I created a free webinar for my own benefit and then decided to make it a public event. It stemmed from me wanting to learn about webinar strategies so I could help my own business grow. During the webinar, someone asked me about SSL and what it was and why it mattered. I realized then that I didn’t know much about SSL either, despite having created marketing materials for various clients that used it.

Here’s what I found out:

What Is SSL?

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is the technology that allows for secure communications over the internet. To put it simply, it encrypts your personal information so that it’s secure while being transmitted over the internet. In addition, it authenticates the identity of the person you’re communicating with. The most popular and free tool for encrypting and authenticating your online communications is, believe it or not, HTTPS.

So, when you visit a website that starts with http instead of https, your information is not protected and there’s a good chance that somebody could look at it while it’s being transmitted.

Why Does SSL Matter?

Well, if you’ve ever shopped online or gotten any kind of online service, you’ll be familiar with the importance of putting in a secure password. Without a secure password, an unscrupulous business could steal your personal information or even sell your data to third parties. Putting in the correct password makes all the difference in keeping your personal information secure.

In addition to your personal information, all the content you read on the internet, including emails and blogs, are being tracked. The popular review website, ReviewBuzz, compiles a list of the 10 biggest data analytics companies in the world, and five of them are American. In 2019, they were valued at a collective 3.9 billion USD.

Whether you subscribe to this theory or not, it’s undeniable that more and more people are paying close attention to their personal data and how it’s being used. The key takeaway from this is that you, the consumer, have more power than you think you have. As an individual, you have the ability to decide what happens to your data, whether it’s being kept private or shared with advertisers or business partners. So, if you’re concerned about your personal data, the safest bet is to go with https://

To be honest, I was surprised to learn that SSL wasn’t enough. Even with all that encryption, somebody could still see your data if they had access to your WiFi network.

Not All Services Are Created Equal

While you’re focused on ensuring that your personal data is secure, you need to be careful about the service that you use. It has been shown time and time again that even when your information is secure, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the service you’re using is trustworthy. Some services are simply designed to steal your personal information.

For example, look at the case of Lavender Marketing. They claim to have over 200,000 members and to have worked with over 500 businesses, including Pandora Media, Subway, and HP. The problem is that all of their customers have the potential to leave with a lot of personal information that could be abused. The company specializes in selling customer lists to marketing agencies and large businesses. So, if you have a choice, don’t use services that you don’t trust.

Now, it’s not always easy to figure out whether or not you can trust a business. After all, there are a lot of scammers out there and sometimes it can be hard to tell whether a promise to provide quality service is just that or a load of garbage.

Pro-Tip: Use a VPN To Keep Your Information Private

Speaking of which, a VPN can be a valuable addition to your arsenal of online security tools. A VPN encrypts your data so that nobody, not even the business that you’re doing business with, can see what you’re doing while you’re online. If you’re not used to using a VPN, you might have some trouble figuring out how to make the most of it. But, otherwise, they’re quite reliable and easily deployable.

The most well-known and trusted VPN providers are ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and CiscoSecure. Each of these companies has a reputation for providing quality service and keeping their customers’ information safe. To learn more, you can visit their websites directly or read their customer reviews. If you decide to sign up for any of these services, you’ll receive a free trial or full membership. So, there’s no risk in trying out their services. You can always cancel your subscription at any time. As a VPN user, you have the ability to enjoy total security and anonymity as you browse the internet.

How Can I Protect Myself Online?

Thankfully, with a little bit of effort, you can protect yourself online from pretty much everybody but yourself. There are a number of free tools that you can use to secure your personal data, such as HTTPS Everywhere, which was built specifically to combat the issue of non-secure http websites. In addition to that, you can use a VPN to encrypt all of your data before it gets sent to websites that you don’t control. As you may have guessed, the more you use these tools, the more you’ll be ensuring that your personal data is safe. So, if you want to keep your information secure, the simplest and most reliable way to do so is by regularly using tools like these to patch any vulnerabilities in your WiFi network and to change your passwords regularly.

In addition, make sure that your antivirus software is up to date and has the most up to date definitions so that it can really be protecting you from harmful and malicious programs. If you use Firefox, you can also enable the HTTPS Everywhere extension to take care of all the security for you while you’re browsing. As with any new technology or tool, people will eventually find a way to abuse it. But, as long as you keep using the basics, like a VPN and strong passwords, you’ll be able to keep your personal information relatively safe. And when that happens, it’s all thanks to QR codes and blockchain.