Website security is important for any company with a website today, non-profit or profit. Without solid security measures in place, your website is at risk for an attack which might leak information your site users have provided in with confidence. Much of this can be prevented with some simple security measures, one of which is an SSL certificate.
What is SSL?
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It’s a technology created by Netscape which creates an encrypted connection between the visitor’s browser and your web server. The encrypted connection allows for private information to transmit without the possibility of problems like data tampering, eavesdropping and message forgery.
What is an SSL Certificate?
An SSL certificate allows you to enable SSL on your website. The certificate is installed on the server and identifies you and the website. The use of such a certificate is typically indicated by a padlock icon or a green address bar. With an SSL certificate installed you guarantee your site users that any information they enter is secure and only visible by you.
Why is SSL Needed?
If your website transmits any sort of secure information, having an SSL certificate is a must. This information might be personal information, medical info or purchase information like credit card numbers. Unless you secure your data with an official SSL certificate, it’s possible for others to see the data.
Without an SSL certificate, users will not trust your site. Many users have cancelled online signups or transactions citing a lack of trust in the site. An SSL certificate helps to prevent this abandonment from happening to you.
Where are SSL Certificates Purchased?
You can purchase an SSL certificate from a certificate authority (CA). A certificate authority is an entity that can issue SSL certificates to organizations or individuals after they are validated. A CA keeps detailed records of the certificates issued and any information used to issue it. The CAs are audited regularly and must provide a Certification Practice Statement which defines their verification procedures. You can find a variety of CAs, some which charge and some are free.
How Many Domains are Secured With an SSL Certificate?
Typically, an SSL certificate only guarantees security for a singular domain or a sub-domain. The certificate would work under a different domain name but the user’s web browser would present an error due to mismatched naming. If you need to secure multiple sub-domains you can purchase a wildcard certificate. Certain certificates will also secure several domain names in one certificate if necessary.
How Does a Non-Profit Acquire an SSL Certificate?
The process for acquiring an SSL certificate is the same for any website, whether you’re a non-profit or not. The advantage of being a non-profit is that you can often get your SSL certificate for free or at a discount. Many companies offer significantly reduced rates for government organizations, educational institutions, non-profits and other such groups.
With an SSL certificate you can guarantee your customers’ safety on your website. Purchased from a proper CA, such a certificate provides an additional layer of security. Ultimately this prevents website attacks and keeps your users’ contact, financial and other information safe and sound no matter what.