…In rankings that is!

Raise your hand if you have ever purchased anything online. Okay, you can put your hand down now. Now, again raise your hand if your business operates as an e-commerce enterprise where products/services are sold online and carried out through electronic transactions. In either role you may not have given much thought to how secure the information being entered during these sales are. Or, if you’re a consumer like me, you are very hyper-aware of that tiny padlock icon in your URL bar before you even type your first name.

The padlock icon and “s” in https in your URL bar are indicative of a site that is secure by means of an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. This security layer is what protects personal/transaction information from any outside threats when a consumer is making an online purchase. The SSL certificate tells web browsers that the site is secure and in turn, encrypts the consumer’s information as it travels from the browser to the website’s server. This encryption eliminates hackers or any outside threats from seizing consumers’ personal information. As an e-commerce business, it becomes the business’s responsibility to protect personal data. Obtaining network security is a small price to pay compared to a possible lawsuit for personal data breach, just ask Target.

If doing your due diligence as a business and protecting your clients’ information isn’t important to you (I don’t know why it wouldn’t be), then you should also consider this; Google has begun to downrank sites that lack SSL certificates. So what does that mean for your business? Well, let’s say your business is a local clothing boutique that also conducts online sales. When a potential local consumer places a Google search for “clothing boutiques”, where your boutique may have once popped up as a top search, it has now been bumped to number 10 or heaven forbid, pushed back to page 3,4,5, etc. In internet terms, if you’re not showing up on the first page, you don’t exist. So if you aren’t going to get an SSL certificate for any of the other reasons mentioned, please get it for your Google pagerank. Small businesses need all of the visibility that they can get, so an even more lowered pagerank doesn’t bode well for exposure.

SSL certificates are relatively easy to come by, you just need to make sure that they are derived from a validated organization. Likewise, when requesting an SSL certificate, the organization that is selling the certificate will have to validate the legitimacy of your business. Once obtained and installed, there are a number of ways to make sure your site security is live. One good way to check this is here.  

If you have any intention of remaining a successful business, you can’t expect to do that without online security. Investing in an SSL certificate is an easy way to legitimize your business and to gain trust with your client base. E-commerce sales make up a huge volume of commercial sales so optimizing your business for this operation is key, and security is a necessary piece that comes with that.