By Paul Simons

Spamming, hacking and the breach of cyber security are an unfortunate reality of the digital world.  According to some reports, almost one in three internet users in the United States are a victim of cyber crimes in one way or another. The cyber security attackers are launching more and more harmful malware every day and are evolving their techniques to strike more devices than ever before.

The situation is even more alarming for small businesses and ecommerce stores. Some statistics indicate that almost 64% of online companies have experienced web-based attacks and millions of customers have been affected. This means that online retailers must take necessary safety measures to secure their websites and ensure that customer’s sensitive information is duly protected.

The Battle Against Hackers

The moment you create a website, it is at the risk of being hacked. As an online retailer, there is nothing more threatening than the damage done by hackers. Once they manage to penetrate, they can destroy all the records, steal information, and most importantly, they just ruin your customer reputation.

There is a lot you can do to secure your ecommerce website. The first and the foremost measures are to make sure that your passwords are secure, admin pages are hidden, and HTTPS is enabled on the website. Furthermore, you can use parameterized queries and CSP, limit file uploads and install further security plugins.

HTTPS – The Ultimate Warrior

HTTPS is the ultimate missile in your arsenal. What it does is that it encrypts the information traveling between a browser and a web server. This means that the communication between the browser and the website is protected from “man-in-the-middle” AKA hacker’s attacks. HTTPS typically deploys one or two secure protocols to encrypt communications, so the customer’s credit card information and logins remain secure from the perverts.

There are many instances when users need to share credentials like signing up for an account, placing an order, or submitting reviews and testimonials. They need to ensure the website is secure and trustworthy. The presence of SSL certificate symbolizes that the website is secure enough to share personal details. But, still they need privacy while placing orders or submitting details.

The eCommerce websites that are powered by stand alone platforms like Magento or PrestaShop are made secure by default, whereas for improving user experience, merchants can integrate extensions and add-ons. Magento Testimonials extension is one of the reliable tools that create an autonomous environment for the end users to submit testimonials without fearing for data theft, whereas, the installation of SSL certificate is like the final nail in the coffin in gaining the consumer trust to share personal details.

Difference between HTTP and HTTPS

For someone who is new to web development or internet business might find it hard to figure out the difference between the two. HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is an application-based protocol designed for distributed, collaborative and hypermedia information systems. Whereas, HTTPS connections include an SSL certificate and the computer agree on a “code” that will transfer between them.  They scramble the messages using that particular “code” so that no one in between can read them. This means that HTTPS connection is far more secure than HTTP connection.

Some Extra Benefits of Using HTTPS

Earlier, HTTPS was primarily used by the websites that involved the use of sensitive information or payment gateways. However, due to the increased security concerns and the severity of cyber security breach, HTTPS is now a must-have feature for all websites.

Apart from security, I have discussed further reasons why HTTPS must be enabled on your website.

1. Improves Search Rankings

Search Engines rank a website by gauging it on several parameters and security is one of them. Search engines prefer websites that meet mandatory security standards. Google has categorically hinted that HTTPS may serve as a tiebreaker if the quality rates for two different results in search are equal in everything else. This means that a secure connection will always be favored by Google and will get a better ranking.

2. Boosts Sales

Not only search engines, but online shoppers also prefer secure connections. Customers are concerned about their information and privacy more than anything else. Google chrome labels HHTP websites as insecure, warning users that the particular website is not secure. 84% of online shoppers are likely to abandon a website if they feel insecurity or data being sent over an insecure connection. +1 HTTPS improves ranking; good ranking means more traffic which means more sales. This supports the fact that HTTPS is also a tool to boost sales.

3. Enhances Website Loading Speed on Mobile Phones

Some of the websites in Google search results take a few seconds to load, whereas some websites take enough time and load slower on mobile phones. The reason is that faster websites are powered by Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), an innovative technology that boosts the speed of a website on smart phones and mobile devices. AMP requires SSL to process quick page loading speed. Faster websites generate more traffic and more leads.

HTTPS is not just about security; it’s now far more than that. However, customer confidence and satisfaction is the pivotal reason why HTTPS is the call of the day. Once your website hacked, the customer will never trust it for further purchases. To increase your brand awareness, you first have to earn the trust of customers and make them feel protected and secured.

The rest of the perks that come along with security are like more layers of the cake. Above all, HTTPS is now a mandatory feature for smooth safe and hassle-free shopping experience.

Paul Simons is a professional eCommerce and a digital marketing expert. He is currently working for FME Addons, a company that develops extensions for popular shopping carts like Magento, WordPress and Woocommerce.