Why Web Encryption Makes Sense For Your Firm
Security is paramount for law firm websites. If firms wish to attract and retain quality clients, they must be able to ensure that all interactions are adequately protected. Many are already aware of government’s increased propensity to monitor online communications, but private parties can present a significant threat to confidential information shared via the Internet.

With the legal industry moving to offer more comprehensive online services, securing sensitive information is vital. Fortunately, a number of recent innovations give law firms greater ability to secure their websites than ever before. Let’s examine a couple important developments.

Advantages Of HTTPS

While it may seem minutely important to alter your website’s address from http:// to https://, making this change means that any and all information sent from, and received by, your website will be encrypted. The change essentially gives your website an encryption certificate that signals the site’s legitimacy and provides important information pertaining to how your connection to the site is secured.

All https:// sites will be differentiated by a small lock symbol in your web browser. When using Firefox or Chrome browsers, the lock will be located to the left of the web address. In Internet Explorer, the lock is located at the end of the URL. Clicking on the lock will display relevant information about the site’s security.

Furthermore, encryption built into any site with an https:// in its URL will prevent you from landing on a site that has an issue with its’ certificate. Instead of connecting to a potentially insecure site, your web browser will display a warning message recommending that you discontinue attempts to connect to that site.

No Reason Law Firms Shouldn’t Adopt HTTPS

In the past, there have been a few concerns surrounding whether or not it behooves law firms to turn on website encryption. Some believe encryption may not be necessary and that adopting https:// would slow down a website’s performance. The cost of implementation has also been an obstacle for many firms.

First off, any website that sends or receives any type of sensitive, legal information has a strong case for adopting HTTPS encryption. The benefits of HTTPS go beyond securing financial transactions and ensuring operational security, however. In the last few years Google has been considering HTTPS encryption as a factor in ranking individual sites in search results.

According to Google Webmaster Central, “For now [an encrypted connection is] only a very lightweight signal ... while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”

Removing Obstacles To Encryption

The cost of encryption has also decreased recently, while ease of implementation has improved. John McAfee’s creation of BlackCert SSL, a company dedicated to selling encryption certificates at a lower price, essentially initiated a price war that has served to significantly lower costs of encrypting a website.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has also been working to make website encryption easier and cheaper. The foundation’s Let’s Encrypt campaign offers a free certificate project that allows users to “self-serve” by providing an easy-to-use installer that guides the user through the certificate installation process.

It appears that most websites are moving towards encryption for traffic that was previously free-flowing, and there appears to be little reason for law firms to hesitate when deciding whether or not to participate in this transition to a more secure Internet.

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Posted by: DSR
Monday, February 1, 2016
Tag: Legal
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