SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a protocol that provides secure communications on the Internet for such things as web browsing, e-mail, instant messaging, and other data transfers. If you enable SSL connections, Google will force HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) when your users access most services in Google Apps. SSL varies by service and is available for Email, Chat, Calendar, Google Groups for Business, Drive, and Sites. Please note that SSL access is not available for Google Video for Business or the Google Talk desktop client.
The advantage of SSL is added security for your users. If your users access Google Apps on a non-secure Internet connection, such as a public wireless or non-encrypted network, your users' accounts may be more vulnerable to hijacking. A secure connection prevents hijacking by protecting the cookie session. Cookie session hijacking refers to a situation where an impostor gains unauthorized access to cookies and seizes control of a legitimate session while it is still in progress.
However, forcing HTTPS for your users can make Gmail a little slower. Also, note that if you enable SSL, you won't be able to see your mail in the Gmail gadget on the Google Apps Start Page as it is not served over SSL. If you trust the security of your network, you can turn this feature off at any time. When the feature is disabled, your users will access Google Apps via HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol).
To enable this feature:
- Sign in to the Google Admin console.
- Do one of the following:
- Under the General tab and in the SSL section, check the box next to Enable SSL.
- Click Save changes.
- The option to enable SSL in this part of the admin panel does not apply to the Contacts SSL setting in the admin panel.
- If you force HTTPS, your users won't be able to disable HTTPS on an individual basis. However, if you don't force HTTPS, your users can disable HTTPS when necessary.
- Some Google services, such as Google Drive, use HTTPS by default even when you don't enable SSL. Also note that as of version 13, Google Chrome forces all connections to Gmail to be over HTTPS.