Website security: part 2 of 2
What you can do to make your site more secure
Browsing the internet is all about communication – your computer asking the website you’re visiting for information, and the site responding by sending data back to your machine; or your computer sending data to the website you’re browsing and the site interpreting your information. A lot of the time, these conversations pass over multiple other machines along the way.
Because of the way your machine talks to the website you’re visiting, it’s possible for somebody to ‘listen in’ on the conversation and potentially steal valuable information; your name, address, password, email address, card information – anything you’ve told the website you’re browsing.
How do we keep our information safe?
As an ‘end user’ (somebody who is browsing a site), there isn’t much you can do to keep your communication with a website safe, short of only browsing secure websites. As a website owner, however, it’s your responsibility to keep customer information safe while they’re browsing your site.
The easiest way to do this is by installing an SSL Certificate on your server.
What is an SSL Certificate?
SSL is a type of secure communication between users and websites. Rather than the conversation between your computer and website you’re browsing being open to anyone who wants to intercept it, SSL encrypts your conversation using a password (or ‘key’). Both the key and the encrypted data are then sent to your computer, along with another key that is used to decrypt the data so that you can use it. This key is sent secretly, and so anybody who wants to listen in won’t be able to decrypt any of your data – keeping it secure and private.
An SSL Certificate allows your web server to use SSL which protects your clients and their information – your responsibility as a business.
What are the benefits of using SSL?
Besides the obvious benefit of keeping your users safe, there are a couple of other benefits to using an SSL Certificate as well.
SSL Certificates allow you to use ‘HTTPS’ instead of ‘HTTP’ (the bit before your website address in the URL bar), and Google has confirmed that using this more secure method of communication will improve your ranking in search results.
Secondly, using SSL shows your users a little green padlock in the corner of their URL bar, as well as the word ‘Secure’ (in certain browsers). This may make your users feel safer which in turn could make them more inclined to buy from you or create an account on your site.
Even if you’re not selling products through your website, it’s important to make sure your users are secure, and the added SEO boost from Google is always welcome.
Want to find out more? Read yesterday’s blog post on website security or get in touch to discuss installing an SSL Certificate on your site.