Earlier in the year, Google announced that they would be introducing a ‘not secure’ flag on any website that was collecting information from users via online forms, but not doing so using a HTTPS page (one protected with a secure certificate).
The change wouldn’t be immediate – Google may push their own agendas hard, but they know that such a change couldn’t always be rolled out over night by site owners – and to start with, they would only flag forms that were obviously collecting sensitive information, such as usernames and passwords, and credit card details.
During October 2017 – version 62 of Chrome to be exact – they’ll be flagging up any form that is offered up to the user without it being on a secure page. This means that your site needs to be hosted securely, or your visitors are going to start seeing very visible messages about how the page they are currently on, with your logo in the top left, isn’t secure.
Of course, a secure certificate on its own doesn’t guarantee a secure site – all it does is encrypt the traffic between your site and the visitor, meaning you could still suffer a data breach or, if you were so inclined, simply sell the data you collect anyway. But that’s not the point. Securing a site with a secure certificate is so easy these days, you’d seriously have to ask why the form you were filling in *wasn’t* secured by one.
If you are launching a site in the near future, you should be getting a secure certificate as standard, and without cost – services such as letsencrypt offer them for free, and your host can install the required software in minutes.
If you have an existing site, you might struggle a little more – especially if it’s old and could actually potentially break by introducing a secure certificate (unlikely, but not impossible!). But that’s still not really an excuse. It might take some work to make everything work, but if you’re not willing to spend the money it takes to bring your website up to scratch, then you shouldn’t be collecting data from your users in the first place.
If you’re already secure, then you have nothing to fear – and you can look forward to improved SEO results as Google puts more and more emphasis on promoting site security, as well as increased business from any of your competitors who decide not to make their websites more secure.
Mon 18th Sep 2017
tel: 0161 762 1121