While every website should have an SSL, or Secure Socket Layer, certificate, unfortunately, an SSL is not a 100% guarantee against all website hacks.
An SSL can prevent third parties from “spying” on your website activities and stealing your website identity. However, professional hackers are constantly looking at websites for anything they can compromise to use your site or server for criminal purposes.
What can you do?
Along with having an SSL, every business website should have a website security plan to remain proactive against hacks. Keep reading to learn the steps to take to safeguard your website.
Start With a Website SSL Certificate
If your website is marked “not secure” in the URL, make installing an SSL a priority.
An SSL is a technology used to encrypt data that travels between a website and a user’s computer. Websites use SSL encryption to prevent hackers from intercepting and misusing personal information users leave on a website (via checkout pages, registration forms, contact forms, etc.).
A secure website will have a lock symbol by the URL. An unsecured website will have a warning in the search bar that says, “not secure.” Most internet users will be very cautious when they see this and likely won’t visit that website.
Secure Vs. Not Secure
Since 2015, Google and other search engines have pushed for all websites to have SSLs in place. Google has even said secure sites will be boosted over unsecured websites. This means that if your website is not secure, potential customers may not even be able to find it when searching online.
After you install the SSL certificate, you will also want to:
- Ensure all internal and external links use the new secure HTTPS in the URL. The secure transfer via an SSL certificate is marked with an “s,” such as HTTPS://, instead of an unsecured website shown as HTTP://.
- Redirect HTTP URLs to HTTPS.
- Verify your website in Google Search Console and set your preferred domain to HTTPS.
- Update your website sitemap to reference the HTTPS pages.
If you need support with this, reach out to us at Marketing Essentials as our website security team can assist.
Now That I Have an SSL, How Does It Protect My Website?
As mentioned above, an SSL encrypts sensitive data, such as contact details and credit card information, sent over the internet. This is done so only the intended recipient can access the information.
Without encryption, third parties, such as hackers, can easily access the information.
An SSL also helps prevent phishing attacks where a hacker pretends to be a legitimate website you visited to trick you into providing sensitive information. Phishing attacks are another reason always to check that a website says “secure” or begins with “HTTPS” in the URL.
In summary, an SSL primarily protects data in transit, but the website itself can still be vulnerable to an attack.
Along With an SSL, What Do I Need to Protect My Website?
In addition to installing an SSL, it’s also important to have a website security program. Website security is more comprehensive than an SSL certificate and includes a proactive plan for auditing, checking, responding and backing up your website.
A website security plan should be unique to your website and how it is used. For example, a security plan for an e-commerce website would be different than a security plan for a 2-page website promoting a new author.
A website security plan should not be something you set and forget. Just like you monitor, manage and update your website for functionality, you should be doing the same for security reasons.
In fact, on average, 30,000 websites are hacked each day. Don’t let your website be one of those.
Stay Protected With a Professional Website Security Audit
Protect your website with a website security audit by Marketing Essentials. Our experienced team of website security professionals can address vulnerabilities and help you put a proactive plan in place to protect your website from hacks, breaches and data privacy concerns.
Request your free consultation today to learn more about keeping your website secure.