The importance and benefits of SSL certificates in the digital era

The importance and benefits of SSL certificates in the digital era

Have you ever thought of the need to wear a seat belt while driving?

Or wearing a helmet while out on your motorcycle?

Be it a seatbelt or a helmet — both are meant to save you from accidents.

In the digital world where you drive your everyday life with mobile apps, email, online shopping and much more, an SSL certificate is a safety mechanism.

It is there to protect you from the perils of the internet. And, it does save you in several ways. If you use the internet, you need an SSL certificate.

Here are some reasons why it is important.

It helps protect data

In a typical online transaction, data travels both the ways — from the user to the server and from the server to the user. Anywhere in between, if there is a weak link, hackers can use it to infiltrate the system and steal data.

Such data could be the user’s personal information, financial assets, login credentials of other web services and so on. In other words, if you are hacked, right from your Netflix login to your banking password, everything can be lost forever.

An SSL certificate prevents that from happening. It uses encryption technology to ensure that data is converted into a jumbled collection of alphabets and special characters that a third-party (or a hacker) can make no sense of. Only an identified and authorized with a private key will be accessing the information at the other end.

It establishes a positive identity

Studies dating way back to 1994 (ResearchGate) found that true loyal customers have a higher inclination to repeat purchases from brands with a positive identity. This positive identity could stem from psychological, social and value-driven factors.

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For example, a customer is more drawn towards buying Levis brand jeans because they know it is the best brand when it comes jeans apparels. Similarly, in the eCommerce realm, a customer would be more drawn to buying from an online store which exhibits traits of positive brand identity.

Security is a core element of an online brand’s identity. Signals like HTTPS bar that shows the brand name/business ownership, trust seals that establish genuinity of the product being sold and security logos all contribute to establishing a positive identity.

In a nutshell, a website with an SSL certificate will be able to conjure a positive identity in the mind of prospects/customers.

It gives SEO advantage

Since 2014 Google has started using HTTPS as a ranking signal. Websites without the HTTPS address bar are labeled as insecure. In fact, studies have proven that the top ranking websites in Google have the HTTPS address bar. Additionally, 40% of Google’s organic traffic listings bear the HTTPS address bar. So, clearly, HTTPS does give an SEO advantage that all website owners can make use of.

The benefits of SSL-driven SEO advantage is obvious. First, the higher ranking helps drive more traffic to the website. The traffic so generated will also have a higher conversion rate. This means a higher ROI for money spent. Also, organic traffic converting into paid customers means that the business will be able to sustain its volume for a long time.

It improves customer trust

More than 84% of customers would abandon a purchase if the store that they are dealing with does not have adequate security provisions. In the words of Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba — “For eCommerce, the most important thing is trust.” Without trust, no online retailer can sell for long.

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The good news is, an SSL certificate can help improve the trustworthiness of your store. It can make customers believe that you are the real store and that the products sold are indeed genuine and authorized by the original manufacturers.

Since brand trust has become the foremost factor that customers look for before buying any product, it is essential that your brand invests in an SSL certificate.

It complies with PCI DSS requirements

PCI DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. It is a set of protocols laid down by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. The standards lay down that every organization must adhere to certain processes while collecting or handling credit card information through the internet.

The standard also lays down the scope of applicability depending on the volume of transactions. Deploying a security measure to secure the collection and handling of the credit card information is an important mandate of the standard. SSL certificates help meet that mandate by providing encryption-based security. It prevents third parties from accessing or reading the credit card number that customers share through online means.

In a nutshell

SSL certificates have been around for quite a long time. They have become crucial as security measures in today’s time’s thanks to the mushrooming growth of online retail as well as cybersecurity crimes. SSL certificates ensure that your business remains free from the clutches of hackers who deploy brute force attacks, eavesdropping, and several other security measures. In the process, they also bestow upon your business several benefits that accrue both in the short-term and long-term.