Website Security Basics: Funeral Director Edition
Posted March 14, 2018
6 min read
Last time you visited a website, did you check to make sure it has the little “padlock” symbol that shows in your browser?
The reason you want to see that symbol-which represents HTTPS-is that it indicates the data you share between that website’s server and your browser is secure.
Let’s dig deeper on the topic of security and web browsing.
SSL & HTTPS: What Funeral Directors Should Know
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It’s the technology used to safeguard data that is shared when we browse the internet.
SSL provides a number of important internet browsing security benefits, explains Tim O’Connor, certified cybersecurity expert, CISSP, vCISO. “In basic terms, it does a great job of keeping evil hackers from not only seeing your private information like credit card numbers as you shop online, but also keeps evil hackers from impersonating you to your bank,” he says.
“In the other direction, SSL helps to keep you from logging into a fake web server pretending to be your bank’s web page,” says O’Connor.
When you hear “HTTPS”, it gives you more information to show that the connection you are using has followed best practices to be safe and secure.
“HTTPS/SSL are protocols that help protect web browsing and other communications between two parties. It is important to be able to verify with whom one is communicating, and ensure the communication cannot be read by anyone else listening to the conversation,” adds Phil Swaim, Security Engineer, Consulting Services at Cadre Computer Resources.
Just because a site is using SSL doesn’t mean the data you send or transmit could not be compromised. What it does show is a minimum level of security is in place currently. “There could be security flaws in the systems behind the website that would compromise that data [in the future, however.]. HTTPS/SSL only secures the communication link from user to server or web browser to web site,” clarifies Swaim.
The takeaway for funeral professionals: when using HTTPS/SSL, the data you are sharing is much less likely to be obtainable or intercepted by third parties.
In turn, that helps you keep your sensitive personal and business data private. It also cuts down on the likelihood that you will accidentally download malware. And, just as important: it’s the same for families visiting your website.
Changes with Website Browser Security Are Coming This Year
For several years now, Google has encouraged and supported HTTPS. Starting last year, websites that would collect passwords or credit credits would have a clear marking as “not secure” if they were not HTTPS.
This has helped cut down on the number of software providers and websites that were using HTTP, rather than HTTPS.
Now, Google has said they will continue to take steps to keep browsing safe and secure for those people who use Chrome. In July of 2018, Chrome will make a design change to the address bar to continue to inform people that HTTP sites are not secure.
The goal with doing so: First, Google wants people visiting these sites and using online software to become more aware that their data is not safe.
Second, they also hope this encourages businesses to move towards a secure HTTPS website-that is, if they haven’t already.
How This Can Impact Your Funeral Home Business
Understandably, there’s a large push to move all internet traffic to HTTPS so that there can be a base layer of encryption for all web-based communication.
If you need more reason for why HTTPS is essential for your funeral home, including your website, consider how often your families are sharing personal data with your website, explains Peter Richardson, Co-Founder of Consolidated Funeral Services, a CRäKN partner. “This is especially true when completing pre-planning forms or perhaps sharing any other contact information with your funeral home,” he says.
For this reason alone, it is prudent to run the website using HTTPS.
Additionally, Richardson says business owners need to keep in mind just how often data breaches occur-and how well-publicized they are when they happen. “Given this, users feel more comfortable on secure/HTTPS websites. A secure funeral home website looks more professional and trustworthy, and puts it on par with major institutions such as banks and large retailers.”
Next, recognize that HTTPS also plays a part in your business’ search engine rankings, (meaning the visibility of your site in web search engine’s results). Google and other search engines, in many cases, penalize HTTP sites. Said another way, Google puts value on HTTPS sites, and this “boost” may even increase over time to encourage web providers to continue to adopt HTTPS. By making sure your site uses what is becoming the web standard, you can be sure you’re doing your best not to hurt your own SEO (or search engine optimization) efforts now and in the future.
All in all, HTTP-only websites are also more vulnerable to snooping and modification attacks. To do your best to reduce these risks to your business, it’s best practice to move to HTTPS.
Your Action Steps
Sites that fail to follow best practices may be considered untrustworthy in the future-so it’s important your firm takes two steps now:
1. Make sure your funeral home website is using HTTPS.
Knowing that you want your website to be safe and secure for families, be sure you take immediate steps to get HTTPS. The good news is that families visiting your website will feel safer knowing information going to and from your server is encrypted.
“Some website providers secure certain website pages, such as pre-need or online shopping content. However, given the above considerations, it’s recommended that a modern funeral home website should run exclusively using HTTPS,” says Richardson. In summary, it’s more beneficial to be sure your entire website is safe and secure, not just parts of your site.
2. Make sure software or other websites you access are also using HTTPS.
Not only do you want your website to be safe and secure for families (and to prevent threats to your business), be sure your employees know the difference between secure browsing and browsing that is not secure.
When looking at any of the websites, platforms, or online software you use, be sure these properties are following best practices by using HTTPS. To do so, for now, at minimum, you can look at the web address and make sure that you see https:// - where the “s” represents secure.
“Now You Can Take It With You”
Finally, you can take your work with you-when you want-thanks to CRäKN! As the simplest way to manage your funeral home, CRäKN is a cloud-based solution, meaning you can access all your information anywhere, anytime, without having to download any software. This allows you to stay secure, remain flexible, and easily use and collaborate with CRäKN across all your devices and throughout your entire service team.
We help funeral professionals save time, prevent duplicate work & reduce errors. Focus on the family, let us focus on helping you. Request a demo today!