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What is SSL and why is it important?

This is our first podcast, and hopefully the first of many. This podcast launches our Site Security September and talks about what SSL is and why it is important.

 

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The transcript is below for our hearing impaired friends as well as those who like to read.

FutureTheory Podcast #1 Transcript

Hi I’m Germaine, and I’m Damiane, welcome to the FutureTheory podcast.

We’re hoping this becomes a regular thing. It’s designed to be important for basically anyone who owns their own website or is interested in marketing; so if you’re a business owner, if you’re working as a marketing coordinator or a marketing person, or if you’re just the average person who works on the Facebook page, this podcast will be great for you.

So today we’re going to talk about SSL Certificates, and why they’re going to become even more important than they already are.

What is an SSL certificate?

SSL Certificates are the little padlocks that you see on websites when you visit them, mostly on websites like eBay, at least historically, but moving forward, every website is going to need an SSL Certificate. So what do SSL Certificates do? They’re gonna allow a secure connection between your web browser and the web server that’s serving the website.

Why is it important?

It’s a sign of trust, it gives people confidence that what they are looking at when they come onto your website is legitimate, they’ll get an exclamation mark instead of a padlock and that’s going to tell them that your site is not secure, and for your general visitor, that’s going to turn them off your website very quickly. So if your website doesn’t have SSL installed, and your competitors do, your competitor’s website is going to look like they’re more legitimate, they are more trustworthy, and as a business, you want to inspire confidence and you want to inspire trust in your clients. It’s not what it looks like; your customer’s information can actually be stolen without an SSL, so it’s more secure anyway. But I guess it’s only important on websites, at least historically, where they were accepting any sort of privacy information so where they needed, where your clients needed to put in their name, their email address, things like that, where someone could hack into the website or cut in between your web browser sending that information and your web host picking it up, and do just all sorts of nasty stuff with that information.

What’s happening in October?

But moving forward, because of Google and even other browsers so not just Chrome, but Firefox, Internet Explorer, they’re gonna start enforcing this, not only because it’s increasing in importance, but also because I think the web has become quite a scary, even an unsafe place. The webs gonna me a much safer place with secure connections that won’t be interrupted and your website will look exactly how it’s supposed to without any interference from anything malicious. So the biggest problem with SSL is that installing it isn’t really for the average Joe, and if it’s not configured properly it might as well not be there, because it doesn’t actually do anything if you don’t install it properly which is daunting for website owners and for business owners but we’re here to say that it’s really not that difficult. It is a service we provide, it only takes a few hours to do depending on how big the website is, and if your site’s smaller, it’s not going to take long at all. So really there’s no reason to not do it.

Are there any negatives?

Well there are a few negatives: things like load times, it might have a slight effect on your website but it’s a small price to pay. You’d rather have clients that are visiting the website securely. Your own customer’s user experience is gonna be the most important, you gotta give priority to it, and depending on the SSL Certificate you go with, so the way they’re designed is the more expensive ones are more secure.

How much do they cost?

You can pay as less as twenty dollars a years for a SSL certificate which really isn’t that much. And those lower cost SSL certificates provide up to ten thousand dollars of insurance, basically, meaning that they would cover up to ten thousand dollars worth of damages that are caused by the SSL certificate not functioning as it should. So what kind of damages are we talking about here? So damages when used in terms of an SSL certificate is actually quite similar to say insurance, in that, they’re talking about any sort of negative effect that a poorly functioning SSL can have on your client. Let’s say you have credit card information and the client’s credit card information and the client’s credit card information was stolen, so personal data, most importantly financial information, yeah so not just credit card, but even bank account details if the SSL malfunctions and a client loses money for whatever reason, then the SSL insurance covers all that. Now that can extend up to millions of dollars depending on the kind of SSL that you buy, and the levels of security also change. So there’s the basic level domain verification which essentially means that when you have an SSL installed and a client visits your website, they can rest assured that your website domain has been checked by a third party organisation to make sure that it is all legitimate. So the client know that they’re seeing what they are supposed to see, and they’re not seeing some sort of website posing to be someone else. It should be noted that the SSL systems can be faked and can be wrongly setup but in most instances this would be caught out pretty quickly and chances are that your clients trust will remain with your website because the SSL technology and the SSL setup is only improving and is only becoming more robust and more secure. Now if you’re a big organization you can have organization validation SSLs which basically means that they can ring up your company, they make sure that you say, you… are who you say you are and pose to be on the internet, but they do it to a bigger extent so rather than just checking your domain, they would make sure that they would check business certification, registration, all those things. But for most clients, I would say that it’s really not important to get that level of cover, it’s just important that they get some SSL certificate installed on their website. This is probably something we should have all done a while ago, it just took Google and a few other big internet companies to say no, unless you do it, we’re gonna really get you in trouble and punish you for it, then that’s what it’s taken for us to do. To be honest, our company website, futuretheory.com.au has had SSL for at least the last two years. We’ve realised the benefits of it early on, and we’ve moved a lot of clients onto SSL, but we still have a fair few clients who are not for various reasons. If you’re listening, feel free to get in touch with us, we can help you out. It’s really inexpensive for the benefits that you get.

How can FutureTheory help?

Now that we’ve covered everything we wanted to talk about, it’s important to not that we’re here to help you, no matter where you are. We are based in Canberra, but we work with clients from all over the world, especially when it comes to SSL it’s something that we can do over the phone, on Skype, however is convenient to you. You can email us at hello@futuretheory.com.au and we will be more than happy to help you. We’re upfront, we’re straightforward, you will get pricing and all that information first.

In conclusion…

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s recap what we’ve covered. The most important point is that SSLs or HTTPS on your website is crucial come October 2017. Google and other companies and browsers will be telling you visitors that your website is not secure. You will be punished for it. Don’t leave it till the last minute, don’t leave it till October, start thinking about it now, especially if you have a big website, it could be a long long process, little things will come up. Definitely and this is the kinda thing where you want to get it right and you want to, you want to be thorough with it, you wanna check everything. It’s not something that we’d recommend just the average Joe try. We’re more than happy to advise clients and help client when we feel like their task and their things that clients can do but we feel this is an important thing. We’re talking about security here and you can’t make any mistakes, that’s it. So don’t let it kind of wait, do it now. So that’s it for our first podcast, thanks for listening, feel free to share this, talk to us on our website there’s pricing there’s easy enquiry forms in there, feel free to get in touch with us. Like we said before, we’re happy to provide pricing before we do any work, we can even come to your place of business, if you’re local, and work on projects for you even if it includes something as simple as installing an SSL. Thanks for listening!

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