Google says SSL is important. So what?

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Site security could be the most boring topic ever –until your site is hacked. There is no more effective way of undoing your credibility than a website that has a dancing bear scooting across the home-page.

Since October 1st 2017, Google began rolling out a security warning to users attempting to access sites without HTTPS in the web address. What does this mean in a nutshell? What is HTTPS? It means that your site is secure.

Without this you are at risk of losing business through your website, as people are less likely to visit, let alone hand over any of their information to an un-secure site.

Let’s step back for a moment to provide a clearer picture…

What is an SSL Certificate?

Secure Sockets Layer certificate (SSL) is a digital certificate that authenticates both the identity of a website and securely encrypts sensitive information. This means details such as personal information, addresses, passwords or credit card numbers cannot be intercepted or read by anyone other than the intended recipient.

A site that can prove it takes security seriously has the ability to attract more visitors, whether your hosted site serves the purpose of a community, a membership service or e-commerce. Web users (online shoppers in particular) increasingly recognise the on-screen presence of a small padlock icon or a website address that begins with “https://…” as signs that they can trust the site they’re connecting to. That’s SSL or ‘secure sockets layer’ in action.

With the SSL certificate, all information is unreadable to anyone who attempts to steal it. The only people able to decipher it are the intended recipients at the other end of the connection.

So why exactly has Google forced the need for SSL Certificates?

There are 3 reasons...

1) Security

An SSL certificate adds a layer of security that fends off online threats such as identity theft and online hackers. It is imperative that an SSL certificate is installed on all websites that contain sensitive information and that the certificate is installed correctly. This is to ensure that information such as credit card details, personal information and passwords are secure from potential security breaches.

Non-Ecommerce websites can be at risk. Any website that encourages minor data transmissions, such as the use of a contact form or newsletter signup form, can put user data and information at risk if it’s not protected.

2) User Trust

The use of SSL certificates helps to keep online information safe. Many companies have experienced security breaches where customer information is stolen by online hackers. This has made many online consumers think twice about giving out personal information online. It is always good to check that the websites you browse display a green lock icon in the address bar and the secured URL address begins with HTTPS:// (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure). Web users who don’t see a SSL symbol or HTTPS connected to a website are more likely to leave a site and bounce to a competitor who has invested in a SSL Certificate.

3) Search Ranking Factor:

Google wants to encourage a safer internet and may reward websites that help to make the internet a safer place sooner rather than later. If Google decides to make this a major ranking factor, unsecured sites could see their rankings fall.

Google has stated:

“we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal.” Google is a huge advocate of online security and has called for “HTTPS everywhere on the web.”

Surprisingly with so many potential online threats most websites do not have SSL Certificates installed, but interest is growing as major web companies advocate for a more secure Internet.

What is the cost and what is the process, you ask? This varies depending on the size of your website and its purpose.

Get in touch with us to help answer your questions and start the process towards SSL Certification today.

 

Written by Jessica Bhudia.