With consumer security becoming highlighted constantly in the wave of online account phishing attacks, consumers becoming further concerned their communications could be compromised, and the PR message that consumers need to “watch what they are doing online” failing to modify consumer behavior on a wide scale, the tide in secure communications is turning.
In January 2010, Google began offering secure authentication access for its search engine. For the first time in the competitive search market, security in searches became a reality. Google had already offered HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) support through Gmail, which major email player Hotmail added only in November. Google has also led the way in online collaborative office work through Google Docs, which uses HTTPS to protect confidential materials. Yahoo! Email in the United States has yet to join the bandwagon, which it ought to as allowing consumer data to flow freely around public wireless hotspots is not preferable, and consumers have been continually gaining awareness about privacy and security.
Facebook, arguably now the world’s most popular website with over 500 million users, has also been using Yahoo!’s strategy in the United States only to allow HTTPS for logging in, to protect the password. However, and with respect to Privacy Day that passed only yesterday, Facebook has set the stage for HTTPS to become the norm by beginning its roll out of full HTTPS support throughout the Facebook website. This is data protection compliance at its fullest, as it ensures the consumer is obtaining the highest amount of security based on current consumer and professional standards.
Most e-commerce businesses, including financial services, have an obligation to implement HTTPS onto their websites, as consumer and client information must be kept fully confidential. With Facebook’s induction into the secure world, commerce has stepped past the tipping point in security, and any company looking to enterprise today cannot only consider security in project management, it must implement that security as well. This has always been the case for e-commerce, financial services, health services, and generally any service intended to be confidential, but it is clear the the intention today is moving towards guaranteed confidentiality throughout the Internet.