The risks of doing business online have never been greater for businesses and their customers. Online shopping scams and frequent data breaches threaten the financial security and privacy of consumers. To convert website visitors into paying customers, you need to show customers that your website is safe from hackers.
A valid Transport Layer Security (formerly Security Socket Layer or SSL) certificate is the easiest way to do this, and it’s one of the components Better Business Bureau® consistently recommends consumers look for.
Consider the following reasons why an unsecured website is bad for business:
Internet browsers identify your website as a security threat. A valid TLS / SSL certificate tells Internet browsers that your website follows standard security protocols. Without it, website visitors are not greeted with a neatly organized homepage, but with a warning message advising users that they might be phishing susceptible. Customers don’t risk losing money or having their identity stolen for using your website. So this warning is enough to drive potential customers away from your website for good.
Your customers are victims of crooks. An expired TLS certificate puts your customers at risk of fraud and identity theft. The certificate does more than keep your website free of warning messages, it also helps fend off some of the biggest digital threats – hackers and impostors. They do this by verifying the identity of your website and encrypting sensitive information.
You are vulnerable to hackers. When a TLS certificate expires, user data may be exposed and you are more vulnerable to crooks who can use your corporate identity to steal customers. Buyers who access and use impostor websites could have their identities stolen, their financial information compromised, and even lose money to scammers. If an impostor uses your business identity, customers will associate this negative experience with your business.
The reputation of your business suffers. If the first thing a customer sees when they visit your website is a warning, they’ll immediately identify your business as untrustworthy. Even if you take quick action to correct the lack of security, trust with that customer is likely lost for good. A study by the Ponemon Institute estimates that a third of visitors refuse to return to a website with outdated security.
Trust is lost with established customers. Customers quickly trust businesses they have frequented in the past, and scammers know it. An existing customer victim of identity theft as part of your business is likely to take their business (and referrals) elsewhere, compromising the 25% sales boost that customer loyalty brings to your business. business.
Rather, buyers are dealing with competitors. Ultimately, letting your TLS certificate expire, even momentarily, could dramatically harm your reputation, sales, and customer loyalty. Every customer you lose due to an expired certificate is a customer your competition could gain. To prepare your business for long-term success, you need to take data security seriously and stay ahead of potential risks.
In our digital world, customers must give you their personal information before they decide to buy from you. Be a leader in customer privacy by collecting only the information you need, protecting your data from thieves, and being transparent about what you do with customer data. To learn more about how to protect customer data, read Data Privacy for Small Businesses. Also check out BBB’s cybersecurity resources.