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BizReport : Internet : July 27, 2018

What Google's Chrome update means for SMBs

When the Google Chrome 68 update rolls out later this month, small business owners may be those effected the most. That is because the update marks "HTTP" sites as unsecure. The move is being made to make it simpler for consumers to identify potentially unsafe sites. The problem is that about 60% of internet traffic comes through Chrome browsers, and not all SMB sites - even those that are secure - have an "HTTPS" address. I chatted with a GoDaddy exec about what these changes mean for small businesses.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: How might the Chrome 68 update affect small businesses?

Tony Perez, GM Security Product Group, GoDaddy: An encrypted internet is a good thing. While HTTPS everywhere is good for the larger internet, my bigger concern are the SMB's and individuals that don't understand the nuances of security. Even with all the best intentions, a new label that says  "Not Secure" on a small businesses' websites will hurt a company's reputation. SMB's will be forced to explain what "secure" means to their customers, if given the opportunity at all, and explain why don't conform to it, even if they do using other controls. It will cause customers to hesitate using the site, potentially driving business away. Thankfully, this can be solved by adding an SSL certificate but first SMB's need to be made aware and educated on the impending changes. There are many options, including free certificates, that businesses can use.

Kristina: What will this look like from a consumer standpoint?

Tony: Below is an example of what users will see when Chrome 68 is released.

Kristina: Why are these changes being made now?

Tony: The change is being driven by Google to introduce a secure-by-default web. Google's position is that everyday users should not have to worry about protocol like HTTPS or SSL/TLS certificates. They also hold a position that every day users are unable to differentiate between good indicators, so they're placing special emphasis on negative indicators. This release will be one of a few scheduled for the rest of 2018 where they systematically remove emphasis on positive indicator in lieu of negative indicators.  

Kristina: What can SMBs do to ensure their sites aren't marked "unsecure" by this update?
Tony: SMB's are going to want to make sure they are using a SSL/TLS certificate so that they can leverage the HTTPS protocol with their website. This means they are going to need a SSL/TLS certificate. In this current version, a site with a SSL/TLS certificate is indicated by a green lock icon in the browser address bar. A lock in the address bar means the data being transferred between the user and the website is encrypted. There are a number of options out there, from premium offerings by Certificate Authorities (CA) like GoDaddy, or free alternatives through CA's like Let's Encrypt.

Tags: advertising, ecommerce, GoDaddy, Google Chrome 68, google update, SMB tips, SMB website tips

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