White Paper: Assessing the Value of SSL Certificates for Modern Businesses


To examine the extent to which SSL certificates can affect a business’s reputation online, this white paper analyses current trends in online behaviour and assesses the value of secure communications via SSL protocols.



The security of online communications matters more than ever and has long become an imperative for preserving safety around the web. In the business realm, a secure data flow needs to be established on multiple levels within an organization, as well as across the channels used to communicate with prospects and customers. This is especially related to company websites, which frequently represent the point in which a user interacts with the company for the first time. As such, they should provide maximum security, especially on pages that collect users’ personal or otherwise sensitive data.

Among the common website security practices, the use of SSL certificates is an effective way to not only secure communications, but also build consumers’ trust. SSL certificates represent a barrier to third-party data interception and are essential for protecting website databases, which is critical in the age of accelerated growth of cyber threats. Therefore, in order to build a reputable name, businesses need to secure online transactions and protect sensitive information flow between a website and server. This way, they provide the necessary security for their clients and customers.

Although SSL certificates have always been a part of web hosting service offering, their value has never been as great as it is now. With users increasingly becoming aware of online risks and Google promising to rank websites that use SSL certificates higher in search results, their use practically becomes a business norm. Currently, a large portion of business websites does not use SSL certificates, which may be, or soon become, a major impediment to their growth. To examine the extent to which SSL certificates can affect a business’s reputation online, this white paper analyses current trends in online behaviour and assesses the value of secure communications via SSL protocols.

Table of Contents
1 Introduction  3
2 SSL certificates: definition and role  3
2.1 Understanding the protocols behind: SSL/TLS/HTTPS  4
2.2 HTTPS as a ranking signal 4
3 SSL marketplace 4
3.1 Cyber risks and the business setting 5
3.2 Cyber security awareness 5
3.3 Users’ reactions to SSL cues 6
4 The value of SSL certificates for businesses 6
4.1 Consumer trust 6
4.2 Business continuity 7
4.3 Search ranking positions 7
5 SSL best practices  7
5.1 Self-signed vs CA certificates 8
5.2 General recommendations for implementation 8



Crucial is a multi-award winning web & cloud-hosting company helping Australian small businesses with the technical challenges of succeeding ‘online’.