In July 2018, Google will publish release 68 of its Chrome web browser. Unlike prior releases of Chrome, this version can significantly affect your website traffic and possibly affect your company’s reputation. Chrome 68 will include a security check to detect whether your website is encrypted. If it is not, Chrome will immediately display a security warning indicating that your site is not secure.
Image Source: Google Security Blog
Imagine one of your customers going to your website to look up your phone number. Rather than finding your phone number quickly, they would see a security alert. As a result, they might think that your company was hacked or that their private client information was stolen due to a security breach. For visitors who are looking to fill out your contact form, or make a purchase if you sell products online, this security warning could drive them away.
What Encrypting a Website Means
Encrypting a website means that all of the traffic that flows back and forth from your web hosting server and your website visitor’s computer is done securely. Websites that are not encrypted are inherently insecure, meaning that a hacker can steal data that is being transferred, such as credit card or other sensitive information.
As part of Google’s efforts to make web browsing safer, they announced that they would mark all unencrypted sites as “not secure” (February 2018 Google’s Chromium Blog).
If you don’t use Chrome to browse the Internet, you might think that this warning will not apply to you. That is incorrect. Chrome holds 60% of the web browser market. This means that 60% of your website’s visitors will eventually see this security warning if your site is not encrypted.
Testing Your Website for Encryption
You can test whether your site is encrypted quite easily. Go to your website and look at the web address in the location bar at the top. Your web browser will either display http: or https: in the opening characters of your web address to indicate a secured or unsecured website, respectively. Chrome also provides a visual queue to your web visitors. If there is a green lock next to your web address, your website is encrypted.
Otherwise, your web visitor can click the information button next to your web address, which will display a note stating that your site is not secure. Few people actually click on that information button right now so Chrome’s security warning is somewhat hidden (unless the page collects passwords or credit card information).
Come July, if any page on your site is not encrypted, your visitors will see a red triangle with the words “not secure” warning visitors about your site. This warning can cause your website traffic to tank and may even cause panic amongst your clients.
Testing for Other Security Vulnerabilities
Luckily, adding encryption to your website, especially if you use WordPress, is a straight forward fix using open source tools. Most website developers or IT service providers can take care of it for you in 15 minutes once they have access to your site’s hosting servers.
However, there is a deeper question that you should consider.
If you currently use an IT service provider and they have not alerted you about this serious security warning yet, how safe are they keeping all of your other systems?
You may have looming security issues that could cause a data breach. Hackers are targeting small businesses because they know smaller organizations often do not have proper safeguards in place.
Keeping Your Company Safe
If a hacker discovers that your website is not secured, they may use that as an indication that your company has other vulnerabilities that they can exploit. Computers and servers that do not have the latest security patches or modern software can be penetrated using malicious code that can cripple your business.
One of our core competencies is making sure that our clients have appropriate safeguards and processes in place to protect themselves.
We can run a complimentary security audit on your systems to see if there are issues that should be addressed.
A Complete Solution for Your IT Management
Our company can help your business enhance network security, keep your systems updated with the latest patches, increase productivity, and save you money on your IT investment.
Contact us if your website is not encrypted or to schedule a complimentary security audit.