Collecting Data? Google Now Requires You to Use HTTPS

If your website collects sensitive user data, you will have to bring a few tweaks to how it works. Google recently announced its plans to mark HTTP sites non-secure if they collect sensitive data. However, even if you don’t collect information on your website they announced this is part of a “long-term plan to mark all HTTP sites as non-secure”.

The first stage of the plan will come into effect by the end of January, and as a result all websites that have information field or contain login will give issue a security warning if they are on HTTP and not HTTPS. This will however only work on Google Chrome and not other browsers. But considering that Google Chrome enjoys a staggering 56% market share, there is a need for you to worry if your website is not already secure.

What is Crucial Data Or Sensitive Data?

All sort of personal data that you receive from your visitors or clients is sensitive data. This includes credit card information, login details, social security number and other such personal information. Most organizations use their site to gather data for sales purpose. However, at times this data is important to complete a purchase as well. There is no way a business can work without gaining access to such data.

What differentiates HTTP AND HTTPS?

HTTP and HTTPS are technically same, but the latter is more secure. HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol, while HTTPS stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure. When a website uses HTTPS, it means the data shared is encrypted, adding another layer of security.

Look at the address bar of your website and see how your website appears. You will either see http:// or https:// followed by your URL. If your website shows https:// then you’re good, however if it shows http:// then you will have to bring a few changes to your site. Even if your website shows none of the two, you will have to make changes to comply with Google’s new policy.

What is an SSL Certificate?

The process of changing from HTTP to HTTPS begins with purchasing and installing a SSL Certificate. What is a SSL certificate you ask? Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL, is a digital certificate used to establish a secure encrypted connection between your computer browser and the website. The SSL encryption ensures that credit card and other personal information is kept private and secure when you type it into a website.

What Should You Do?

As mentioned earlier, this change will implement only on Google Chrome. However, considering that Google’s reputation, it will not be too surprising if other browsers also follow in the same path. You need to take actions before it’s too late.

Most users will stay away from websites that are not secure. And once they are aware of this loophole, they may look for HTTPS even if they are not using Google Chrome. To make sure your website does not lose visitors, you need to move to HTTPS today.

The process can be complex as it requires technical knowledge. Unless you have expertise installing SSL certificates on servers, it’s recommended that you look for professionals to do the job for you.