Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)
Why use SSL? In order to accept sensitive information over the Internet, the information has to be encrypted to prevent unauthorized parties from viewing the information as it travels through the Internet from a customer's web browser to the client's server. This encrypted information is very difficult to decode, therefore ensuring the privacy of the data being transmitted.
The process of encrypting information enlarges the amount of data sent between the browser and the server. Therefore, the information takes longer to transfer. Also, the encryption and decryption process takes time and again this factor adds to the time between the customer requesting a page and the requested information displaying on the browser. This is a drawback to the SSL technology, but there are no alternatives and the security is well worth the extra wait. DXF Enterprises designs its secure web sites with these limitations in mind and overcomes them by designing compact pages that load quickly.
For detailed information on how SSL works, Netscape has a page on How SSL Works