What Is an SSL Certificate and Why Is It So Important?


In recent years, we’ve seen several big headlines regarding data breaches that have shaken our trust in brands we know and love. These incidents have also made us very cautious about how we share information and with whom — and have put extreme pressure on companies to go the extra mile to protect their consumers’ privacy.

For most companies, ensuring their website is safe and secure is a key component of meeting this expectation. Consumers want to know that basic activities such as filling out a form or downloading an asset won’t compromise their personal information. And companies need to ensure that they are using the right tools and fulfilling all the requirements necessary to make this happen. 

At the top of that list of requirements is obtaining an SSL certificate for your website. This certification is a must for organizations that want to ensure the safe transfer of information. 

Chances are you want to know a bit more about SSL certificates before you run off to get one for your website. Today, we’re going to demystify the world of SSL certificates by walking you through why you need one for your website, how to get it, and how the right tools can ensure that you’re on top of the renewal process. 

What Is An SSL Certificate and Why Does Your Company Need It? 

An SSL certificate is designed to verify the identity of a website owner and ensure that all confidential information and data transferred between the user and website owner is encrypted so that it remains private and secure. In doing so, an SSL certificate helps give both companies and their customers peace of mind that all the necessary actions to prevent hackers and scammers from accessing and stealing sensitive information are being taken.

Some of the information that SSL certificates help to protect include: 

  • Credit card and bank details
  • Name, address, phone number, and social security number
  • Medical documents
  • Legal documents

In a world where a large percentage of transactions are performed online, SSL certification is a must-have for any organization, regardless of their industry. Even simple (but essential) consumer actions like filling out a form to download an asset can make a website visitor afraid that their data will be misused. Reassuring your customers that their information is secure and will only be used for the purpose you’ve both agreed to will help your organization establish credibility and trust. 

What Are the Requirements for an SSL Certificate and How Do You Obtain One? 

Organizations and website owners can purchase SSL certificates through Certification Authorities (CAs). Organizations can usually purchase these directly from their web host for an additional fee, but they have to remember to renew them on a regular basis.

Currently, there are three different types of certificates — all of which involve their own application process: 

  • Domain validated: This type of certificate is the most simple and is only intended to verify the owner of the website. Pretty much anybody with an email can obtain this type of certification, making it a popular choice among scammers and cybercriminals (and much less trustworthy). 
  • Organizationally validated: These certificates are designed for websites that deal with transactions that pose a lower level of risk. To obtain this type of certificate, organizations must verify the name of their organization, location, and domain. 
  • Extended validation: This certificate offers the highest level of security and is the best choice for organizations handling highly-sensitive information and data. Businesses that wish to obtain this certification must undergo a thorough review process. 

Ultimately, the SSL certificate you choose will depend on the needs of your organization and the level of trust you wish to instill among your audience. 

How Does Act-On Help Make SSL Certification Easy? 

Unfortunately, obtaining an SSL certificate can be time-consuming and usually isn’t on most marketers’ radar. Thankfully, Act-On makes SSL Certification easier than ever. All Act-On customers (with the exception of those on Oregon AWS HA Proxy) can take advantage of our automatic SSL certification process, saving them the time and cost of obtaining a new certification.

The best part is that you don’t have to jump through hoops to implement this service. Our Professional Services team will work with you to collect key information and make sure your SSL certificate is up and running. The certificates are good for 90 days and automatically renew every 60 days — freeing you of this tedious manual task while ensuring that your organization’s website certification is always up to date. 

Act-On Can Help You Improve Website Traffic, Build Credibility, and So Much More!

Ensuring your website is safe and secure is just one component of an effective business strategy. Act-On makes it easy for your team to comply with security requirements so that you can focus your time and efforts on developing and launching marketing efforts that pack a punch and have an impact on your bottom line. 

If you’d like to learn more about Act-On’s SSL Certification process and how we can help you improve website traffic, build credibility, and drive conversions, please schedule a demo with one of our marketing automation experts.