The incidents of security leaks for major corporations are well known and, especially over the last year, well documented. From Target to Home Depot, Chase to eBay, Living Social to Zappos, virtually every big-business entity has been the victim of some sort of malicious incursion into their site, resulting in serious data breaches that have put consumers most personal data at risk.
Of course, what often doesn’t make headlines are the hundreds and thousands of smaller hacks that target smaller e-commerce sites.
For years tech experts have touted—and indeed shouted about—the importance of incorporating Internet security protocols into websites to ensure that connections between browsers and hosts are secure and safe. Most commonly known as encryption, the safeguards take two main forms—Transport Layer Security (TSL) and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). And having or not having either one can spell the difference between boom and doom.
Sadly, according to SingleHop, a private and managed cloud service company, only one-third of the planet’s most popular websites currently have a TSL or SSL system in place. Why the lack of security across the Internet spectrum? The burden of expense, a difficult set-up process and detrimental effects to website and search engine speed top the list as reasons not to encrypt. However, each of these misconceptions can be generally debunked.
To begin, obtaining an encryption platform and a protocol certificate is relatively cheap, even if you have it done professionally (which is highly recommended). Also, getting encryption up and running for your site—whether you tackle it yourself or not—is not the burdensome task it once was thanks to DIY programs that are easy and intuitive. And lastly, the current generation of computer processors easily adapt to encryption programs, so there are no worries about visitors running away from your site because of slow performance.
However, even if there did exist a serious downside to having your site encrypted, the effects of a hack greatly outweigh such conditions, especially if visitors to your page were to have their banking information compromised or stolen. In fact (and again according to SingleHop), if you plan on accepting and processing credit, debit or any other payments for goods or services on your site the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard requires that TLS/SSL already be in place.
So how can you tell, as you surf the Net, whether a TLS or SSL encryption is working to protect you? Look for “https,” rather than just “http” in the site address (see the “s” and think “secure”) and, for certain web browsers, a padlock icon within the address bar is a sign that you’re safe and sound.