Raising the bar on cybersecurity for your website

Tara Commerford, VP and Managing Director of GoDaddy explains why small business needs to up the ante on their cybersecurity and why your business’s site needs an SSL certificate to be secure.

 For years, people often thought cybersecurity was just one of those “big business” issues – probably because the largest and most popular organisations often found themselves the target of online attacks and in the media spotlight. But, how times have changed.

In today’s digital age, cybersecurity threats have become increasingly widespread that as many as 68 per cent of small businesses in the US say they’ve experienced a security threat in the last 12 months, according to a Hiscox Cyber-Readiness Report. What’s even more alarming is that the report also reveals the impact is so much higher for smaller businesses.

It’s not surprising, then, that Google Chrome recently started taking additional actions to help address the issue of cybersecurity. Starting in July this year, Chrome is marking all websites as “Not secure” if they don’t have an SSL certificate. Websites that do have an SSL certificate are flagged as “Secure”.

In a nutshell, SSL certificates are a way for website owners to help protect their website and the consumer information they transmit. For internet, users a website with an SSL Certificate helps them recognise straight away whether the site they’re visiting is safer. The Certificate indicates a website is using a secure HTTPS connection which means sensitive user data such as payment information is encrypted (scrambled) by Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology on its journey from customer to server. And that means it is more difficult to be intercepted by hackers!

Even if your business’ website does not collect personal information for payments and only includes blogs, brochures, general information about services, customer enquiries, web forms or a work portfolio, here are a few reasons why now is the time to consider getting an SSL Certificate for your website.

Gain customer confidence  

You don’t have to dig deep in the media to find a story about a business that’s unwittingly lost important information to a hack to their website. Aside from payment details, this could be anything from information given on an online application form, customer profiles and account passwords to questionnaire responses and the contents of online enquiries. That’s right, all data that is highly valuable today!

With websites becoming more interactive and personalised than ever before, having an SSL certificate for your website can be essential to accepting payments securely, and it can also give your customers increased confidence that their personal information be transmitted to and from your website are more protected. A business with a website marked as “Not secure” could soon find themselves losing important site visitors and leads with Chrome’s new flagging capability.

Show your customers that you’re serious about security

Sure – in a practical sense, data security is arguably the most important reason for getting an SSL certificate for your website. But what else can it say about you, your business ethos and professionalism? Websites clearly marked as “Secure” by Google Chrome could send a very clear message to clients and customers that your business is serious about their security and that you are, indeed, the reputable organisation you say you are.

This is exactly why there are three different levels of SSL certificate available – depending on your business’ needs. A Domain Validation (DV) certificate will verify you as the owner of the domain, an Organization Validation (OV) certificate will verify you as domain owner and prove the legitimacy of your organisation, and an Extended Validation (EV) certificate will offer the highest level of security assurance following a strict vetting process.

Benefit from an improved Google search ranking

Anyone who knows anything about SEO will understand it takes time to boost a website’s search ranking through quality content, keywords and building backlinks to high-authority sources. But including an SSL certificate is one factor that could immediately help your SEO efforts. This is because Google uses HTTPS as a ranking signal as part of its holistic approach to search ranking. In fact, Google actually de-prioritises HTTP websites against comparable HTTPS sites.

With cybersecurity more important today than it’s ever been – even the smallest businesses should take steps to help ensure they don’t get left behind in the dust.

Fortunately, including an SSL Certificate to your website is easier and more cost-effective than it’s ever been. For those more technically skilled, SSL Certificates range in price from free and up. And for those interested in additional support, GoDaddy offers SSL Certificates configured and maintained, along with unlimited technical support.

So, can you think of a good reason not to get your venture’s website SSL ready?

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Tara Commerford
Tara Commerford is the Vice President and Managing Director of GoDaddy Australia and New Zealand. GoDaddy is the world's largest technology provider dedicated to small businesses.

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