Part 1 – Your (Lack Of) Security

I hate that you don’t secure your site, leaving my data bare…

If you’ve visited a website recently, you’ve probably noticed a secure or not secure warning in your URL bar.  You may be wondering what makes a site secure. The answer is simple – an SSL certificate. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer – if you don’t know what that means, you’re not alone.

A Brief History of SSL

Long ago in a galaxy far, far away, Al Gore invented the internet and called it good. Then, in 1995, the Netscape team realized something – even though the internet is good, the people on it might not be. 

So, the benevolent tech-gods at Netscape invented a security system that we now know as SSL. SSL works by encrypting your data before sending it so bad guys can’t read the intercepted message. Basically, using SSL makes you 007.

But SSL isn’t really SSL – it’s TLS…

A Brief(er) History of TLS

TLS (transport layer security) is just the new name for SSL. Even though true SSL hasn’t been updated since 1996, almost everyone calls TLS SSL, so don’t worry if you mix them up.

Why SSL/TLS Matters

Beyond the obvious security reasons, SSL is essential because it:

  • Creates trust with your users 
  • Improves your search engine rankings
  • Allows you to collect sensitive information 

Creating Trust with Your Users

If your website doesn’t have an SSL certificate, modern browsers will let your users know with a clear “Not Secure” message at the top. If you wouldn’t trust a website with that warning, how can you expect your users to?

Improving Search Engine Rankings

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the more complicated parts of digital marketing, but if you don’t have an SSL certificate, you don’t stand a chance at having an effective SEO strategy. We’ll go deeper into SEO in the future, but here is the key takeaway – bad SEO will drive up your advertising costs.

Collecting Sensitive Information

Fortunately for users, most credit card processors will not work with websites that don’t have an SSL certificate. But, do you really want to risk collecting any information without protections for your users’ data?

Do I have an SSL Certificate?

If you aren’t sure, there’s a simple way to check – go to your website. Does the url say http://www. or https://www. ? HTTPS means you have an active SSL Certificate. 

How Do I get a SSL Certificate?

There are plenty of ways to get an SSL certificate and it varies by your hosting provider. But if you don’t have an SSL certificate, the real question is “Why did my digital marketing team not set up an SSL certificate?”

We don’t have the answer to that question, but we are accepting new clients. 

Even With a SSL Certificate, My Website Still Says “Not Secure”

This problem is a little trickier. Security is more than just SSL. Get in touch and we’ll take a look. 

Conclusion

Even though SSL certificates are not required, they are well worth the effort. Making sure that users and search engines trust you is key as the internet continues to represent more of our economy.