In a security breach incident where a hacker defaced the website of the Philippine Bureau of Customs last , the Bureau’s page displayed a placeholder error page and rendered it inaccessible for days.

Prior to this security breach incident, there were already a lot of hackers that posed threats to websites. In an age where almost anyone has easy access to anything on the web, cybersecurity should be at the forefront of the minds of business owners. Maximizing one’s online presence should come with taking extra security measures to maintain not only your website’s safety but the information that your customers entrust you with as well. To stay on the safe side, equipping your website with an SSL certificate is a great way to start!

What is an SSL Certificate?

Secure Sockets Layer or SSL is a standard security technology responsible for securing highly sensitive information such as social security numbers, credit card numbers, and other login credentials. Attackers can intercept data since these data are usually sent in plain text between browsers and web servers. With an SSL, an encrypted link is established between a web server and a client, putting up a wall of protection for exchanging valuable information.

Who Should Have SSL Certificates?

Any business or organisation with a website should have an SSL Certificate. For businesses with eCommerce websites and have more at stake, an SSL Certificate is a must-have because these sites collect sensitive data for processing payment transactions. Cybercrimes are most likely  to happen in places where hackers can swindle money from paying customers. The trust that customers put in your hands means more than just promising to deliver the quality service that they paid for, but also keeping the data they share with you safe.

Here are the top 5 benefits an SSL Certificate can bring to your business.

5 Reasons Why Your Website Needs an SSL Certificate:

1. SSL Certificates Ensure Website Security

The Bureau of Customs is only one of the many government offices in the country that its people trust to manage smooth transactions. The repercussions of the attack on a government website serve as a dangerous precedent to other defenseless websites holding information of millions of Filipinos that unless you take careful security measures, no one is spared from such threats. While the Bureau of Customs has already adopted a security management system to prevent future cyberattacks, it still goes to show that prevention is much better than the cure. 

In this case, an SSL certificate here will work as a digital certificate, indicating your credibility as the certificate holder, containing the serial number, expiration date, as well as the signature of the authority that issued your certificate.

Most of the users leave a webpage upon seeing a message that says, ‘This webpage is not secure’. You may have come across this message yourself and felt the alarming need to close that tab and flee from that website as soon as possible. Of course, we want to give our customers a good browsing experience, and that comes with ensuring them that they are not straying from safety whenever they enter your website.

2. SSL Enhances Your SEO Ranking

Google has announced back in 2017 that it will flag down websites without an SSL Certificate. To keep users aware of potential dangers a website has, Google will notify them by showing a message in the address bar saying “Not Safe” for the websites without the certificate. Business owners should be mindful of their search engine rankings because it drives traffic to your website, prompting user engagement and conversions. 

Since Google prioritizes safe browsing for users, websites with SSL Certificates are given improved search engine rankings. Where SEO is concerned, HTTPS will be used as the ranking parameter. The S in HTTPS implies secure encryption. 

Remember that Google is not the only browser that can flag unsafe sites; other search engines are also cracking down non-secure websites by checking if sites have HTTP or HTTPS links.

3. Helps Gain Your Customers’ Trust

Even if you do not have an e-commerce website, an SSL certification is an absolute must because users will not visit your website at the first signs of insecurity, much less buy from you or avail of your services. Building your brand reputation comes with showing your customers that you value their trust and that you look out for their security.

The trust seals come in the form of icons with the words ‘Secured’ or ‘Verified’ provided by SSL providers or web agencies to assure users a secure connection. These simple signs help build trust and boost your website’s conversions significantly.

4. Improves Site Speed

Website ranking partially relies on your page loading speed. Customers are more likely to come back to your website if it loads quickly. Having an encrypted site helps your page load much faster compared to if you don’t have an SSL Certificate protecting it. 

HTTPS improves website performance and in turn, gives your SEO rankings a boost as mentioned above. More recently, SSL certificates support the more updated HTTP protocol– the HTTP/2. 

HTTP/2 optimizes your website’s performance because it can accommodate the demands of all modern day browsers. This delivers better performance as it compresses website headers for lesser data transfers, as well as multiplexes to enable browsers to simultaneously load many resources.

It is supported by all web server implementations when it is used over an encrypted connection, which means that purchasing an SSL certificate automatically upgrades your website and allows you to enjoy the performance optimizations of the HTTP/2.

5. SSL is cost-effective

Another advantage of an SSL certificate is that not only is it simple to execute, but it is also a cost-effective way of enforcing web safety. Leaving your website without a first line of defense puts you in a vulnerable position with millions at stake and so much more to lose. Investing in a certificate as a preventive measure assures you that even though preemptive cyberattacks may strike anytime, you don’t have to worry about highly critical damages on your website. 

Naturally, the more certificates you need, the greater the prospective fees are. Smaller businesses frequently opt out of getting SSL certificates because it may sound like an intimidating task to do. Don’t put your business and your customers at risk of cyber-attacks. Enforcing website security is a small price to pay than having to be sorry later on. You just have to look around for web professionals that will consider your position and offer their services at a reasonable price. 

In the world of the Internet, it doesn’t matter if you have a big or a small business; every website needs to implement solid security measures. You never really know when cyber-attacks may strike, so it’s better to bet on the safe side by obtaining an SSL certificate.