Much like a human being, a website has its own unique identity. However, this identity can be cloned by cybercriminals if not properly secured. While working remotely has become the norm as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the chances of a business experiencing data breaches have become much higher. However, businesses can reduce the risks of data breach by purchasing Secure Sockets Layers (SSL) Certificates for their websites.
By doing so, businesses are able to protect both the company data and that of their customers from being duplicated by cyber criminals. It is imperative that businesses invest in SSL Certificates to avoid data breaches similar to the one suffered by Experian which has placed millions of South Africans at risk for potential identity fraud.
These digital certificates are issued to a website’s domain name, IP address, server name or hostname. They are used to secure data transferred from one device to another by coding it, thus making it impossible for hackers to decode. The data encryption secures the channel which only grants access to the website’s identified owner.
“An SSL Certificate encrypts the information that gets sent between servers and browsers,” says Lauren Collier, SSL Specialist at LAWtrust. “It creates an encrypted tunnel making sure that data that is sent is secured. If a website is not secured with an SSL Certificate, any sensitive information or data, for example an ID number or credit card number that is entered into that site can get intercepted by hackers or cyber security attacks.”
When a company’s security infrastructure is not properly secured, that company is prone to great financial and even reputational damage. This is why it is vital for businesses to invest in SSL Certificates. Not only do these certificates secure data, they also enable organisations to adhere to the requirements and regulations that come with handling customers’ information and online payments which ties back to the recently implemented POPI Act regulations.
As a benefit, when a company installs an SSL Certificate on their website, they stand a greater chance of increasing their Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) ranking, which is particularly important for media companies and e-commerce sites. However, companies must be cognisant of the fact that no two SSL Certificates are the same. This means that if a company wants to buy an SSL Certificate, they must get one that is specific to their needs.
“There are different types of SSL Certificates based on what the company requirements are,” says Collier. “These range from securing just a single domain name or hostname to multiple domain names in a more cost-effective manner to the highest assurance SSL Certificate.”
In order to see that a site is indeed secured, one should always check if the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) address bar is identified as https with a padlock on the side, where internet users can view the SSL Certificate credentials of the site, they are visiting by clicking on the padlock.
Moreover, it is equally important for users to know that there are two different types of certificates when it comes to validation processes that are followed by a certificate authority. These are domain validated certificates and high assurance SSL Certificates. The second follows extensive verification processes which will make it harder for cybercriminals to clone.
Therefore, by taking the necessary measures of investing in SSL Certificates, many businesses are able to withstand threats from cyber attackers that may negatively affect the business, how it operates and its clients.