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Does your law  rm’s website address start with http:// or https://?  e s in a web
address means that it is a secure site. Stated otherwise, Internet searchers who review a law  rm website that starts with https can be assured that it is the genuine lo- cation of a  rm’s online presence and not a fake or spoofed site that is attempting to imitate a  rm’s web page, likely for nefarious pur- poses. As explained further below, there are several very important reasons to make your  rm’s web- site secure, and the conversion process is not too complicated.
 e acronym http stands for hy- pertext transfer protocol. In sim- ple terms, these are the standards or procedures which govern In- ternet communications between computer servers and Internet browsers.  e addition of an s in https signals and guarantees that communications between a browser and a website are en- crypted. Everyday examples you may encounter that employ https include online banking portals and many e-commerce websites.
 ere are several very impor- tant reasons to migrate your law  rm website from http to https.  e  rst is increased security. Although you should still install other website security tools such as anti-virus so ware or  rewalls, using https makes it much more di cult for hackers to decrypt In- ternet communications between users and your website.
 e second reason is enhanced brand perception. If you were not already aware, search engines such as Google are starting to mark http-only website URLs as “not se- cure” in the Chrome browser. In- asmuch as Chrome enjoys a mar- ket share of at least 56% among Internet browsers, according to, “Browser wars 2018: Microso  Edge falls behind ... Internet Ex- plorer,” it is likely that your cli- ents and potential clients will use Chrome to  nd and search your law  rm’s website. Migrating to https will thus prevent them from seeing the phrase “not secure” in
ATTORNEY AT LAW MAGAZINE · OHIO · VOL. 5 NO. 2 8
the address line for your  rm and wondering whether your website, or worse yet-your law  rm, is sus- pect. Instead, they will see a pad- lock icon  that will lend cred- ibility to your website and convey the message that you respect us- ers’ privacy and security.
A lesser-known reason to con- vert from http to https is that Google is giving a slight priority to https websites in search result rankings. Experts di er about the actual boost https websites re- ceive, but Internet search results can o en be so large that every little bit can enhance your SEO (search engine optimization) and help make your website more vis- ible to searchers.
To employ the https protocol and make your website secure, you will need to take several steps. First, you will need to purchase a Certi cate for use with SSL (Secure Socket Layers) or TSL (Transport Layer Security) protocols.  ese are sometimes referred to as SSL Certi cates or TSL Certi cates, and one can be purchased from the domain name provider you use to register your website ad- dress.  e next two steps involve activating and installing your new Certi cate on your web server, i.e., the computer that hosts your web- site. Next, you will need to change all of your  rm’s web pages from http to https.  is step can o en be performed once, or globally, for all of your http pages, similar to the replace feature in a word pro- cessing program. Finally, you will need to redirect all incoming In- ternet requests that are looking for your old http pages to their new https equivalents.  e instruc- tions are called SEO 301 redirects. Although this may not be a totally DIY project, with a little technical assistance you can accomplish it all in a few days, including a little wait time between steps.
KATHLEEN M. DUGAN SERVES AS THE LIBRARIAN AND CHIEF ADMIN- ISTRATOR OF THE CLEVELAND LAW LIBRARY IN THE CUYAHOGA COUNTY COURTHOUSE. SHE IS BOTH A LI- CENSED OHIO ATTORNEY AND PRO- FESSIONAL LIBRARIAN.
Enhance Your Law Firm Website with HTTPS
for Security
BY KATHLEEN M. DUGAN


































































































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