Something we talk about quite a lot is cyber security! And yes, I’m afraid that this article will be no different.
The introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation in May 2018 signalled a new age in data security. The internet had become a bit of a murky place, where you date was being collected, stored and sold without your knowledge and GDPR was a firm statement that finally we would be given back control.
But years before in 2014, Google had already taken steps to increase website security with the introduction of higher ranking for sites with SSL certificates.
What is an SSL Certificate?
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates demonstrate that the data interaction you are having with a website is secure and unreadable to anyone but you. If the website you are on displays an SSL certificate you know that your communication (such as payments, contact forms etc) with that site remains private, its essentially a padlock for secure data flow between your browser and the server the website is hosted on.
We don’t want to bore you with too much technical jargon here, but essentially without an SSL certificate your site visitors and customers are at higher risk of being having their data stolen. Your site security is also at risk without encryption. An SSL certificate will protect your practice website from phishing scams, data breaches, and many other threats. Ultimately, it builds a secure environment for both you and your website and over the past few years, SSL certificates have become the basic due diligence that website owners can take.
Your website will often be the first representation of your practice that your clients will see. So, it is absolutely integral that you get this part right. It’s important that your website looks modern and visually appealing. Clients these days can tell when a website is well designed, its needs to flow and their user experience should be seamless.
However, none of this will matter if you don’t have an SSL certificate.
If your site does not have an SSL certificate, then it will appear in your clients’ browsers as ‘Not secure’. Below we have included a few examples of what this may look like to someone who is visiting your website. Seeing this when they visit your website will hardly help to reassure potential new clients that you will keep their data safe.
Why Your Website Needs an SSL Certificate
There are 4 reason why you need to ensure that your website has and SSL certificate:
- It protects your confidential practice and client data
- Once you install an SSL certificate on your website, every bit of information is encrypted. To use the padlock metaphor again, the communication between your client and the website (such as payments, contact forms etc) is locked and can only be unlocked by the recipient. Any hackers that might be on the prowl will be unable to access your data
- It confirms your identity
- An SSL certificate also gives your clients peace of mind by know that they are dealing with ‘the real thing’.
- The seal of security an SSL provides proof that the website is not a fake. Identity verification is one of the most important aspects as far as web security is concerned, as there have been cases in which people have lost thousands of pounds on fake websites.
- It gives your website a better search engine ranking
- Google will replay you for making the right decision in getting an SSL certificate by giving your website an upper hand in its algorithms.
- Improves your Customer Trust
- Trust is at the core of what you do, without it your clients wouldn’t leave their beloved pets in your hands.
- If your website is visibly insecure it really does not set the right tone for any future interactions you may have.
How Much does an SSL Certificate Cost?
Generally, the cost of an SSL certificate ranges from £0-£200 and needs renewing every year.
The cost for you to get an SSL certificate really depends on the level of security that your website requires and the kind of website you have. For example, if you use your site purely for informational purposes the certificate might be different than if you have an online booking system and shop on the site.
Where do I get an SSL Certificate From?
They are readily available online from numerous vendors. If you have an IT support company they will be able to advise you on the one you need, purchase it and apply it on your behalf, they will even renew it for you every year so its one less thing that you have to worry about.
As always, if you have any questions our team of Veterinary IT Experts are here to help, you can book in a chat with them here at a time that suits you.