SSL Certificates: What are they and why do Startups need them?

April 9th, 2013 by

SSL certificate

Reputation. Security. Trust. These three words are now upon the lips of every CIO and IT manager as they ponder which platform to use to drive innovation inside a startup that faces incredible amounts of online competition both inside the UK, and abroad.

With recent security breaches inside Evernote and Sony, users are becoming savvier, exercising care over which websites they visit and more importantly, which companies they will give their credit card information to over the Internet. While many business owners are choosing dedicated servers to exercise great control over server infrastructure and deploy new web applications, they need extra layers of ‘trust’ built into the system, especially if users are involved in an ecommerce transaction.

Deploying an SSL certificate is the one thing that helps IT managers sleep better at night and simultaneously puts customers’ minds at ease. The green address bar lock that appears to the left of web address bar along with the letters ‘https’ create instant trust, credibility and security at both a technical and marketing level.

Secure Sockets Layers (SSL) help hosting companies secure message transmissions over the Internet. Originally developed by Netscape, it has evolved from something called Transport Layer Security (TLS), to offer a program layer sitting between the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and Transport Control Protocol (TCP) layers. Using private and public key encryption, SSL has become a key feature in modern web browser security and web server platforms.

According to the software developers, UK2 SSLs offer a unique ‘point-to-verify’ technology displaying real time verification of business credentials (and warranty) whenever a visitor hovers their mouse cursor over the seal.

Instant SSLs offered by UK2 via Comodo feature 2048 bit signatures and 128/256 Bit encryption, signifying an extremely high degree of security, and consequently greater consumer trust in your ecommerce store.

While many small businesses and startups also need to consider reputation management inside their social media marketing apparatus, nothing will ruin your reputation faster than a hacked financial transaction online. SSLs are the answer to this problem.

Presently worldwide ecommerce transactions total nearly $1 trillion and show no signs of slowing down. But without encryption, startups and small businesses risk forever damaging their reputation and ability to attract new customers.

An SSL gives businesses online legitimacy, and industry bodies recognise the SSL padlock as a real, valid signature that the online transaction is “safe”.

Accord to Comodo, UK2’s SSL partner, the value of a SSL is protected by the strength of a standard two-point validation process:

• Step 1: Verify that the applicant owns, or has legal right to use, the domain name featured in the application.

• Step 2: Verify that the applicant is a legitimate and legally accountable entity.

Comodo reports that the compromise of either step endangers the message of trust and legitimacy provided to the end consumer.

“Only by choosing a strongly validated SSL Certificate from a provider who performs two-step validation processes can the user expectations of SSL be realised, and ultimately preserved. Consumers have long associated SSL with more than just encryption. Yet, by removing sufficient validation, the Certificate Authority is not fulfilling its responsibilities to deliver the trust in a “trusted certificate”.

When choosing a web-hosting provider to launch a dedicated server, make sure unlimited SSL certificates feature front and center in their product offerings. This shows they are security conscious and have your best interests at heart. Further, you will be able to distribute SSLs to any clients who use your services either within marketing bundles or by selling them at higher prices.

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