Covid-19 has propelled businesses across all sectors to not only focus on being the best in the world, but on being the best for the world. This means that they must maintain their “social licenses to operate” – with public trust as their currency.

According to cybersecurity expert and Business Analyst at LAWTrust Information Security Solutions, Riaan de Villiers, as a result of increased activity in eLearning, ecommerce and remote operations of organisations, the amount of cyber-attacks across all the major industries has increased.

For companies with online operations, a research article published by the Harvard Business Review (HBR) revealed that trust is essential to forming an intention to make a purchase. This highlights the need to integrate security into the customer’s experience – a critical component of customer decision making and trust building.

To ensure that the customers trust e-commerce platforms, business owners must develop an understanding of trust safeguards at their disposal. One such safeguard is Transport Layer Security (TLS) – a cryptographic protocol which provides end-to-end security for data sent between applications over the Internet.

TLS ensures that data cannot be tampered with while being transferred over the internet. This security measure uses a cryptographic method known as Keyed-hash Message Authentication Code (HMAC) to verify data integrity and authentication of message. In other words, TLS generates codes based on random characters’ association, rendering it very hard for hackers to guess or breach. Furthermore, TLS can prevent certain attacks such as Man-in-the-middle attacks.

Whenever a site is secured by TLS, it could help build trust in customers. A website that is secured with a TLS certificate will display a lock in the browser to show that the website is secured. By examining the TLS certificate protecting the website, customers can be assured that they are on the correct website and not on a malicious website impersonating the website that the customer intends to visit. Since 2020, major browsers such as Chrome have started displaying a message to customers that unsecured websites could pose a security risk.

“Maintaining that communication is kept private at all times and identifying the website owner is especially helpful to increasing trust for any business’ website. This is as trust is an essential component for customers to form the intent to make a purchase,” concludes de Villiers.