The Small Business Guide to Data and Network Security - SmartData Collective

With the world moving online due to the pandemic, website security should be top of mind for businesses of any size. Many times, business owners are simply unaware of how commonplace it is to be on the receiving end of a cyberattack. Meet IP theft investigation for more information. Worse even, victims of these attacks may not realize for weeks, months or even years that their website or data is compromised. While implementing data and web security seems like a daunting task, it really comes down to building a simple routine to keep small businesses and their customers safe.

As a small business owner with extensive experience in website building and hosting, I’ve broken down a few key steps any business owner can — and should — take to get their web security in check.

Taking The First Step 

Sometimes, starting is half the battle. One of the first things I recommend website owners do is install a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) Certificate. In short, an SSL certificate is responsible for creating secure communication between the user and a server. 

By installing the SSL certificate, business owners create a more secure web experience for customers, safeguarding and encrypting their data as it’s transferred between the browser and the website. The presence of an SSL certificate gives websites the padlock icon in the address bar, demonstrating to customers that this business takes their privacy and security seriously and the website can be trusted.

In addition to keeping the website safe for customers, installing an SSL Certificate comes with a few additional key business benefits, including: 

1. Improving SEO. Search engines like Google have started giving ranking preference to websites that are safe and secure. In fact, a website without an SSL Certificate is more likely to be flagged as unsafe by the browser, warning customers before they enter and driving traffic — and potential customers — to competitor businesses. 

2. Driving customer conversion. With knowledge of SSL Certificates reaching beyond just the developer community, consumers now look for the padlock in the address bar. This demonstrates to customers that their privacy and security are taken seriously, instilling trust and establishing website credibility. Without this, website visitors may take their business elsewhere, finding a similar service with a secure connection.

There are plenty of online resources detailing how to install a certificate, making it easier than ever to secure a website. An indicator that the SSL certificate was installed correctly is if the “HTTP” at the beginning of a web address automatically changes to “HTTPS” when a website opens — the “S” stands for “secure.”