SSL Certificates Are Not Just For eCommerce

By Mike Maddaloni on Thursday, August 07, 2008 at 11:08 AM with 0 comments

picture of a secured URLSecurity is one of the keys to having a successful eCommerce Web site. Forming a trusted relationship with your customer is important. Having great products is somewhere high on the list too, but I digress. A key component to eCommerce security is the SSL certificate. Without getting into the technical details, it verifies who you are doing business with online, and that any information passed from the client’s browser to the Web server is secured.

For many people, owners of Web sites and those who develop them, eCommerce is the only use for SSL certificates considered. However, in a time of increased identity theft and fraud, an expanded use of SSL certificates, and thus higher security, should be utilized for Web sites that may not engage in eCommerce, but capture information.

Take the example of the common “contact us” form. It consists of form fields asking for identifying information (e.g. name, email, phone) and commonly has a text box where the Web visitor can enter any text. The key word here is “any.” As the level of sophistication of Web users vary, someone may enter sensitive information on such a contact form, including a username/password combination or even a social security number. There is no way to know what they will enter and submit to you until they do so. Where you can put a message on a Web form strongly urging people not to enter sensitive information, this still does not prevent it from happening.

The contact form on the Dunkirk Systems, LLC Web site is secured with an SSL certificate. I did this for the reason above, plus as it is a service we offer, it in itself is a showcase example. In the past we delivered a similar solution for a mortgage company’s contact form, as they could get people submitting all sorts of sensitive information via the form, including social security numbers.

Take a look at your Web site, and take a look what people are submitting to you via the Web site. Adding a little extra security may make your normal business transactions into win-win situations.

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