The carrot and stick for website security

There are changes coming that will make it more important than ever to secure websites. For many owners of websites, the purpose of a website is to make information public, so why is there a need to add additional security? Sure, if you took credit card payments or stored and processed confidential information then it made sense. But for an information website, or a blog, surely there’s no need for security protection? The answer is that now security protection is recommended for all websites.

The Carrot

First came the carrot, or some gentle persuasion, from Google. As part of its belief that website security is a top priority, Google started including security in its search algorithms back in 2014. While initially it only acted as a lightweight signal, affecting less than 1% of global queries, they have indicated it might become a more important factor. They encouraged all website owners to adopt a more secure approach to make the web safer for everyone. In return they offered a carrot: potential slight increase in search ranking.

The Stick

Now the stick has been brought into play. The pressure for website owners without a secure certificate to change has increased.
The next release of Google’s web browser, Google chrome (version62) brings a significant change. Any user entering text into a form on a site that has an address starting with “http” (not “https”), will see a “NOT SECURE” warning. So using any website form, whether that’s just entering contact details, signing up for an email marketing list, or simply using your site search will all get this warning.

With computer security increasingly in the news, anything that might concern visitors to your website must be a concern to you as a website owner.

The Solution

So how do we resolve this? Well, the good news is it is simply a case of adding a Secure Certificate to your website. This will remove the “Not Secure” warning, and having the added benefit of removing any search listing penalty for not having a secure certificate.

We’re advising all our Green Shoots website clients to install the certification they need. Then they can all get on with business knowing websites are sharing, showing and selling without any security concerns.