Operating a website without sufficient knowledge about HTTPS and SSL is a strict no-no these days. A few years back it wasn’t necessary to know much, but now it could end up impacting your business negatively.
What are SSL and HTTPS?
To put it in a nutshell, the reason you need HTTPS and SSL is to protect and encrypt data on your website. SSL means Secure Socket Layer – it is the most widely used protocol today. It essentially provides a secure channel between two machines operating over the Internet or an internal network. This type of encryption is beneficial for both your customers and business.
A standard Hyper Text Transfer Protocol – HTTP –as used by most websites isn’t enough to guarantee rigid security. That is why you need to add SSL to HTTP, so you get HTTPS, or Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure. Browsers instantly display a “padlock” next to the web address to assure visitors their data is being protected. It means all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted.
There are different levels of SSL Certificate, all of which offer the same level of data encryption. The highest level of SSL includes a thorough background check on your company. There are separate certificates for protecting a single domain or covering multiple domains (which is common for a large business with numerous clients).
Why does your business need to move to HTTPS?
As discussed, moving to HTTPS guarantees better security when it comes to protecting customer data and reducing the risk of information being intercepted or altered after it has been sent, improved accuracy in Google Analytics, and a slight advantage regarding SEO. Google has incorporated a warning system in the Google Chrome browser that flashes an alert if your website collects payment data or passwords and doesn’t have an SSL Certificate properly in place.
If Google ends up marking all HTTP sites as non-secure (as per their long-term plan); your website can be flagged as an unsafe destination. Customers might not wish to be associated with your business when they see a big red warning triangle telling them your site is non-secure! Moreover, new features rolled out by Google will only be available for modern website servers and internet browsers using the recent HTTP/2 protocol. To use HTTP/2, you have to enable HTTTPS first.
If your website is optimized and needs to be found on Google, it is vital to implement the correct SSL protocols in place before you lose visitors due to red alerts.