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Basic steps can help protect customer data, info

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Security is vital for companies doing business on the internet – which seems to be everyone.

With technology advancing rapidly, it’s imperative for companies to take every precaution to prevent cyber crooks from accessing private data.

Online hackers are finding new ways to intercept sensitive information, and with seemingly limitless bounds to today’s technology, their chances of infiltrating your website are high if it is not adequately protected.

And if your customers’ information gets into malicious hands, it can create issues for their accounts and harm your business’ reputation for accountability and trustworthiness.

That’s why it’s important to consider Secure Sockets Layer, technology that holds sensitive information such as email addresses, credit card accounts and home addresses. Specifically, it’s the way small businesses communicate with customers who browse, buy products or services and share information reliably on the web.

Some websites appear on the address bar as “http://” or https:// – the latter signifies a secure site with an SSL certificate. It works by encrypting data while it passes between websites and web servers, which prevents information from being stolen.

GOOGLE IMPLICATIONS

It’s essential to keep your customers’ information safe on the web to ensure their data is kept out of the hands of online hackers seeking vulnerabilities.

Google Chrome now identifies a website as not secure if it does not contain a Secure Sockets Layer certificate.

SSL is an effort to make the global web more secure. If you collect data or accept payments through credit and debit cards, it’s even more critical to have an SSL certificate.

Any size company has the potential for cyberattacks.

LEGITIMACY

If you do not sell products or services online, it’s still important to have an SSL certificate to show customers you are the legitimate owner of the business and website.

Often, data are intercepted electronically without a human as the deciding factor in what information or which company is on the receiving end of an attack.

Aside from enhancing security, an SSL certificate can boost your rankings in search engine results.

Google and other search engines reward secured websites to encourage all business owners to get on board and protect their websites with SSL certificates.

THE BIG THREE

While overall security is crucial and search engine ranking is a bonus, here are the main reasons why your business should insert an SSL certificate.

(1) Accept payments through credit and debit cards

The most critical factor in acquiring an SSL certificate is to be able to accept forms of payment safely. You don’t want to put customer privacy at risk, nor your business’ private information.

If your business receives payments online, you’ll need a merchant account, and most of those accounts will require your business to have an SSL certificate.

Some web-hosting companies have terms of service requiring websites to be secured with SSL before accepting credit cards.

(2) Protect accounts and passwords

If your pages are password protected, an SSL certificate can ensure personal passwords for your company site will not be stolen or manipulated. Any data-driven websites that contain a login page for which the administrator has access also are included in this.

It’s imperative to ensure your site is intact and unable to be deleted or handled by online bots seeking weakly secured websites.

(3) Secure all web information

Some websites collect data, rather than online payments. These could be sales leads, questionnaires or previous employers.

If you are gathering even the most basic information, such as name, address, phone number and email address, you want to do everything in your power to protect it.

STAYING ABREAST

Any piece of information that needs to be secure online needs to work under the protection of an SSL certificate. You want your customers to get the most out of your website and be sure their personal and private information is safe in your business’ hands.

With regard to the effort led by Google Chrome to increase web security, it is necessary to keep up with trends to ensure your business’ success.

Cara Luther is a content writer for NuStream Media in Allentown. She can be reached at 610-432-2600 or info@nustreammedia.com.

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