS.
In that case, anyone with access to your Internet connection will be able to see what websites you visit, and any other unencrypted information is going back and forth from those sites.
However, if you’re using HTTPS instead (which includes an added layer of security by requiring both server authentication via digital certificates and client authentication through user names and passwords), then only people with access to those certificates can view this data—meaning hackers won’t be able to see where users are browsing online either through sniffing methods or man-in-the-middle attacks!
Now that you know what SSL is and how to get it, you can take the necessary steps to ensure your site has the extra layer of protection.
The next time someone asks you if SSL secures your website, you’ll be able to answer with confidence—and maybe even a little authority!