Let’s start with the basics.
In elementary terms, HTTPS is the combination of Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) which allows you to communicate with a website using a web browser, and a Secure Socket Layer (SSL), which encrypts the data transferred back and forth between your device and the website you are visiting.
For those familiar with the term, it is a common misconception that HTTPS is needed only on websites that process payments or handle sensitive data. In reality, it does not matter whether you have a small blog, simple business website, or a large e-commerce store; you should be using an SSL certificate.
Web browsing is a risky business.
According to a 2017 Webroot Quarterly Threat Trends Report, 1.385 million new, unique phishing sites are created each month. Furthermore, current data shows that up to 90% of security breaches today are the result of end-users falling victim to phishing attacks.
As the internet continues to expand exponentially, a way to validate websites as being legitimate and to offer a layer of security, to both businesses and end-users, was needed.
Without the use of SSL, any data exchanged between a website and the end-user, including private data and payment information, is vulnerable to eavesdropping or man-in-the-middle attacks. These attacks allow a third-party to gain access to data stored on a web server, and they can even modify pages on your site to inject malware or advertisements.
How do I reduce my risk?
Despite the advantages of using HTTPS, it is estimated that only 31% of domains are secured using SSL. Before entering personal information on any site, you should take a few quick and easy steps to avoid putting your data at risk.
- Look for an https:// in the address of the web page you want to visit.
- A padlock symbol is commonly used by web browsers to identify a website as being secure.
- If you see a warning that a website’s security certificate is out of date, don’t visit the website unless you are entirely sure it’s secure.
- Use an online tool like ScanURL, or the Webroot Brightcloud URL/IP Lookup to validate websites.
What’s the value to my business?
In 2019, your potential customers are expected to spend as much as $3.45 trillion on e-commerce purchases. Even if you don’t run an online store, consumers are 62% more likely to conduct business with you if your site is secure using HTTPS. Many popular web browsers have even begun to mark websites that do not use SSL as being “Not Secure,” which can leave your current clients, and your prospective clients, feeling uneasy.
Implementing SSL on your website is both simple and affordable. Not only will it help establish you as a reputable business online, but it can also help drive more search traffic your way, too.