How can I protect my website and make sure customers know it’s safe?

on July 28th, 2017

If you’re selling online you need to make sure your website is secure and safe. There have been a number of high profile hacking incidents and online security issues in the last year that have made consumers more aware of the benefits of buying from a secure website.   In a recent survey about online security, 84% of consumers said they would abandon a purchase if they felt that their data was being sent over an unsecured connection*.

So what can you do to make your website secure?

The best advice is to ensure that you have an SSL certificate in place.  In simple terms, an SSL certificate proves that your website is the correct site that visitors want to visit. In technical terms, it is a small data file that digitally binds a cryptographic key to an organisation’s details. When installed on a web server, this key opens the padlock and the HTTPS protocol and allows secure connections from your web server to your visitor’s browser.**  If you are an e-commerce business, this helps prevent attackers from impersonating your company and your website.

For your customers, an SSL certificate establishes a secure connection between their web browser and your site server. This connection protects important information like passwords and credit card details by adding a layer of encryption when the consumer uses these details on your website.

Why is important to have one?

It makes business sense.  By showing you have a valid SSL certificate you will instantly win the trust of your customers.

Consumers want to give their money only to companies and organisations that they can trust. Think about how you would behave in the real world. You wouldn’t buy from anybody who you thought looked a bit dodgy. The same rules apply online. If a retailer has an insecure website it can be enough to stop a sale. If this happens then all other marketing and promotional efforts will have no impact as people will find another option.  The majority of website users are now savvy enough to identify when a website is secure by looking out for the padlock symbol in their browser’s URL bar or noting that it is a HTTPS URL. You can see what it looks like at the top of this page or in this screenshot:

Consumers will be wary of entering any kind of login or card details if they suspect that the site is not secure, particularly in the context of recent website hacks.

Still not convinced that you need one? What if we told you an SSL certificate could help with your search engine ranking and SEO?  In addition to the security benefits, SSL plays a direct role in Google’s search ranking algorithm. A few years ago, Google announced the use of HTTPS as a ranking signal encouraging all sites to secure visitor information with SSL certificates.  They also promoted the “HTTPS Everywhere” initiative to reward sites with SSL certificates.  It makes sense that having an SSL certificate would help you ranking in Google because it helps the user and means that they are more likely to find what they need from their search

How do I get an SSL certificate?

There are two types of SSL certificate to consider; the basic types (which include domain validation and organisational validation) and the extended validation type.  For an SME, in most cases you’d be looking at the basic type.

Basic: These verify your website identity by ensuring that the registered owner has the right to manage that domain name. Once you’ve passed this procedure, which is often automatic, your site displays a secure padlock icon and the URL address will change to HTTPS.

Extended Validation: For more detailed security checks, an Extended Validation Certificate requires more rigorous vetting criteria to be passed, the majority of which are checked manually. Alongside the padlock and HTTPS benefits, you’ll also be able to colour the browser address bar green and display your company’s legal name alongside the domain name, further increasing the legitimacy of your website.

Prices for SSL certificates vary depending on the level of support, the number of sub domains and extra features you might want. A basic one can cost as little as €30 per year, while Extended Validation Certificates can cost around €700 per year.

How do I get one?

All SSL certificates must be purchased from a company that provides hosting services.  Many of our .ie accredited Registrars provide SSL services, click here to see who can help you get set up.

*GlobalSign Online security European Survey 2014


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