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How to protect your IR website from cyber threats

Your Investor Relations (IR) website is the single most trusted source of information about your brand and value proposition. A single data breach can destroy any faith investors have in your company and tank your performance.

While your website has many functions in your IR strategy, cybersecurity is just as important as design, content, and analytics. That’s why IR partners such as Q4 deliver enterprise-grade security with every site. World-class infrastructure ensures consistent and secure communications with the capital markets.

Cybersecurity risks are an ongoing reality for your IR strategy

According to the 2022 Data Breach Report from the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), the number of breaches hit a whopping 1,802 compromises last year, exposing more than 422.1 million people and their information.

While these statistics underscore a banner year for cyber attacks, experts don’t believe this is an anomaly. Most expect this trend will continue each year, making cybersecurity an ongoing target for IPOs and public companies.

What is the cost of a cyber attack?

A cyber attack can have a devastating impact on your bottom line if it exposes customer data. How much it costs depends on the number of people whose personal information is exposed.

In 2017, the credit bureau Equifax announced it suffered a data breach that compromised the personal data of 147 million customers. It has agreed to pay a settlement of $575 million — possibly as much as $700 million — to those affected by the breach.

Besides levelling a hefty fine, a data breach may also take a swing at your reputation. Research shows that as consumer confidence dwindles, so does your stock price. In fact, the average compromised company saw its share prices fall -3.5% within 110 days of the breach.

Unfortunately, investors have a long memory. Here’s how much the average share price fell over time:

After 1 Year: -8.6%

After 2 Years: -11.3%

After 3 Years: -15.6%

How can you protect your IR website from cyber attacks?

First and foremost, you need to partner with an experienced IR firm that prioritizes cybersecurity. Your choice of partner will ensure your site is built according to the latest security standards to maximize privacy and compliance while minimizing risk.

The latest IR sites should come with these security standards.

  • Certification: A third-party organization should audit your IR partner to check that its technical infrastructure and data-handling processes pass muster. Expect no less than SOC 2 Type II certification and ISO (International Organization of Standards) certification. This ensures its privacy laws and security protocols follow best practices set by global authorities.
  • Audits and Tests: Internal audits are another way an IR partner can confirm its technology is secure against attacks. These audits should regularly test security controls to see if and when they can improve their design. Such audits may include penetration tests and compliance audits.
  • Encryption: No website is complete without methods of encrypting all data at rest and in transit. The best IR firm relies on cipher suites such as TLS 1.2 protocols, AES256 encryption, and SHA256 signatures whenever possible.

The takeaway:

A data breach can have devastating, long-lasting consequences for your company. To protect your brand, budget, and performance on the Street, you need to take the appropriate measures to safeguard your IR site.

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