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Online Business 101: Understanding Secure Internet Protocols

An Easy Guide to Protecting Your Business Online

Internet securityWith more and more business taking place online, it is becoming increasingly more important to protect your company against cyber theft. Despite the fact that web-based businesses are among the fastest-growing types of businesses in today’s market, many small-business owners know very little about Internet security. Here, we break down the common secure Internet protocols that every online entrepreneur should at least have a generalized understanding of.

Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS)

Standard websites use Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP). Meanwhile, Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is a much more secure version. You can tell if a web page is secure if it has the “S” after the HTTP in the URL address. This type of connection is encrypted with a digital certificate, and it is most commonly used on websites that handle financial transactions, like online retail and banking websites.

Secures Shell (SSH)

Secures Shell (SSH) is a protocol that is used whenever one logs into a remote computer, such as in the case of a Virtual Private Network (VPN), a web-based email server, or a file transfer server. This protocol is used to verify the identity of the computer that is trying to make the remote connection. It also serves to encrypt the data that is being relayed between the server and the client computer. SSH is sometimes referred to as a “tunneling protocol,” because in essence, it creates a secure tunnel through which the data can be transmitted across the Internet.

Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP)

Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) utilizes the encryption of the SSH protocol in relation with files being transferred to and from a file transfer (FTP) server. This type of security is commonly used on file sharing services, and when uploading web page files to a web server company.

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is an encryption protocol that encrypts data using both a public and a private key. The public encryption key is used to issue a certificate that authenticates your identity. Once you input your personal information, the data is placed into the private key, and you are then allowed to interact with the secure website. A website that uses SSL encryption will usually feature a small lock icon in the address bar, or somewhere on the browser.

Internet Protocol Security (IPsec)

Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) is a suite of secure Internet protocols used by technology companies for creating secure and encrypted Internet connections. The Internet Engineering Task Force sets and controls the standards by which the IPsec protocols are used. The primary objective of the IPsec suite of protocols is to help safeguard businesses from external access from unauthorized computers, data corruption, and data theft.

Dave Donovan


Dave Donovan has written extensively for the web with a primary focus on articles targeting finance and business.