By David Harrison

The Federal Reserve still needs to improve how it handles sensitive information, according to a report Tuesday from the central bank's Office of the Inspector General.

The Fed's independent watchdog said the central bank could do more to restrict sensitive information internally. The agency could also set up agencywide plan to protect sensitive information and to regularly ensure that such information is well-protected. The inspector general also recommended a plan to make sure lost equipment such as laptop computers and cellphones are reported and to update information security training programs.

The report is required under a 2014 information security law requiring all agency inspectors general to perform an annual audit.

Overall, the audit found the Fed had made progress in its efforts to beef up information security.

The Fed has had some high-profile early releases of sensitive information recently. In June 2015, a confidential staff economic forecast was posted on the agency's website ahead of its scheduled release.

In three other instances, information under embargo was inadvertently released early to news organizations.

Write to David Harrison at david.harrison@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 15, 2016 15:51 ET (20:51 GMT)

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