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Cyber and online shopping security tips

How a green padlock can help

Cybercrime is a constant threat, but you can help make your site safer for customers by providing a secure online connection.

Peak shopping periods bring a greater risk of cybercrime, due to the high volume of digital transactions happening at these times. For many businesses, that means Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the run-up to Christmas, although they’re certainly not the only times that customers are at risk.

In fact, in the last 12 months, three quarters of British people have been targeted by a fraudster, with online shopping scams the most common type of fraud in the UK1.

Online trust is good for business

The growing threat of cybercrime has led to customers becoming increasingly wary online2, meaning trust in website security has become business-critical.

Potential customers want to be convinced that their details are safe and that the site that they’re on is genuine.

And that doesn’t just apply to individual consumers. Businesses across all sectors buy online, and they are just as concerned about fraud as retail customers3.

The green padlock

The green padlock symbol is one way you can help customers feel secure on your website.

It’s positioned at the start of your URL, and is symbolic of online security. It indicates that all traffic to and from the website – including credit card details and passwords – is encrypted.

It can also make a big difference to your digital footfall, with secure pages pushed further up search rankings.

In short, with the green padlock in place, it could be easier for customers to find your website, and that can give your business a competitive edge.

How to get the green padlock

A green padlock will automatically appear in front of your URL – for all your customers to see – when you install a Secure Sockets Layer certificate (SSL certificate).

This small data file activates encryption, changing your application protocol from HTTP to HTTPS where ‘S’ stands for secure.

Ask your website host to include an SSL certificate in your hosting plan. All your web developer needs to do is to activate the certificate. Alternatively, if you’re using a website builder provided by your host, work with your host directly to get it activated.

More online confidence boosters

Unfortunately, cyber-criminals are smart and even an SSL certificate can’t provide a 100% guarantee that fraudsters won’t be able to target your customers.

So it’s important to remain vigilant. Monitor your website to make sure it’s behaving properly, make sure you keep your software updated, and install security patches as soon as they become available. And it almost goes without saying that you should change default passwords and install internet security protection too.

But with customers increasingly aware of cybercrime – and sensitive to anything that makes them nervous online – it’s also worth doing everything you can to be as reassuring as possible.

Make sure your website looks professional, with engaging design and imagery that’s similar throughout. You should offer a consistent experience across your site – including on the payment page – and ensure your content is accurate and up-to-date.

In addition, making it easy for your customers to get in touch with you, such as providing up-to-date contact information, being active on social media and claiming your business listing on search engines all provide extra layers of credibility.