Business and their customers can easily be hurt by hackers who steal data from unsecured websites. The cost of data breaches is more than money. You also lose the trust of your community. Protecting your customers and their data should be at the forefront of your website development and maintenance planning. The most common way to secure your website is using HTTPS and TLS to encrypt data transfers.
What are HTTPS and TLS?
To secure visitor data, websites use data transfer protocols that encrypt the information before it is sent and decrypted after it is received. HTTPS secures web pages, and TLS secures the connection between the server and the web browser.
Hypertext transfer protocol secure (HTTPS)
HTTPS is a combination of protocols that protects a user’s data, encrypting it to keep it safe from virtual eavesdroppers and undesirable modification during transfer. By encrypting communication between your website and visitors, HTTPS makes it more difficult for man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks to harm you and your customers.
In contrast, HTTP sends all user data in plain text format, which means that information like credit card numbers and contact details can easily be read by any hacker who manages to break into the connection. Protecting your customers with HTTPS reduces the threat to them and your brand’s reliability.
Transport layer security (TLS)
Previously, encryption relied on secure socket layers (SSL). However, TLS is the more advanced protocol frequently referenced alongside HTTPS. Installed directly onto your web server, these small data files add a cryptographic key to the files on your site, activating the HTTPS protocol and securing connections between the website and server. In short, they are the encryption device HTTPS relies on to increase website security.
Using website encryption to your advantage
Website encryption is critical for businesses, but there are a few other reasons why it’s an essential part of a marketing plan.
Security is a factor in good SEO
In 2014, Google announced that HTTPS sites would get a small SEO boost over those running HTTP. This is still applicable today, meaning encrypting your website is valuable whether or not your site manages credit cards or contact information. As digital marketers, we understand how important each piece of an SEO strategy is to increase search engine rankings for our clients, especially factors Google considers in its ranking algorithm.
Make your website more attractive to visitors
According to Serpwatch, website visitors understand the importance of securing their data, spending 99% of browsing time on Google Chrome on HTTPS websites. Cybercrime increases each year, but website encryption reduces the risk of a data breach by hackers. By Q3, 2020 had a record 2,953 reported data breaches. It’s no wonder that before sharing personal data, users look for the padlock icon to the left of a website address, indicating an active HTTPS protocol. Further, websites using plain text HTTP even look different on browsers, alerting wary users that the site isn’t secure.
A site that isn’t secure or causes visitors to second-guess your brand and products hurts brand authority and brand trust. Consumers put more value in—and spend more money with—brands they trust.
The benefits of website encryption
One small and relatively easy update—implementing HTTPS and TLS—can have a lasting impact on your business.
- Enhance your website’s overall cybersecurity to improve search rankings and user experience.
- Be known for prioritizing protecting customer data to build and maintain brand trust.
But keeping up-to-date with changes in technology is a full-time task. Website encryption is one aspect of an ongoing website maintenance program Mindspin offers. It’s all part of protecting your data, improving your search engine ranking and fortifying your brand value.
Read more about various facets of website tech, maintenance and strategy in The Spin.