Website owners are forced to consistently deploy appropriate security mechanisms to counter the ever-increasing threat of cybercrimes – the cost of not doing so is high. Just one security breach can lead to the site being hacked and result in the business losing customers, revenue and reputation.
It would help if you continuously were on the lookout for better tools and policies so you can make effective use of your security arsenal to protect yourself and your customers from hackers. One efficient way of achieving security of data being transferred between the web browser and the webserver is to install an SSL certificate. It not only protects your website but also brings in additional benefits such as increased online reputation and better SEO results on Google.
However, there are so many myths surrounding the use of SSL and HTTPs that it is easy for site owners to be confused about adding these simple and effective security features to their website. Do not believe everything you hear or read – a lot of stories around the use of SSL and HTTPs are not true. To make the whole concept transparent, we bring you the facts, so you do not fall prey to the common myths surrounding these technologies.
SSL certificates cost a lot of money
One common myth is that SSL certificates require a lot of money and are a wasteful expenditure for smaller players. Nothing can be far from the truth – you can choose between various SSL types based on your traffic volume, budget and nature of operations.
For instance, you could get a Cheap SSL from SSL2BUY and get the security you need without breaking the bank. You can go for a DV (Domain Validated) SSL certificate for primary security or consider OV (Organizational Validated) and EV (Extended Validation) SSL certificates for more higher validation and business identity establishment.
SSL certificates provide full protection to websites
SSL certificates do not provide you with complete protection against hackers – in reality, SSL certificates protect your data from the prying eyes of cybercriminals during transit by securing the data transition between the user’s browser and your website. The encryption of the transmitted information helps you secure sensitive data such as login credentials, credit card numbers and other personally identifiable info.
Though SSL is a great mechanism to secure data in transit, it does nothing to prevent hackers from using vulnerabilities on your website to break in and steal sensitive data from your web server and database. You must deploy other security mechanisms to secure your webs server files and data storage – this includes adopting strict security policies for employees and customers.
Only e-commerce sites need SSL security
It is true that e-commerce sites handle a lot of sensitive data and hence cannot risk not having an SSL certificate involved to protect information exchange from man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks.
Even if you do not handle sensitive information, consider the additional benefits that you lose out on by not having an SSL certificate installed on your website.
To begin with, SSL certificates have a considerable impact on how well your website ranks on SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) – Google has long been saying that it considers HTTPs to be a key ranking factor. So, if you are looking to grow your traffic organically, you must install an SSL certificate.
Also, your users will not have to go through the unpleasant experience of having to deal with security warnings on their web browser if your webserver has a valid SSL certificate. This makes your site seem more trustworthy to the visitors of your website, resulting in lowered bounce rate and increased possibility of return traffic. Moreover, your customers get a confidence boost knowing that the content they are consuming is original and unaltered.
HTTPs makes your website painfully slow
Another myth is HTTPs works with encryption/decryption of the information, so there is could be a difference in performance when compared to HTTP. However, the difference is negligible, and this myth does not consider the significant advantages your gain by adopting SSL security. Performance has improved drastically with the improvements in technology since the introduction of HTTP/2 in the year 2015.
The solution is use of HTTP/2 which can increase the speed of website loading on HTTPS. Due to ability of taking multiple requests at the same time, HTTP2 will give an enhanced speed compare to HTTP/1. Moreover, other features with HTTP2 are improved performance, better error management, reduced latency, and smaller overhead without modifying the web applications.
Note that several other factors contribute to a slowdown in website performance, though it is easy to blame HTTPs most of the time (which is plain wrong). Watch out for issues with server and networking hardware, software deployed on the webserver, database accessing speed and user navigation patterns. Irrespective of HTTP or HTTPs, serving dynamic content will be slower than working with static pages.
Still, you can use performance measuring tools to find the root cause of slow website performance and fine-tune your hardware, software, storage, network and website configuration to improve page load time for your customers.
SSL certificate is a one-time investment
A lot of people think they can install an SSL certificate and forget about it forever – that is not true. SSL certificates have expiry dates and must be renewed in time for them to remain valid. If you do not extend your SSL certificate subscription, your website will no longer be protected. Your site visitors will get a warning about the same on their web browsers – this happens because the validity of the SSL certificate is the first thing a browser checks for when connecting to a website on HTTPs. Many SSL providers offer early renewal benefit with a huge discount that you can take advantage of it.
SSL certificates are not mandatory for your business
Various government regulations and international norms such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) require that customers’ data and other private information related their health, etc. be kept secure and confidential. While HIPPA protects visitors from the US and GDPR applies to the residents of EU nations, the list of regulations your website may need to comply with can be much longer.
More and more countries are now framing laws in a bid to make the internet a safer place for their citizens and organizations must respond responsibly to stay in business. These regulations make it necessary for website owners and businesses to adopt required security mechanisms and policies to protect customer data and safeguard the privacy of visitors from these countries.
Your business may have to suffer heavy penalties for not complying with the applicable security regulations – for bigger companies, and the costs could be in billions of dollars if held liable for the breach.
Data encryption during transit provided by SSL certificates is a key component of all these regulations. Hence, SSL is not a choice for you anymore – you must have HTTPs turned on if you are in a business that needs to comply with any online security legal framework.
Finally, this should have helped debunk some of the most common myths surrounding HTTPs and SSL. As you can see, SSL/HTTPs have benefits that go beyond their primary function of protecting data during transit. They help you get more organic traffic and improve customer confidence. In some cases, the regulations covering your operations make it mandatory for you to install SSL certificates. Irrespective of your reason to get an SSL certificate, at least now you will be making an informed decision instead of getting lost in the sea of false information.