Facilities Managers Ask “What’s the Difference Between HTTP & HTTPS?”
As you know, facilities managers must be adept at numerous aspects of the corporate world. They are typically asked to be knowledgeable about a vast amount of information, even if it is not all in their strike zone. Therefore, expansion of knowledge and skills is what sets apart the good from the great. Especially in the IT department, which is more vital than ever, the facilities manager must have a solid understanding of how the system operates, what needs to be added, changed, or upgraded to increase speed and capabilities and the strength of the security of the overall system. Two of the key aspects for server and browser interaction is speed and security. Therefore, do you choose HTTP or HTTPS for your company’s address? Let’s look at what each of these data transfer systems can do.
What Type of Website are You Managing?
To begin, HTTP stands for hypertext transfer protocol. This is the method in which servers send and receive data from web browsers, such as Chrome, Firefox, or Explorer. The added s in HTTPS denotes an additional security feature, which keeps third parties from seeing what data is being transferred. This can be particularly important for websites that interact with the users, for entering passwords or logins, viewing and managing bank records and accounts, or for corporate websites, which may house valuable information about the company. Obviously, iOffice's FM software portal is HTTPS. But, if your website is not in need of added security or has no links or access to sensitive information, and requires little or no interaction with individual accounts, HTTP will work just fine.
How is Data Transferred?
HTTP was designed to send data to web browsers. With normal HTTP, the data is sent quickly and directly to and from the servers and browsers and there is no hiding the nature of the data. This is the equivalent of sending a postcard in the mail, as anyone can technically see what you are sending. But, if you aren’t worried about the content of the “postcard” compromising your organization or computing systems, then this system is easy and universal.
If you do require more security, though, HTTPS offers you the added piece of mind, through the method of encrypting the data in your message. HTTPS differentiates one sender and receiver from another. Now you’re sending a secured letter, which must be signed for, upon receipt. HTTPS encrypts, or creates a mathematical algorithm, which blocks third party eavesdropping. HTTPS uses SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or TLS (Transport Layer Security) as a method for encoding or encrypting the data being sent. These security methods or protocols, commonly called certificates, are sent first to the browser or server to ensure that the connection is with the intended and trusted party. After the connection is deemed secure, the data is sent.
With so many more hoops to jump through for HTTPS links, such as the encrypting and decrypting of the data, there can be added processes being performed by your server, which may pose a bit of a strain on the overall system. Sometimes this means a slow-down in the page loading process. Having a dedicated IP address, adequate computing resources and an authorized SSL or TLS certificate in place can negate this. And, any customers, employees or executives, who are being asked to enter secure information, will not mind the few extra seconds of loading time as long as they have greater piece of mind knowing the HTTPS link is protected and secure.
Overall, the necessity to maintain secure information over the Internet is one of the biggest security issues we face in the 21st century. And, although there are still numerous web pages and sites that are not requiring your personal information to navigate and interact, there are even more than ever which do require a log in or password to conduct business. One of the keys to advancing customer support and interaction is to try to personalize the interaction with the users. Secure links help to facilitate this trust through interaction, which is valued by the modern Internet operator.