As you've probably seen in the news, website hacks and breaches, like the recent Equifax hack, are constantly on the rise. If your business has a website,then it's your responsibility to secure your customers information. Hackers and spammers are working hard to steal your customers information or use your website as a launching point to place virus attacks.
As the Internet changes, we advise our clients on how to adjust with it. The Internet is going through a small change now with search engines like Google and Bing requiring website domains to render using the secure connection of HTTPS in order to continue to be found within their search results. We can't stress enough the importance purchasing a SSL certificate and pointing your website's pages to HTTPS. When you visit any website on the Internet, data is being transferred between a server and your browser. So, we want all of this data being transferred to be encrypted.
According to Kayce Basques, Technical Writer for Google:
"One common misconception about HTTPS is that the only websites that need HTTPS are those that handle sensitive communications. Like taking credit cards. Every unprotected HTTP request can potentially reveal information about the behaviors and identities of your users. Although a single visit to one of your unprotected websites may seem benign, some intruders look at the aggregate browsing activities of your users to make inferences about their behaviors and intentions, and to de-anonymize their identities."
Let's begin by understanding the acronym HTTPS. HTTPS or Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure is a secure version of HTTP. Again, all websites use HTTP to transfer data from a server to your browser. When a website is updated to HTTPS this means the data has been encrypted on either end for maximum security. For example, if you provide personal information in a website form your information is encrypted on one end and decrypted on the other end.
The first part of the process to upgrade your website to render using HTTPS is the SSL certificate. In order to create a completely secure connection, an SSL certificate for your domain must be purchased. This certificate will need to be purchased from a Certificate Authority by the administrator of the server that hosts your website. The SSL certificate will contain a public encryption key that is downloaded by the browser. Once the SSL certificate is installed on the web server, the next step is to test every page for errors, assets not loading, broken links, etc.
This is a complicated process that should only be handled by a trained webmaster or web professional. By adding HTTPS to your website, this will change the page URLs of every webpages the search engines already have indexed in their results. If this transition is not managed properly, your website could suffer serious search ranking penalties or set backs. Successfully enabled HTTPS websites with SSL certificates are seen as more trustworthy for visitors and the chances are your website will receive a boost in their rankings over time.