Many large organisations use SSL certificates (Also known as HTTPS) to protect their users and themselves from harm on the Internet, large organisations such as Amazon, Ebay, Paypal and many more! A lot of smaller companies also use them, it is a sort of seal of approval, so the user 100% knows it is actually the companies website that they are on.
You As A User
As a user the SSL certificate is great for you as you can see the website you want to visit and make you it is actually the company and not an imposter! It works like this:
- You type in the address you would like to visit
- Your browser will ask the webserver it identify itself
- The website will send its SSL certificate to the browser
- Your browser will then check whether it trusts the certificate or not
- If it does it will send a message back to the website to tell it to begin encrypted communication.
- If not you will get a warning message telling you the website is not trusted!
- If all does go well you will be able to access the website and all data is encrypted and nobody else can see what you are doing or steal your data!
This way you know whether putting in personal information such as credit card details to make an order is safe or not, to double check you are on a trusted connection you can check on the top of your browser (bottom if you are using Internet Explorer) for this:
As you can see the little green padlock next to the web address tells me I am on an encrypted connection with PayPal.com! This indicates I am completely safe to begin my transactions with Paypal and able to send money to other people or companies safely.
As A Business
As a business, especially if you sell products online, you will want to protect your customers as much as possible. If you get a name for yourself because some dopey hacker has imitated your name it will take many years for that to die down! Secondly you want your customers to trust you, certificates really do not cost that much, if you want to keep costs down there is such thing as a shared certificate which is near enough free! You share the same certificate with other companies but it still goes through the same process of protecting your website and company name against fraudsters and data thieves.
As a business you are also able to display the seal of approval to show the customers you are trustworthy and will protect their personal information.
Bio: As a business myself I know how tough it is to convince all customers that your website and products are completely safe, to re-assure mine I keep their private data on seperate servers as I use ShareFile.com by Citrix, this is for backups so I will never lose their data and it is stored safe and protected away from prying eyes.