In the past, website security was mainly a concern to e-commerce sites carrying out transactions or websites which collected data or financial information. Today, this is no longer the case. Every business and organization with an online presence needs to be prioritising the security of their website.
Failing to do so puts both you and your users at risk of data loss and can leave you open to both reputational and financial damage. In addition, websites are now required to be secure in order to be successful on search engines such as Google and Bing and to portray a professional image of the organization.
What is a Secure Website?
In simple terms, a secure website is one which utilizes SSL or Secure Sockets Layer. This technology connects the website’s server and the user’s browser and secures it via encryption. Any information that is shared between the user and your website is protected by SSL so that a third party can not intercept it. You can identify a secure site by looking at the URL in your browser. A secure URL will have ‘HTTPS’ before the web address, while an insecure website will have ‘HTTP’ (missing the ‘S’ which means secure).
For websites dealing with sensitive data such as contact information, financial or medical records or carry out financial transactions, SSL is essential, but it’s also best practice for any website which wants to compete in the online world. If your site is not secure, you should contact a company with the expertise to help you. If your employees are using mobile devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets to access sensitive data, you need to ensure your Endpoint Security is adequate. This means your data will be protected should the device be lost or stolen. You can find out more about Endpoint Security at mcafee.com.
There are many reasons why website security should be an urgent priority for you, but here are the most important:
#1 Protect Your Business and Website Users
You have a responsibility to your website users to take care of their sensitive information. If you don’t have a secure HTTPS website, any information the user gives you through the website’s logins, contact forms or chats are at risk of interception and exploitation. You are putting both your users’ and your business’ data in the firing line and leaving yourself open to reputational damage and liability. Data protection breaches can be very serious in terms of fines if your security is found to be inadequate.
#2 Show Users the Website is Safe to Use
The use of HTTPS over HTTP has now been widely adopted, and web users are generally aware of the dangers of using insecure websites. Ensure that your website is secure, professional and that visitors have trust in your brand, or you could find your traffic will fall way in favor of competitors who do have safe sites.
#3 Browsers Reward Secure Websites
Website security is also a ranking factor in search engine optimization when browsers are deciding which pages to show in search results. In 2014 Google began to favor websites with HTTPS, but in 2016 they took it to the next level and now Google Chrome tells users when a website is insecure.
If your site is not secure, it’s likely that you will be penalized in terms of both search ranking and traffic as users will be deterred from visiting if they don’t have trust in your brand.