#Asia Indonesian e-commerce startups need to take visitors’ privacy seriously


They need to use SSL certificates which provide authentication when tourists visiting the country are wary of purchasing goods from a site they don’t know, says the author


The author Angela Walker is a startup advisor, e-business consultant and creative content writer with a small addiction to new technology and a broad knowledge of the Internet of Things (IoT). She came to Indonesia in 2012. 

Identity theft is an international crime and it’s one that’s difficult to prevent. For that reason, many Internet shoppers are afraid to provide personal or sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, to companies or websites they’ve never successfully used before. Identity thieves have made it difficult for websites to gain the trust of their shoppers and are preventing many sellers from providing buyers with the items they want or need.

Fortunately, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) digital certificates are becoming more popular around the globe. However, many companies and consumers don’t know much about them and how they can improve the online purchasing process.

What is a Secure Sockets Layer certificate?

SSL certificates are digital certificates that authenticate a website’s identity by encrypting the information sent to the server. SSL technology encrypts the information by scrambling the data into a format that can’t be understood by hackers and identity thieves. The information can only be returned to a decipherable format with the necessary decryption key.

SSL certificates are typically used by websites to secure login information, credit card transactions, data transfers and communications.

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Savvy online shoppers don’t just trust websites because they look professional. Companies need to gain the trust of their buyers by providing them with peace of mind that their personal information won’t be seen by anyone who can cause harm.

Consumers or website visitors are made aware that a site is SSL-secure through a number of trust indicators, including the changing of the standard ‘http’ preceding the domain name to ‘https’ (called HTTPS sites) and the activation of a small padlock icon on the browser’s address bar. Visitors can also click on the padlock icon to view the details of the SSL certificate, including which company issued the certificate and how long it will remain valid.

Are SSL certificates commonly used in Indonesia?

According to the Trustworthy Internet Movement (TIM), 26.6 per cent of the Internet’s 144,531 most visited sites were equipped with SSL certificates as of September 3, 2015.

That means the majority of the Internet’s top sites are not adequately protecting their visitors. Unfortunately, only a few Indonesian websites have caught on to the use of SSL certificates to protect their visitors as well.

Standard SSL certificates take just hours (at most a few days) and a small annual fee to acquire in many parts of the world. However, SSL certificates are not easy to acquire in Indonesia. Many website owners and organisations are unaware that such certificates exist, and once they understand the advantages of the certificates, they find them expensive and difficult to acquire.

The process of acquiring an SSL certificate in Indonesia is more complicated and tedious than in many other areas around the globe.

Although, a handful of Indonesian companies have gone out of their way to receive SSL certificates and prove that they can be trusted places to purchase services and goods online.

These companies include, but are not limited to, Tiket2, a flight comparison and booking site; Bank Mandiri, Veritrans Indonesia, and Jualo, an Indonesian marketplace startup similar to Craigslist.

Consumers shopping or providing personal information on Indonesian websites should always look for the letters ‘https’ preceding the site’s domain name.

SSL certificates are important for Indonesian companies to acquire, because consumers from Indonesia and tourists visiting the country are wary of purchasing goods from a site they are not familiar with. The SSL certificate allows the consumer to trust a website with their most-sensitive information even if they have never used the site in the past. The certificate makes it easier for websites to acquire new visitors, and ultimately, new customers.

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Misconceptions about SSL certificates

Indonesian companies aren’t the only ones opting out of the use of SSL certificates. Companies around the world are neglecting to purchase SSL certificates because they fear the cost is too high. Others assume the response time of an HTTPS site will be slower and that each site needs a separate IP address.

However, the cost of an SSL certificate is much more affordable than the costs associated with a security breach. Additionally, most certificate providers now offer unlimited server licenses, so companies can apply a number of certificates to different domain names hosted on one IP address. HTTPS sites also have unbelievably quick response times of 100 milliseconds or less.

Organisations considering purchasing an SSL certificate should check a number of issuing companies to compare prices and services. Symantec, GlobalSign and GoDaddy are all trusted SSL certificate providers that can help you through the process of securing your site.

Security breaches happen, be prepared

Most companies (and consumers) have heard about security breaches but have not been directly affected by them. However, hackers are constantly striving to be one step ahead of the companies that want to keep them at bay. The truth is that breaches happen more often than most companies expect, and they can be extremely harmful to them and their consumers.

Trustwave, a company that aids businesses in fighting cybercrime, released its 2015 Trustwave Global Security Report to help companies and consumers understand how common cyber breaches really are.

Trustwave investigated 574 separate data compromises that happened across 15 countries in 2014.

As much as 43 per cent of the investigations were within the retail industry, 13 per cent in food and beverage, and 12 per cent in hospitality. About 42 per cent of the investigations were of e-commerce breaches and 28 per cent of the breaches resulted from weak remote access security. Forty-nine per cent of the investigations involved the theft of cardholder data and personally identifiable information.

An astonishing 81 per cent of the victims did not detect the security breaches themselves. The report also showed that the median length of a breach, from first intrusion to its containment, lasted 111 days. Companies took a median of 88 days to detect the breaches.

That means a multitude of a company’s customers could be affected before the breach is even identified, and those customers are not likely to return after such a damaging and stressful occurrence.

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The bottom line

As the Internet as a shopping tool becomes more popular and security breaches become more common, consumers are beginning to search solely for HTTPS sites. It is predicted that SSL certificates will become a digital item that consumers demand to see before purchasing goods or services online. Ultimately, companies currently equipped with SSL certificates have a head-start in the race to acquire consumer trust online.

The views expressed here are of the author’s, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them. e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested in sharing your point of view, please send us an email at writers[at]e27[dot]co

Image Credit: Benoit Daoust/Shutterstock

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