Guest blog: Google security changes could affect business websites

Guest blog: Google security changes could affect business websites
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Published: November 15th, 2016

Online_Data_Security_Concept_81967373A move to improve online security by Google could see businesses missing out on vital enquiries and sales. 
In January 2017, many websites may experience a drop in enquiries if they are not made “secure” by the installation of a security certificate.
Why? Because Google has decided it will adversely flag websites that have not installed software that encrypts the connection between the website and the users’ computers.
In August 2014, Google announced that it was going to improve security online, for everyone. They indicated a website’s security would affect a website’s rank in their index. But this information was basically ignored by website providers.
In September 2016, Google further announced that it was going to penalise websites that are NOT secure by displaying some content and contact forms as NOT SAFE to complete. This means that users will be unlikely to complete enquiry forms on your website
Installing and configuring a security certificate is a technical process, one that only web developers or server engineers can do. The three most popular types of security certificate are; DV; Domain Validation, OV: Organisation Validation and EV: Extended Validation. You need to decide on these based on what level of "perceived trust" your website deserves. 
What is SSL encryption?
SSL encryption is the modern-day method of protecting electronic information, just as safes and combination locks protected information on paper in the past. Encryption is a technological implementation of cryptography: information is converted to an unintelligible form – encoded – such that it can only be translated into an understandable form – decoded – with a key.
What is HTTPS?
HTTP; hypertext transfer protocol, is the technical means by which our web browsers (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari etc) connect to websites. HTTPS is an encrypted HTTP connection, making it more secure. You can tell if your connection to a website is secure if you see HTTPS rather than HTTP in the address bar. Most browsers also have an icon that indicates a secure connection for example, Chrome displays a green lock.
Why should I use HTTPS on my website?
HTTPS protects the integrity of your website and the privacy and security of your users. Also, powerful new website features are only available for websites offering HTTPS.
What happens if I don’t use HTTPS?
Your website may be flagged as being unsecured. If that happens, users will be shown negative messages and probably not use your website at all. Not something that you want to happen. Ask your provider to deal with matter urgently to save any embarrassment in the New Year. 
Shaun Carvill is the Managing Director of Bridgnorth-based Clickingmad Ltd which provides website design and development services to businesses throughout the UK. 
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