How Seriously Do You Take Safety?
Imagine for a moment that you are on a crowded city street.
You’re looking for a way into a building that you’ve never visited before and you notice two entrances. One is brightly lit with a glass revolving door and a security guard inside. The other is a steel door in a poorly lit back alley. Which entrance would you feel more comfortable using?
We’re guessing you picked the entrance with more security – because safety first, right?
Now imagine that crowded street is the internet and that building is your business’s website. Don’t you think your potential customers would be more likely to visit if they felt protected? You can provide that extra layer of security for your website visitors with a Secure Sockets Layer – or SSL.
The 411 on SSLs
SSLs add another layer of online security for personal information that’s gathered or transmitted by your website. When users access your website, they are digitally traveling across a system of cyber networks, routers and servers. The information customers enter on your website – such as their email addresses, credit card numbers or social security information – follows that same path. SSLs help establish a secure connection between your website and the servers it uses, and encrypts the data transmitted to make it more difficult for hackers to access.
There are a few ways to tell if a website is protected with an SSL certification. The easiest way is by looking at the URL in your web browser. If the website begins with “http,” it means the page is not protected. But if the site starts with “https,” like our website here at Third Angle, it means that page has the extra security in place. Certain web browsers will also display symbols or text warnings to indicate the page you are viewing is or is not secure (more on that in a bit).
Why It’s Absolutely Necessary to Add an SSL to Your Website
In the crowded and competitive business world, operating without an SSL can put you at a major disadvantage compared to your competitors. Here are three reasons why it’s necessary to add an SSL to your website.
1. Internet Security is a Big Deal
It’s no secret that our lives are becoming more digital each year. Between sharing details of family vacations on social media to holiday shopping on Amazon, there’s a wealth of personal and private information about everyone in cyberspace. Internet providers are constantly developing new security measures to keep this information safe, but despite these protocols, it seems hackers are becoming more creative and successful at major cyber attacks.
Consider the recent Equifax data breach which involves nearly 143 million customers. As a result, the credit bureau has received widespread negative publicity and criticism for its response, and the company now faces lawsuits from some of those customers that are possibly impacted. In addition to the potential cost from those lawsuits, the company is now forced to spend money on damage control to renew the trust from its customers and investors. Is your company prepared to deal with the backlash from a cyber leak?
Now it’s important to understand that no network or security protocol makes your data immune to cyber attacks. Equifax probably had a handful of top-of-the-line security measures in place, more than you’ll probably need (or can afford) for your business website. But using an SSL is a simple and necessary step you should be taking to make it more difficult for hackers to access your customers’ sensitive data.
2. No One Wants to Be Called Out by Google Chrome
Google Chrome is the world’s most popular web browser, being utilized by more than half of the people on the internet (the second-place browser, Safari, is only used by 15 percent of people). The web browsing company is really pushing for websites to utilize security measures, and it’s going to make it more obvious to users which websites are not using SSLs.
The current version of Google Chrome displays three security symbols. For instance, when you visit a site with an SSL certificate, you’ll notice a green padlock icon followed by the word “Secure” in your browser search bar. If Google can’t determine the site security, you’ll see a gray symbol with an exclamation point in a circle. In addition, if you’re trying to visit an HTTP page with password or credit card forms, you’ll also see the words “Not Secure.” And if Google believes the website you are trying to view is not secure or potentially dangerous for your personal information, it will display a red triangle with an exclamation point inside followed by the words “Not Secure.”
This will change in October 2017 when Google rolls out Chrome 62. In this new version, Google will now display the “Not Secure” message on all HTTP pages that require you to fill out any type of information and on all HTTP pages you visit while in Incognito mode. Google says it eventually plans to show the “Not Secure” warning for all HTTP pages outside of Incognito mode as well. However, no date has been announced for that change.
The bottom line: if you’re operating without an SSL, Google Chrome is going to let your customers know it and warn them not to share their personal or financial information with you. Instead, they’ll be encouraged to visit a more secure website – potentially one of your competitors.
Ready to Take the Next Step?
Contact us today to learn more about securing your company's website.
3. SSLs Can Help Improve Your SEO
Google is always tinkering with its algorithms for which it determines how to rank websites in search engine results pages (SERPs). A few years ago, the company started considering security and SSL in rankings. That doesn’t mean that adding an SSL certificate will suddenly move your site from page four to a top five ranking. Google is still placing a priority on its usual ranking standards, such as relevant content, keywords and linking.
However, consider the possibility that you and your main competitor have similarly constructed webpages. You both conducted keyword research and have strategically laid out your home page with keywords and phrases that are relevant to your industry. But while you decide the extra SSL security is not worth it on your website, your competitor goes out and obtains his certificate. There’s a chance Google could then take that extra level of security into consideration and move your competitor’s website ahead of yours in SERPs. That higher ranking means more website visitors and potential customers for your competitor, which could mean less sales for you. And regardless of what your business does, everyone can benefit from making more money.
Not All SSLs are Created Equal
Considering Google’s push for expanded internet security, it’s vital that you take steps to protect your company and customers from cyber bandits. If you’re looking to share information online with another business or organization, your customers and website visitors will expect the same.
There are many companies you can use to obtain an SSL certificate, but you need to be careful where you decide to get it. As part of its high security standards, Google has said it might not accept as many of 30,000 certificates issued by Symantec. That’s because Google is concerned some of those certificates were improperly issued, so it is no longer trusting Symantec’s policies – and therefore the websites which received those certificates. All of those certificates will need to be reevaluated before Google marks them as secure.
So, if you’re considering adding security to your website, or simply want to review the protection you already have in place, it’s important to go with a reputable company you and your customers can trust.
Remember, safety first.
Secure Your Business' Website
If you’re ready to add an SSL to your business website, then our experts are ready to speak with you. Contact us today to learn about the security protection Third Angle can implement to keep you and your customers safe.