So, you’ve just redesigned your new website
, congratulations! It’s looking great, and everything seems to be running smoothly. The sales are flowing in slow but steady, and before long you... wait, what’s happening? The site’s not processing sales any more, and you’ve lost private data on your clients!
You might be surprised to find out that all sorts of websites are hacked, lose private data or are unknowingly filled with dangerous files (such as malware) which may be feeding information to undesirable sources. This can mean a loss of website functions in the short term, but it can also mean a loss in profits and even in your visitors’ data. If this happens, they’ll be unlikely to return, and stories of poor online security can spread like wildfire.
So what are your options? Well if you’re an online security specialist, you’ll have plenty of options to help secure your databases, networks, websites and apps. However, if you’re not quite up to that standard, there are services available to help you keep your site safe and your information secure. Introducing Website Security Seals and SSL Certificates.
You’re probably wondering what security seals and SSL certificates are. Chances are, you’ve unknowingly seen security seals all over the internet. They’re little buttons or icons which tell you a website is safe to use. They usually appear on websites’ sales pages or when you’re asked to provide personal information. These seals show visitors that a site has been checked for vulnerabilities and that the data going through them (be it your address, bank details or something else entirely) is protected from infiltrators.
SSL certificates are a little more complicated, but think of them as padlocks. Essentially, when any information is provided through a protected website, the SSL certificate will padlock it to a specific website. Only the administrators of that website will hold the key to this lock, so it’s inaccessible to anybody else. These also allow you to make secure connections to websites through your browser. They’re usually used for important information exchanges such as when you enter your credit card details or when you log in to a user area.
Okay, that’s the technical side covered, so what sorts of services can you expect from Website Security Seals and SSL Certificate websites? We’ve explored the best of these services to bring you a comprehensive range of reviews. Each review contains costings, a breakdown of the service’s main features and tools, plus an editorial verdict which explains the pros and cons of each service.
Before launching into the reviews, however, we recommend that you continue to read this buying guide because we’re about to offer some hints and tips regarding what to look out for and what to avoid. Our reviews cover 7 key areas, which we assess using a star system (as a kind of visual judge of how each site competes against its peers), and you may benefit from a little insight into each of them...
- Website Vulnerability Scanning: To keep your website secure, you’ll need to perform regular scans to make sure that any vulnerabilities are identified before they’re attacked. The best sites will perform daily scans and scans on demand, updating their threat information regularly to make sure you’re always covered. If you have to pay per scan, this can quickly become expensive and may leave you vulnerable if you’re inclined to “risk it” rather than update regularly. Some services may offer an initial scan for free, helping you to better understand how vulnerable your website is.
- PCI Compliance Scanning: The Payment Card Industry is the information security standard for any company which handles money online using credit cards. This includes all the big names, such as Visa, American Express, MasterCard, Discover and more. If you will be taking payments from visitors using payment cards, it is necessary that your site conforms to the PCI standards of security and safety. If not, you could run the risk of losing sales or clients’ important bank information. The best services will offer support and updates on these issues, helping you to make sure you’re compliant with current law and sales standards.
- Business Verification Options: Businesses need to run smoothly. If a problem occurs in the line of business processes, it can cause problems for everyone. You may not be able to take orders or deliver items, you may receive a lot of returns which can’t be processed, and more. Verification allows others to know that you manage your own business. This makes it visible on search engines, maps and more. You can also receive seals which will show your customers that you are a reliable business in which they can trust.
- Range of Security Seals: Security seals are a visual sign that your business is trustworthy. After running tests and verifying that your business and website are safe for consumers or visitors, a seal will help you to demonstrate your passing grade to potential customers. Most of the sites we’ve reviewed will offer a basic selection of seals, but some will provide customization options to help adjust a seal to fit your company brand. You might also have your website “verified” in search results, or gain a green address bar to show that it’s a safe website to explore. These are particularly important to online vendors because they show customers that they can trust your website’s security, and this often has the effect of increasing your sales.
- Ease of Use / Set up:
Since many of these services utilize data encryption, online scans and more, it’s important that they’re simple to use (unless of course you’re an online safety expert). For most of us, this means we can easily have our sites checked regularly, that issues are resolved with little effort, and that we can promote our security with seals. If there’s a free trial on offer, this might be worth checking out because you’ll get a good sense of how user-friendly a service is, and whether it’s best suited to your website or business.
- Customer Support: If anything goes awry, you may need support. We consider how you can approach the support team (email, on-site message, phone, live chat) and what online resources are available. A decent FAQ can save you a lot of time and effort, whilst resources such as white papers, essays and blog posts can help to keep you up to date with online security issues. Several sites also offer webinars, which are useful for improving your understanding and skills with website security systems.
- Value for Money: Prices can vary quite a lot. Expensive doesn’t mean “better” and cheap doesn’t mean “better value for money”. Think about what you can afford and what you realistically need from these services. There’s no need to pay top dollar for an all-singing service with a private consultant if you’re just selling jewellery from your home. However, if you’re about to up-size and need to protect networks or data stores, it might be worth spending more to get that sort of help and improved level of protection.
Those are our top tips when seeking out an SSL Certificate and Website Security Seal service. Take a look at a few of our reviews, visit a few of the sites we’ve reviewed, and see which one can offer you the best security at the best price!