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What does the switch from HTTP to HTTPS mean for startups?

Wednesday, 13 August 2014 | By Kye White

The move from HTTP to HTTPS won’t have a dramatic impact on startups just yet, according to Online Store Guys’ strategy director Scott Kilmartin, and Pocketbook co-founder Alvin Singh.


Last week Google confirmed that it’s been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in the companies search algorithms.


The company says after seeing positive results from those tests, it’s starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal.


While it’s only a weak ranking signal for the time being, Google may decide to strengthen it because the company would like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS.


StartupSmart asked Singh and Kilmartin their opinions on Google’s HTTPS push.


Scott Kilmartin, strategy director, Online Store Guys:


“The washup is that business cannot sit idle with their website if they want to improve user experience and be rewarded for staying with current online technology.”


“On a practical level for existing sites, a couple of lines of code need to be written to make the change over.


“It may have an impact on the type of SSL certificate required, we’ll know in the next few weeks when Google gives full details. Some sites may need new certificates.”


Alvin Singh, founder, Pocketbook:

“The general consensus among the SEO community is that it won’t have a big effect on SEO rankings – with a big YET,” Singh says.


“Google have said that this is just the start and we can be sure that they will start ratcheting this up going forward – similar to a grace period for the wider internet.


“HTTPS has been around since the early days of the internet it is only really now that there has been a large push towards SSL everywhere. It is interesting to look at what is driving this change – undoubtedly for the good of all.


“There has been a heightened awareness and sensitivity towards security breaches – as more and more data (and our lives) move online, there has been an increasingly greater urgency to protect that data.


“Coupled with this has been the increased activity from all internet and cloud companies world-wide in the post-Snowden era to further secure their data and infrastructure from threats not only from hackers, but also from government associated entities.


“We absolutely support this move and in our case, from day 0 we started out on SSL and the highest strength SSL which requires further verification steps. While SSL is about security, it is also about assurance and a mark of trust. It's about knowing that your data hasn't been seen or manipulated by anyone on the way to its intended destination.


“It also isn't the be all and end all of security, but it is certainly an absolute requirement for any security architecture to have any credibility. With today’s abundance of computing power and services such as CloudFlare making SSL freely and easily available to all, there aren't any excuses left for not being on SSL.”