First of all, what is an SSL?
An SSL Certificate is a security technology featured on websites that is designed to ensure there is an encrypted link between your web browser, on your phone or computer, and the server where the website is originally located.
In practical terms, this means that any information you put into a website’s forms, such as your personal details, or credit card details, the information is scrambled, so that it cannot be intercepted and stolen along the way, for use by a third party, who can use it to commit fraud, for example.
The move was part of Google’s aim to make the internet a more secure place, and provide a better experience for website users, one of their key goals.
The main way you can tell whether a website has an SSL is by the URL.
So a non secure website has the prefix of HTTP, and the secure version has the prefix of HTTPS. .e.g.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/ (NOT Secure)
Why are SSLs So Important Now?
There have been a series of high profile security breaches of major websites in recent years, leading to the customer data of millions of users being stolen from websites. These include the Q & A site Quora, the hotel company Marriott, online trading store eBay, and credit referencing agency Equifax.
With millions of credit card details, names, and addresses being stolen in some cases, the importance of online security is becoming more important than ever.
The public are accessing essential personal services, such as dealing with government agencies, buying more and more of their shopping online, and leaving a footprint. As more and more of our financial and personal lives move from the offline world to online, it’s vital to have an experience of using the internet that is secure.
Changes To Google / Chrome
In 2017, Google changed its algorithm to promote websites that have an SSL, and penalise ones that don’t. This means sites that are secure will appear higher in search results than ones that do not. In 2018, Google also updated its Chrome browser to mark websites that are secure as ‘Secure’.
This is currently shown by the appearance of a padlock symbol in the search bar, when you are on a website, like this:
And non secure ones at ‘Not Secure’. Here’s an example:
Why You Should Get an SSL and Practicalities
So, as becomes fairly obvious, if you are getting a website, you should get one:
- So that your customers and clients have piece of mind, knowing their information is being transferred securely.
- You also stand to benefit from better search engine rankings – which means more customers!
- The presence of flags such as the one above, on browsers like Chrome, mean that users, who are increasingly security conscious, may use services other than yours for peace of mind.
SSLs come from various providers, with different levels of security. There is a monetary cost attached, and a practical setup, which needs to be implemented.
For more information on costs and timescales, get in touch today for a consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org
or fill in the (Secure!) form below.