Security certificates – Google cares, so should you

Site security and online privacy has, in recent years, become more of a concern. With websites needing to gain the trust of its visitors and to ensure a users every move is not being monitored without them being made aware is all part of a users experience. Without this experience your website and your brand could be deeply impacted.

However, recent changes to Google Chrome web browser, changes to the law and the introduction of GDPR data regulations now means this area of concern takes on greater importance.

Whats changed?
The latest version of Google’s Chrome web browser alerts users when they visit a web page that collect personal data. The warning states that the website is ‘not secure’ and makes it look like there is a problem with the security of a website. This could damage credibility and trust for many website visitors if they think their information can be stolen and misused.

As well as this the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will apply from May 2018. The GDPR is a legal framework which websites must adhere to. This includes security of personal data.

What is a security certificate (SSL)?
SSL, which stands for Secure Socket Layer, is an encryption technology used to create a secure connection between a web server and a user’s web browser.

When a website has an SSL certificate installed on the server, a small padlock icon is displayed to the left of a website URL in the browser and https will appear as well before the url. SSL certificates are used to secure data transfers, credit card transactions, logins and other personal information. They provide security to customers and make visitors more likely to stay on a website for longer periods of time.

So why bother?

It’s safer site visitors
HTTPS keeps the information sent between the browser and the user secured. The SSL encryption layer prevents data attacks by stopping unwanted users from intercepting data that is passing between the two. This is especially crucial to prevent for e-commerce websites where credit card details are entered, or for websites that allow account creation and store sensitive information.

Website visitors want to know that the information they are sending is secured. Any issues with data security can impact your brand negatively.

Improves search rankings
Google has, for many years, encouraged site owners to improve a users experience especially in regards to data. Since 2015, Google will search for and index HTTPS URLs before HTTP URLs. By June 2016 Moz found that over 32% of page 1 Google results are using the HTTPS protocol which is a big increase since being first announced by Google. It is clear that Google now place weight behind websites that have a security certificate and in terms of competetition, every little helps.

No more nasty warnings
Since Google are now reacting to sites without an SSL, it’s hard not to miss the warnings non-secure websites are throwing up. Any site visitor that sees a site marked as ‘insecure’ will quickly run away. For reputation, trust and user experience alone it’s enough of a reason to implement one.