Guest Contribution by Diksha Jani @ FTI Technologies
Websites are the backbone of every online business, and they need to ensure maximum security for the users. Majority of the sites do not have a secure HTTPS website, or they do not know how to use it properly. This can pose a considerable risk for businesses that need to safeguard the privacy of their customer data which might otherwise be misused or stolen by hackers.
Thus, installing an SSL certificate for your business website will prove to be useful for encrypting sensitive data and information by instilling greater confidence among your customers.
What is an SSL Certificate and why is it required?
SSL certificate helps to encrypt the data while passing it between web servers and websites. In general sense, the data is locked and can only be unlocked by the intended recipient so that all the sensitive information may be protected. Also, it provides authentication for your website and helps in building trust among your customers.
Benefits of SSL:
Protecting the privacy of users:
SSL protects your site even if it doesn’t manage sensitive information by offering privacy, security and ensuring data integrity for your website. The data which is shared across computer networks may be encrypted and becomes inaccessible to others and may be useful in preventing thefts.
Assurance to users:
SSL also builds trust among visitors and assures them about the website’s authenticity. SSL assures users that their online information will be passed through a secured channel.
Helps improve your site speed:
Installing HTTP certificate can help in improving the performance of your website, making a lot faster and helps in your search engine optimization efforts as well.
Improves the user experience:
Website security is a key factor to all users, as most of them would be apprehensive about sharing their personal information with anyone. But with SSL certificate, they are confident of making transactions on your site. Thus, SSL certificates can help in boosting your website conversion rates and engage more targeted visitors to your site.
However, different types of SSL certificates may be used depending on your business requirements. For example, multi-domain Certificates or UCC SSL certificates is more cost-effective and can secure different level of subdomains and domains in a single certificate.
Top risks of not having an SSL certificate on your website
Misuse of data:
If you do not have an SSL certificate on your website, then all the confidential information on your site might be accessed by hackers. This may lead to leakage of personal data of your customers, including payment details which may be compromised. These days, hackers can easily recognize vulnerable sites and cause disruptions which can be catastrophic for your business.
Downranking of websites:
Google has been working consistently over the years to encourage SSL encryption and in 2017, released Chrome 68 update for identifying unsecured sites. Secured websites may be identified using a green padlock before the URL. It prevents any third party from accessing traffic that may be passed between your web server and the browser.
In the absence of an SSL certificate, your website may be marked as insecure by Google and rated as not trustworthy because of which it might lose its rankings on the SERP.
MITM or Man in the Middle is a kind of attack where an attacker creates interference between two ends (server and browser). The attacker secretly alters the communication so that it can result in losses. Without an SSL certificate, all the communication traveling from the webserver to the client is accessible, which makes it easy for intruders to target such type of unsecured communication.
Loss of customers’ trust:
Websites that have HTTPS are regarded to be more credible by the customers. They may switch over to your competitors’ sites if your website doesn’t fit into the above criteria. Customers are more aware of security measures these days and trust websites that are protected by SSL certificate. If your website doesn’t display a secure HTTPS padlock, there is a high possibility of losing your valuable customers.
Harms your brand reputation:
If your website data is leaked or security is compromised by not having SSL certificates, then it may hurt your brand image. Especially if your brand is established and the credibility is lost due to an insecure site, then it is tough to rebuild the image and your products may lose visibility in the market. You will have lower conversions on your website due to an insecure website.
Display of warnings by search engines:
Search engines such as Google issue warnings to the users who might be visiting a site which does not have an SSL certificate. They might see warnings alerting them that their connection is not private. With Google updates in 2018, instead of viewing HTTP as a standard for websites, Google Chrome relies on HTTPS as default and displays non-secure sites after displaying warnings to its users.
SSL certificate can improve customer engagement and boost your reputation in the market. If you haven’t installed an SSL certificate on your website, it’s time to consider buying one. It helps in winning over your customers and building your brand loyalty.
The choice is entirely yours, whether you are prepared to lose out or succeed in your business by taking necessary precautions to ensure maximum website security for your business and your users.