SSL isn’t just a ‘nice to have’, it’s a deal-breaker for e-commerce businesses

Website security is incredibly important for e-commerce businesses, but it’s not just about protecting your site and its data from hackers. It’s also a really big deal for consumers and shoppers, who will run a mile from a site if there’s even the slightest suspicion that their data isn’t fully protected.

Consumers have been burnt by numerous data breach scandals over the last few years, from social networking platforms like Facebook to retailers and even Google’s own Google+ service. It’s understandable, and quite right, that there should be nationwide concerns over data security online.

Google rolls out ‘not secure’ flag for non-SSL sites

To combat this threat, Google took action in July 2018 to start marking sites without a valid SSL certificate as ‘not secure’. Thanks to this major change by the search giant, and developers of other browsers such as Edge and Firefox who followed suit, a site without an SSL certificate is now a huge, unmissable red flag to potential online shoppers.

For those who are setting up their very first online business or website, the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is a small data file that digitally binds a cryptographic key to the organisation’s details.

It activates the tiny padlock on a browser’s address bar, as well as the HTTPS protocol. When in place, the SSL certificate allows secure connections between web servers and browsers, encrypting communications (such as credit card information, for example) back and forth.

It’s actually very difficult for a user to access a website without an SSL certificate. The browser automatically redirects the user to a ‘not secure’ page where the default option is to abandon the page. At this stage, the user will see warnings such as: “This site is not secure. This might mean that someone’s trying to fool you or steal any info you send to the server. You should close this site immediately.”

Although it is possible to ignore the disconcerting security warnings and proceed, what sensible web user would take the risk?

No SSL? Time to get it sorted

If you don’t have a valid SSL certificate, this could explain why you’ve seen a dramatic dip in traffic to your website. It’s almost impossible for website owners not to notice this, but not everyone will check their own website to make sure everything is as it should be.

Needless to say, it’s a matter of urgency to get your SSL certificate sorted. Without one, you’re actively driving potential customers away. If you run an e-commerce site, you won’t sell a thing. Even if a customer is able to access the site without being scared away by security warnings, are they likely to hand over their credit card details?

It’s not difficult to get an SSL certificate but you will need to renew it annually or set it up to auto-renew. The first thing to do is to check with your web hosting company to see if your hosting package comes with SSL protection, as many companies do offer this as standard.

Getting an SSL certificate is only the first step to properly securing your website. Get in touch with the Ambos Digital team for expert help with website security.