Online Security

Website Security

Article Rating: 3 / 5 Votes: 27

Category: Online Security , Securing Your Website

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PROBLEM: You want to provide your customers with a safe, secure environment on your website.

SOLUTION: Get some Web security!

The Web can be an amazing place. In addition to providing products or information to people in your neighborhood, city or state, you can talk to anyone in the world. However, there are all sorts of bad people out there who would like nothing better than to steal your customers' information and credit card numbers. And if customers don't feel safe on your site, they won't want to do business with you.

So set up Web security.

Let's use Bensel's Pencils as an example. They've registered a domain name, they've had their Web site designed and hosted, and they're ready to start selling online.

They need security to provide their customers with a safe, secure shopping environment.

In order to do this, Bensel's must purchase what's known as an SSL Certificate. An SSL certificate is a sort of online ID card that assures shoppers Bensel's Pencils is who they say they are. This SSL Certificate can be purchased from a Web services company who is a Certificate Authority. They research Bensel's, check their references and positively determine they are who they claim to be online.

In addition to providing identity confirmation, SSL certificates also encrypt any data that flows to and from Bensel's site, keeping it secure from outsiders. Security might be offered by the company that hosts Bensel's Web site, and if it isn't, they can always use a third party.

Now let's say an online shopper named Todd wants to purchase a nice mahogany pencil set. There are basically two computers involved with this transaction. The server hosting Bensel's Pencils Web site and the computer Todd is using to shop from. Todd's computer connects to Bensel's Web site, looks at the SSL Certificate and verifies Bensel's identity with the Certificate Authority. If everything checks out, the computers form an initial connection, called a "handshake," during which they decide what kind of encryption or scrambling they'll use. This agreement is used to establish a secure connection between the two computers called an "SSL" or "Secure Socket Layer."

Depending on the Certificate that Bensel's purchased, Todd's browser may display a small icon shaped like a lock, a thumbs-up, a green browser bar, or some other reassuring symbol when security is in place.

Once the computers agree on the method they're going to use, data starts to flow back and forth between them. When data leaves one computer, it's scrambled using the agreed-upon method and then descrambled when it arrives at the other computer. Now Todd can place his order using a credit card, and no matter who tries to interfere, the order, shipping information, and credit card number go to Bensel's Pencils and nowhere else.

So let's review.

To create a secure Web site, you purchase an SSL certificate. This certificate authenticates a business's identity and creates a unique, scrambled connection to provide online shoppers with a safe, secure environment. If customers feel safe, they'll feel more comfortable doing business with you on the Web.

Problem solved.