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Google is about to take its next step in a long-term plan to create a more secure internet. Beginning in January 2017, Google’s Chrome browser will explicitly label pages using an HTTP connection as “Not Secure” if they contain a password or credit card field. This first step will provide users of the Chrome browser with a visual indication that their communications with your site may not be safe.

Google’s long term plan will extend this label to all pages still using an unsecured HTTP connection. In the future, you can expect to see something like:

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Will your site be affected by this?

If your site requires users to enter a password or credit card information, your site will need to meet the following criteria to be considered secure:

  1. Your site has a valid SSL Certificate installed.
  2. Your site requires an HTTPS connection to serve pages with a password or credit card input.

If your website collects a password or credit card information and does not meet these criteria, the January change will apply to you.

What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL certificate is a small file containing a unique key which is bound to your organization. This file allows web browsers to create a secure connection to your website.

Over this secure connection, data communicated between your website and your users in encrypted to ensure that it stays private.

What does this deadline really mean for your site?

If your website is not secured with an SSL certificate by the January 2017 update, Chrome users will see a prominent “Not Secure” message next to your URL in their browsers (this will only be the case on page with a login for or credit card input).

Comparison between current treatment and upcoming change:

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The impact of this change is more significant than you may might think. Google Chrome has a large share of the browser market, and a large number of your site’s visitors will be affected.

By not securing your site:

  • You damage the trust between you and your customers. When a visitor arrives at your site and notices that it is flagged as “Not Secure”, their entire experience with your organization is primed with a sense of distrust.
  • Your conversion rates could decrease. Site visitors will be less likely to share their personal information with you or make purchases on your site if they do not feel that their data is being protected. Any preventable decrease in conversions is bad for your business.

Need more reasons to secure your site?

As we mentioned above, this is only the first step in Google’s long-term plan. In addition to the immediate dangers of ignoring this deadline, not securing your site will likely have even greater long term impacts:

  • Other browsers are likely to follow suit.
  • Google will get stricter. While this initial deadline may not affect your site immediately, Google’s long-term plan will certainly have an impact on any website that has not been secured with an SSL certificate.
  • Your keyword rankings could take a hit. Google is already using security as a ranking factor but we can reasonably assume its significance will increase as Google pushes toward a more secure internet.

Let’s not forget that by getting an SSL certificate, you are securing your site. The importance of protecting your customers and yourself can not be overstated.

Don’t get left behind as we transition to a more secure internet. Contact us today to have an SSL certificate installed on your site.