Regardless of the size and nature of your business or organization, cyber security impacts everyone.

By Suhaib Zaheer

The concerning reality is that online attacks are becoming more complex in nature and more frequent, and no one is immune – from large multinational corporations to small local businesses. As a result, protecting data, personal information and thus your brand and reputation, is more important now than ever before.

Thankfully changes are being made to help increase the security of the Internet. For one, last month Google launched its updated web browser, Chrome 68. New features now include an automatic “Not Secure” notification that users receive when they reach a website that does not have the proper Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates in place.

Once secured with an SSL certification, a website URL will appear like this:

Where Google Chrome goes, other browsers are sure to follow, paving the way to a more secure Internet with clear transparency for consumers. To further encourage website owners to take the appropriate steps to meet security standards, Google has also begun prioritizing secure sites, which will appear higher in search result pages.

Evolving Security Needs for a More Secure Internet

While this is a positive move to help the battle against cyber security threats, the implications could have dire consequences for those who have web properties that are not currently secure, which is often small businesses who didn’t think security for their small website was necessary. But today it is, regardless of the size of the business or the nature of the website.

For many small businesses especially, success truly depends on the online experience. The ability to authenticate a presence and validate that visitors are in fact communicating with your servers and not third parties pretending to be you, is paramount. Whether it’s bad actors modifying the communications between a visitors’ computer and business servers, or the injection of unwanted content into sites – being seen as trustworthy should be a number one priority. A “Note Secure” notice at the top of your website immediately harms your reputation in the eyes of consumers.

Given the explosive growth of cyber-attacks, basic web security, including SSL certificates are now a must-have for anyone with a web presence – especially if your organization depends on the web to drive sales, brand awareness, education, customer loyalty or engagement. In fact, this was the driving force behind our decision at Endurance to offer free SSL certificates to customers across a number of our brands, because security should no longer be just an option.

Having worked with entrepreneurs and small business owners over the years, and having been one myself, I know margins, time and resources are always tight. Many are not professional web developers, and have little to no experience securing a website. Couple that with the fact that many entrepreneurs and small business owners have networks that rely heavily on each other, it brings to the forefront the reality that your cyber security is only as strong as your weakest link.

Many organizations and particularly small and midsize businesses, which often don’t have dedicated resources and trained personnel focused on cyber security from the beginning, are underprepared to meet today’s threats but they don’t have to be.

As more organizations begin to better understand the impact, both negative and positive, that this symbiotic ecosystem can have on everyone, the easier it will be to combat cyberattacks.  The good news is that we are seeing the industry come together – from Google Chrome 68 security notifications to SSL certificates being built into hosting platforms, everyone benefits as all links are strengthened.

The launch of Chrome 68 is a great reminder to site owners across the Internet to step up their security game and an opportunity for organizations to review and ensure that they are providing an online experience that meets today’s security standards. Because at the end of the day, success will come not only with the ability to readily search for and find your web properties, but also interact with them without fear of exposing yourself to cyberattacks.

Suhaib Zaheer is SVP and General Manager of Hosting at Endurance International Group.

Security stock photo by wutzkohphoto/Shutterstock