BBB Business Tips: Is Your Website Secure?

The risk of doing business online has never been greater due to the number of scams and data leaks. Learn why an unsecure website is bad for business.

The risk of doing business online has never been greater due to the number of scams and data leaks. Learn why an unsecure website is bad for business.

By Better Business Bureau Serving Greater Cleveland

While technically October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, anytime is a great time to reevaluate the cybersecurity measures in place at your business. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Report, the cost of cybercrimes in the U.S. reached $2.7 billion in 2020 alone, so it’s no wonder why small businesses are worried about protecting their business. A recent Small Business Association (SBA) survey indicated that a majority of small business owners were concerned about cyberattacks against their business, with a whopping 88% of business owners saying they were concerned that their business was vulnerable to an attack.

All of this shows us that the risks of doing business online have never been greater for both businesses and their customers. Online purchase scams and frequent data leaks put consumers’ financial security and privacy at risk, and reduce consumers’ trust in your business. Show consumers your business is trustworthy by having a secure website. A valid Transport Layer Security (TLS) (formerly Security Socket Layer, or SSL) certificate is the easiest way to do that, and it’s one of the components Better Business Bureau® consistently recommends consumers look for.

Here are 5 reasons why an unsecured website is bad for your business: 

1. Internet browsers identify your website as a security threat.
A valid Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificate tells internet browsers your company website meets standard security protocols. Without it, potential customers won’t see your company’s homepage. Instead, they are greeted with a warning message advising they could be susceptible to a phishing attempt. Customers don’t want to risk losing money or having their identity stolen just to use a company’s website.  

2. Customers fall victim to scammers.
An expired TLS certificate puts your customers at risk for fraud and identity theft. The certificate does more than keep your website free of warning messages; it also helps ward off hackers and impostors. They do this by verifying the identity of your website and encrypting sensitive information.

When a TLS certificate expires, user data is at risk of exposure, and you’re more vulnerable to scammers who may use your business identity to steal from customers. Shoppers who access and use impostor websites could have their identity stolen, their financial information compromised, and even lose money to scammers. If an impostor uses your business’s identity, customers will associate that negative experience with your company.

3. Your business reputation suffers.
If the first thing a customer sees when visiting your website is a warning, they will immediately identify your business as untrustworthy. Even if you quickly take action to correct the lapse in security, trust with that customer is likely lost for good. A study by Ponemon Institute estimates that one-third of visitors refuse to ever revisit any website where security has lapsed. 

4. Trust is lost with established clientele.
Customers are quick to trust businesses they’ve patronized in the past, and scammers know it. An existing customer who falls victim to identity theft through your business is likely to take their business (and their referrals) elsewhere, jeopardizing the 25% sales boost that customer loyalty provides to your business.

5. Shoppers do business with competitors instead.
Ultimately, the result of allowing your TLS certificate to lapse even momentarily could be significant damage to your reputation, sales, and customer loyalty. Every customer you lose due to an expired certificate is one customer your competition could gain. To set your business up for long-term success, you need to take data security seriously and stay ahead of any potential risks.

In our digital world, customers must trust you with their personal information before they’ll decide to buy from you. Be a leader in customer privacy by only collecting information you need, safeguarding your data from thieves, and being transparent about what you do with customer data.

Setting out to create a culture of cybersecurity is a time-consuming process, but it is important. Having a secure website can help to convert website visitors into paying customers.

Start protecting your business and customers by making sure your business’ website is secure with resources for your business from the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and leading technology companies e.g. Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, that can help get you started. 

For additional tips and resources, visit to help keep your small business thriving. Contact your Better Business Bureau by calling 216.241.7678 or emailing Interested in BBB Accreditation? Find out how you can apply for BBB Accreditation


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