5 Reasons Why a Non-Secure Website is Bad for Business
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and a few minutes of a cyber incident to ruin it.” Stephane Nappo
The internet is a wild and woolly place. Nothing about that has changed. There are lots of nefarious people out there trying to steal your information and your money.
But two things have changed. Scammers and hackers are far more sophisticated, and the risks of doing online business has never been greater for both consumers and businesses.
That’s why I’m always shocked when I see websites that have not converted from HTTP to HTTPS. Basically, all data with an HTTP address exchanges information with the server in plain text. That makes it very easy to scam and hack. With HTTPS, the information is encrypted. Much more secure. All you need is a valid Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificate, formerly called Secure Sockets Layer. Just get in touch with your webmaster to make the switch.
But let’s look at some very real reasons why having an old HTTP web address is bad for business:
1. Web Visitors Can View Your Website as a Security Threat
With a valid TLS certificate, internet visitors know they can browse your site safely.
Without a TSL, website visitors can see a warning message advising them that they could be susceptible to phishing.
Not many people are willing to risk having their money stolen just to browse your site. Nor are they likely to return to an unsafe site.
2. Scammers Love Unsecure Websites
This is the perfect place for scammers to hang out. Without a TSL, prospects and customers alike are at risk for fraud and identity theft. Why? A “Not Secure” warning message doesn’t mean the website itself is not secure. Instead, it means the communication between the browser and the website is not safe.
Here are 3 common ways scammers can alter website communication:
- With an HTTP website, all the data is in plain text and easily readable by scammers, making it easy to steal its content such as credit cards and passwords.
- Because the data is unencrypted, hackers can alter the message without any way for others to detect the deception. For example, altering a bank account so that the scammer receives the money.
- Scammers can alter the requested URL and redirect it to a suspicious website.
Such damaging customer experiences can be negatively associated with your company.
3. A Warning Message Can Cause Your Reputation to Suffer
If the first thing your website prospects see is a security warning message, they will immediately assume the business is untrustworthy. A study by Ponemon Institute estimated that one-third of website visitors refuse to ever re-visit a site with lapsed security.
4. Trust is Lost
While established customers are quick to trust businesses they’ve patronized for years, it’s not easy to re-gain that trust when a security breach occurs. Loyal customers who experience identity theft through your business are less likely to do business with you again.
5. Customers Will Choose Your Competitor
With a non-secure website, you risk significant damage to customer loyalty, sales, and your reputation. And the risk they could choose your competition over you.
I know your website may not be at the top of your to-do list, but I’m suggesting it should be. We often think that because we’re a small business, scammers and hackers won’t bother with us.
About 10 years ago, I had a membership site for the salon industry where members could access all kinds of beauty and hair articles. I did not sell anything on the site itself. It was just information. Lots of it.
Even with strong security, that site was under constant attack. Eventually, I took it down.
And that was a decade ago!
The Small Business Role in Customer Security
We must take this cyber threat seriously. Consumers certainly do. In fact, McKinsey & Company research found that 87% of consumers prefer to support businesses who take their privacy and data protection seriously.
And yet, 56% of small business owners say they are not concerned about getting hacked in the next 12 months.
That’s just not good enough.
We certainly take precautions with securing money and customer financial privacy on-site. Why not with our websites?
Your customers are trusting you to help keep them safe!
Susan Vincent is a small business marketing copywriter and consultant who helps businesses learn to tell the right story, reach the right audience, and make more money. Find her at https://www.susanhvincent.com/.
Blog post reprinted with permission by Susan Vincent