You have likely at some point noticed the padlock icon just before the URL when visiting a website. Sometimes the icon takes the unlocked shape and other times it is locked. When the icon shows locked, that means the page you are viewing encrypts any communication between your browser and the server. The server and the browser share a key to decrypt the communication between them, so it is secure unless someone figures out the key to decrypt it, which is very hard to do. This technology is called Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and it protects passwords, financial information, bank transactions, online credit card payments, etc. You can also tell a website is secure when the URL starts with https://
(s at the end of http) versus http://
For you the website owner, this means all the data you receive to your server from your website’s online form or payment submission is encrypted, keeping your customer’s information secure from hackers. If you are unsure if your site is protected by SSL, please consult with the person who built your site. If he or she has no clue, you should give us a call at PSPinc
and we can help. It’s extremely important to protect your customer’s sensitive information.
We do not recommend collecting any sensitive information through your online forms such as social security or credit card information unless you are sure the data on the server side is encrypted correctly. You do not want to store raw, unencrypted information on your server because if your web server gets hacked, you put your clients’ information in the hands of hackers, and that’s devastating to both your business and the customers.
SSL is a license you need to purchase annually and it must be installed on your server by a professional. If you are not sure how to install the SSL license on your server and your web pages, please talk to your web developer or web hosting provider, or get in touch with us at PSPinc to answer any questions.