We’re a digital culture that turns to the internet for everything and frequently trust websites with sensitive and vulnerable information. These types of digital exchanges are becoming the norm, take e-commerce as an example. We’ve become so accustomed to buying and selling on the internet that the world e-commerce industry is predicted to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021.
Trends like this mean that consumers are taking online security very seriously, but they’re not the only ones. Google is coming down hard on websites that don’t provide their search engine users with a safe, encrypted experience. Today, having security features like SSL certificates has become more important than ever.
What Is an SSL Certificate?
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and is the gold standard for establishing an encrypted link between a browser and server. The purpose is to keep every bit of data that’s exchanged between the web server and browser secure. Not having an SSL certificate means that a secure connection can’t be established – something that can spell major trouble for sites that handle sensitive information.
The easy way to tell if a website is encrypted has been to look for the “s” on the end of the “http” in the URL bar. However, Google has come up with an easier, far more obvious way to let their users know if a site’s web design includes an SSL certificate.
The Google SSL Update
Google has been pushing to have all websites implementing SSL certificates. The bottom line is that Google cares about the people using their search engine and they want to make them happy. Safe, secure websites go a long way in accomplishing this goal.
With Google’s Chrome 68 update, websites that haven’t implemented an SSL certificate are automatically flagged in a way that’s very obvious to the average internet user. The words “Not Secure” will appear in red text directly before the address in the URL bar.
Google has been slowly working on rolling this out, so there’s a good chance you’ve already seen this. However, it’s no longer going to be selective and any site without an SSL certificate will be flagged.
Why Are SSL Certificates So Critical Today?
The most obvious answer to this question is that internet users have grown weary of hearing about cyber crimes and they expect a certain level of security when they engage with websites. User security is of course the number one reason for having SSL certificates, however there are few more reasons that they’ve become more important than ever.
For example, the instant visual confirmation that internet users receive of your SSL certificate status helps your business appear trustworthy, reputable and legitimate. There’s no reason for them to second guess being there.
It’s also important for SEO. People who land on sites that aren’t encrypted aren’t going to want to stay around long. SSL certificates keep bounce and exit rates low and lend to an overall increase in user experience and satisfaction. These are the types of behaviors that Google loves and will reward websites for.
Current predictions say that the damages from cybercrimes are expected to reach $6 trillion by 2021 – a number that’s twice as high as what was experienced in 2015. This isn’t a trend that businesses can afford to be part of. SSL certificates are one of the most important web design and development tools that a business can use. Your success and your customers depend on it.