Get your business SSL certified before October deadline

Published: Friday, September 15th, 2017

October 2017 is the deadline for Google’s SSL certificate requirement for all websites containing web forms. That’s the digital security certificate that is intended to make the web a safer place for all of us to use. After October, all unsecured websites that contain forms requiring text input by the user will be marked ‘Not Secure’ by Google. This is to give consumers fair warning that sensitive data like their logins, passwords, credit card details or private messages may be compromised on an unsecured website. Many of you are familiar with the SSL symbol already; it’s on the left-hand side of the browser bar to indicate that the website you’re on is safe to use.

Why is this deadline important for business owners? Because without SSL certification your business could suffer, not just from malicious cyber-attacks but also lost sales. To find out how, read on.

What is SSL?

It stands for Secure Sockets Layer and its purpose is to improve internet security by preventing hackers from stealing your clients sensitive data when they’re using your website. A digital security methodology known as Encryption underpins the SSL certificate. These certificates safeguard people’s personal information giving reassurance to consumers that they are being protected as much as possible from malicious intent by online thieves. You will recognise an SSL certified site by looking at the browser of the website you are on. On the left side should be a lock symbol with the word ‘Secure’ beside it. In the browser, the URL should begin with https:// at the start of the address. If there is no lock symbol and the URL begins http:// then its unsecured.

How does encryption work?

The SSL acts as a security service on web browsers like Firefox, Microsoft Edge or Chrome. If a customer visits your website to login, fill out a form or complete a transaction, a secure site encrypts the information sent from point A to point B. So for example, even if hackers intercept messages your clients submit on a contact form, the SSL ensures the thieves cannot read the data. The same goes for your customers’ credit card details, logins, passwords or any online form requiring text input. After October, ‘Not Secure’ warnings will appear on all uncertified websites.

See what Google say about Moving Toward a More Secure Web

 

SSL certification

 

Can SSL certification affect search engine ranking?

Yes! It’s not all about keeping you safer online and protecting the integrity of business websites. Google now use encryption as one of their search ranking signals. So, if you want your business to remain on page 1 of search engines, then get SSL certified. Otherwise your web traffic could be reduced and your sales could start to suffer.

What are the dangers of having an unsecured website?

For any business owner, the dangers are two-fold. Without SSL security your credibility will be undermined and your clients will be reluctant to fill out and submit web forms, book services or contact you on your website. That means you lose customers and your SSL certified competitors get them instead. But after October there is a second danger for businesses. Unsecure websites may experience lower rankings on search engines like Google, which will result in lost business for you. Don’t let that happen. Act now and get certified before your page rank is negatively affected.

For more information about website security read Keep Your Business Safe Online

How much do they cost?

There are free SSL certificates available from providers like Let’s Encrypt. One of the leading SSL providers GeoTrust, offer a 30-day free trial that also comes with customer support from their web security team. Symantec paid plans start from €399 a year, while their Pro packages cost more. Digicert plans begin at €139 for standard SSL. Blacknight offer a range of SSL certs starting at €29.99 for a year subscription. Our advice is to gauge for yourself which plan suits your needs. Some companies will need far more online protection features and services than others and they need to budget for that higher level of security. Again, talk it over with your web developer before making a final decision.

What’s in the SSL certificate?

It contains the certificate holder’s name (that’s you), the cert’s identifying number and expiry date, the certificate holder’s public key and the digital signature of the authority issuing the cert.

Who can issue an SSL certificate and which one should I choose?

Some of the more popular providers are Symantec, GeoTrust and Blacknight but there are plenty of others available. Before choosing, we recommend doing 2 things; have a chat with your web developer and get an SSL recommendation. They should be familiar enough with your website to know what kind of security level it needs and what budget you should allocate for SSL updating. Also visit some SSL provider websites and check out their single, multi-domain or wild card certs for yourself.

Don’t wait, secure your website

The message is clear; if your website is not currently secure then you need to upgrade.  For more information about SSL certification and internet protection for your business, contact Digitaledge today on 091 704830. We’ll be happy to meet with you to discuss cyber security or any other digital marketing needs.