As a dental office, you may collect patient information such as phone numbers, birth dates, and other important information over the internet hackers may want to get their hands on. If you take payments online, it is even more important to keep your website secure. So how do you do this?
Google is mandating SSL and HTTPS for websites to keep protect you as well as your patients.
Understanding the Changes
The reason Google is making these changes is so it will be easier to identify reputable websites. Each website much have an SSL certificate as well as HTTPS. It is important to understand why these changes are being made and how they can help you.
The first reason is to provide authentication, ensuring patients you own the website. This helps build your brand and makes your dental business more trustworthy. Furthermore, it will be harder for cyber criminals to make duplicate websites to try to steal patient information or payments.
Encryption is the second reason these changes are being implemented. This means communication between you and your patients are secure, so no one else will be able to read them. One of the biggest uses of encryption is keeping credit card information and sensitive patient information safe.
The third reason is data integrity, which means data cannot be tampered with while it is being transmitted. So if your patients do make a payment online or send contact information through your website, it cannot be read while being sent over the internet.
SSL and HTTPs
Now that you understand why Google is making the changes, it is important to understand what these acronyms mean.
Secure Socket Layer, or SSL, means communication is encrypted over a computer network and there is a secure connection between the user and the browser you are viewing. These certificates help cut down on cybercrime and holes in security.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, or HTTPS, keeps data and communication secure over the internet. This helps keep people from tampering with yours or your patient’s data. You can see if a site has HTTPS because it can be viewed in the address bar, so you know whether the site your visiting has an SSL certificate or not.
What if You Don’t Have SSL Certificate?
Google is going to start cracking down on websites that don’t have an SSL certificate, but what does that mean? It means you can lose clients, leads, and lose rankings on Google. Even if you keep your SEO up, without an SSL certificate, clients may not be able to reach your site.
If you don’t have an SSL certificate, it is time to get one otherwise Google will read your website as not secure. Anyone trying to visit the site will be warned and may not be allowed to enter your site.
The company you host with should have the option of purchasing an SSL certificate. They are relatively inexpensive to maintain, about $70 a year, which is much cheaper than losing customers and losing patients visiting your site, as well as the income they bring in to your office.
Some hosting companies offer SSL certificates as part of a package so check with yours to see what they offer to save money.
The Importance to Being Secure
Keep your trust with Google, but more importantly, allows customers and patients to keep accessing your site by having an SSL and HTTPS. This will keep your rank with Google, trust with potential patients, and build your brand as a trustworthy dental office.