Online security isn’t just for the big name websites; it’s an issue that should be carefully addressed by every company with a web presence, regardless of size or type. Not only is having a secure website the right thing to do, but soon having a secure website will play a role in how your company appears in Google search results.

Google has announced that they will begin marking any website, no matter the size or type, as “insecure” if it does not have a valid SSL certificate. This means that if you run a Google search in any browser, or search through Google’s own Chrome Browser insecure sites will be flagged and you’ll see the dreaded “Your Connection Is Not Private” signal.

What is an SSL Certificate?

SSL stands for “Secure Sockets Layer,” and it is what establishes an encrypted link between your browser and the information you’re trying to access on a web server. Using a connection that includes an SSL certificate ensures the integrity and privacy of the data passed back and forth between these two points of contact.

How do I know if a website has a valid SSL Certificate?

There is an easy test to see if a website is using a valid SSL certificate. Take the website address and add to your browser search bar after //. The “s” at the end of the http is what indicates a site is secure and using a valid SSL certificate.

You can try this with any website; try typing “//www.google.com/” into your browser search bar. It should look like the image below. We know this indicates a secure website by three different visual clues:

  1. The locked padlock icon and word Secure
  2. // instead of just //
  3. The icon and text is in green font, the universal symbol for “good to go”

Why do I need an SSL Certificate?

In addition to the upcoming changes to how non-SSL sites will appear in Google searches and in Chrome browser searches, it’s important to publicly show the steps you’re taking to protect your business and your customers. Having a valid SSL Certificate for your website not only indicates that you’re serious about online security for your own business, but also for the clients and customers who interact with your site. You value their security and understand the need to be assured that their online interactions are safe and secure.

How do I get an SSL Certificate for my own site?

SSL Certificates are fairly easy, and can typically be purchased through your website host or through an online third party. There are different levels of SSL Certificates that offer different types of security. Some companies may need an SSL with a Domain Validation, where that may not be as important to a different business. Some of them are able to be created almost instantly, and some can take a few days before final implementation. Once you have your SSL Certificate you will need to install it, and make sure all of your links and redirects have your “new” // web address listed.

You can always start by reaching out to your host company to see what the options and costs are for the various levels of SSL Certificates. Read their information about prices, timeline and level of security to figure out what is the right solution for your individual business.

Eek! This seems complicated. Where can I find help?

If all of this makes your head spin, working with an experienced and knowledgeable agency (like 729 Solutions) might be a better solution. Let our experienced web developers help you determine the right level of security, get it installed correctly, and make sure all redirects are working. Take a minute to tell us about your project, and we’ll connect for a free consultation to determine the right solution for your business.