The first warning sign was when you read the title of this post and thought “What is SSL?” If you’re not aware, SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It is the accepted method to establish a secure encrypted link between a site and a browser like Firefox or Chrome. Why is it important? It encrypts data as it travels from server to server until it arrives at its destination. This fact matters because if the data is copied on its journey from browser to server, it can’t be deciphered.
SSL is by far the industry standard to protect sensitive information being exchanged between a server and a browser. You may ask “How does SSL matter to my company?” The answer is that it’s vital to your company’s website in a number of ways. Here are some reasons your site should protect information with SSL.
SSL Affects SEO
Google knows that internet users want their information secured and safe. Data security is such an important issue to people who surf the web that Google has made it a signal in their algorithms. Google’s popular browser Chrome also shows any non-SSL websites as “non-secure” in red letters instead of the closed padlock that shows up for SSL enabled sites.
These facts affect your SEO in two ways. The first way your SEO is impacted is by having a low search engine results page ranking (SERP) in Google. The second way your SEO is impacted is if word gets out your company’s website connection is not secure. These risk factors make SSL a must even if your company is not particularly concerned with encrypting its connection to browsers.
Not only must you switch over to SSL to ensure your site shows up in Google searches, but your company must employ the correct certificate. Google is continually refining their policy, so it is important to follow their latest recommendations.
Image is Everything
As previously mentioned Chrome will show your website as non-secure in its browser if you don’t use SSL. When users see your company’s site is not secure two common reactions occur.
The website is unprofessional.
The company is trying to mine their personal information.
The impression a potential customer has if your company does not use SSL is likely to be negative. You can plan on having a high bounce rate if users do not feel safe connecting to your site.
Check out this blog post for other ways your website can impact your company’s image.
SSL Protects Your Company
Not having an SSL is just as bad an idea as not using a firewall. It can be assumed with a certain amount of confidence that there are bad guys (or girls) who at this moment are trying to steal data. If they are successful in intercepting data as sent from your company’s server to a browser, or the reverse, the results could be catastrophic. In e-commerce, if you don’t use SSL, customer’s credit card and bank account information could be acquired. If your company is in the medical field and does not use it, then patient information could be intercepted, and their privacy violated. To continue to eschew SSL what your company is actually doing is opening itself up to liability from a data breach. It is not an exaggeration to say that a small to mid-sized company could be ruined over having customer information stolen.
It is in the best interest of your company from a customer service and liability standpoint to use SSL. Make sure the certificate you use is the right fit for your company. A little research and thought will point you towards the correct certificate. It’s a fact that we live in an age where a company can’t afford to forego SSL protection on its site.