What Is HTTPS and Why Is It Important to Google— and Your Business?
Google will soon call out all websites (not just e-commerce sites) for not being secure if they do not switch to https. But what is https and why is it so important to Google now?
What Is Https?
Https (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is an Internet communication protocol that protects the integrity and confidentiality of your users’ data between the user’s computer and the site. For example, when a user enters data into a form on your site in order to subscribe, to get either email updates or purchase a product, https protects that user’s personal information. Https encrypts your website data and secures it from others. Data cannot be modified or corrupted during transfer.
Starting sometime in early 2017, Google will start flagging non-https sites as being “insecure.” Besides the security issues involved with being a non-https site, the integrity issues are enormous. Customers will not want to do business with an “insecure site,” and your reputation—and sales—will suffer.
What’s Involved in the Switch?
The switch to https encryption may not be such a big undertaking for large companies, but for smaller ones with a tighter budget it could seem daunting.
Small Business Trends provides a concise list with regard to changing from http to https:
1) Purchase an SSL certificate; they are very inexpensive;
2) Install your SSL certificate on your website’s hosting account;
3) Make sure that any website links are changed from http to https so they are not broken after you flip the https switch, and
4) Set up 301 redirects from http to https so that search engines are notified that your site’s addresses have changed and so that anyone who has bookmarked a page on your site is automatically redirected to the https address after you flip the switch.
That’s the Short List…
We don’t want to get too technical in this blog but it’s worth a mention that there are many related issues and technical considerations involved in this switch. Most business owners will need the help of a website developer or hosting provider who fully understands them.
Don’t let this change scare you. As we mentioned, this process can seem daunting to a small or midsize business owner. But rest assured, it’s a piece of cake for an experienced website developer or hosting provider.
Summary: Better Safe than Sorry
It is imperative that manufacturers start early rather than late on this endeavor. The risk of being categorized as an insecure site should serve as incentive. Customers or potential customers searching for products on your site may likely never come back if they see Google’s red flag/insecure site warning. Https protects the integrity of your website AND the privacy and security of your users.
Potential intruders include intentionally malicious attackers, and legitimate but intrusive companies, such as ISPs or hotels that inject ads into pages. Intruders exploit every unprotected resource that travels between your website and your users. Images, cookies, scripts, HTML … they’re all exploitable. Intrusions can occur at any point in the network, including a user’s machine, a Wi-Fi hotspot, or a compromised ISP, just to name a few.
Additionally, progressive web apps will require explicit permission from the user before executing. Https is a key component to the permission workflows for new features and updated APIs.
We hope this introduction to Google’s new https security move has been helpful.
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