The latest official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that internet sales in the UK increased by 11.8% in December 2013 compared with the same period from the previous year.
The confirmation that more transactions are taking place online will surprise no-one involved in online shopping, whether it is as a business provider or as a paying customer. However, just as chip and pin technology made card payments in person safer than before, there is a constant need for vigilance when it comes to making purchases on the internet.
Most end users will be unaware of the main system that is used daily for countless transactions across the world, but businesses should be fully up to speed when it comes to ensuring their own websites are safe and secure.
SSL and shopping
SSL (standing for Secure Sockets Layer) is a protocol that allows data encryption to be used seamlessly and efficiently in internet transactions. It is most commonly used to protect communications between web browsers and servers but also plays major roles in server to server communications and web-based applications.
A business website that uses an SSL certificate secures makes it safe for visitors to share confidential information such as credit and debit card details and other personal data.
When a customer visits a website that uses SSL, they see the address change to an ‘https’ prefix and a closed padlock symbol to indicate a higher level of security. This means that an encryption process is underway and that any information shared is only able to be read by use of special encoding ‘keys’.
An SSL certificate with verifiable trust marks such as a dynamic site seal or an Extended Validation SSL certificate recognised by a high security SSL browser are state of the art parts of the process. Use of these offers customers full confidence that the website they are viewing is official and legitimate.
With the level of detail that fraudsters can go into, up to and including making replica websites which can be very convincing, making sure that your customers can place their trust in you for an online transaction can make the difference between a sale or missed opportunity.