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Keeping financial data secure: Best practices for investor relations websites

A rash of incidents in recent financial quarters has seen public companies (including Disney, Microsoft and others) prematurely disclosing their earnings information — from news posting early to their website, to lags between the time of distribution and posting, to files containing material information made available online ahead of time. With the rising importance of investor relations websites as recognized communications channels, it’s only getting worse. In addition to individual snoopers, news agencies and market intelligence firms now have automated crawlers that scour corporate IR sites during earnings season, looking for news ahead of an official announcement or posting.

Many of these incidents have to do with a content management system (CMS) publishing tool being used incorrectly, or a client who is self-publishing content on their own website without the assistance of a CMS tool. (If used correctly, it should be noted, CMS software provides infinitely more safeguards and conveniences than do-it-yourself publishing and posting of material news.)

These incidents of premature disclosure have highlighted the need for security and careful coordination in the processes and systems that companies use to maintain and update their IR websites. Following are some best practices and recommended tips to help you keep your news secure, and ensure that it’s only made public at the appropriate time.

By using these tips and best practices, rest assured that you have taken the necessary steps to safeguard your information and maintain as much control over its disclosure as possible. (Marketwire’s EasySuite 2.0 [1] solution can help you create and maintain a secure website that includes the features mentioned, and more. Contact us for information on how it can help you.) Remember: It’s not just your share price that can be affected in the event of premature disclosure of material information. It can also substantially impact your reputation with investors and the market, as well.

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