Technology or digital solutions are changing the way industries operate in today’s world. Oil and gas industry is not an exception to the disruption that is coming with digitization. This is exposing the hydrocarbon and energy industry to cyber attacks. In this regard, today I would like to understand; what is cyber security in oil and gas industry?
This is a question that has bothered me for a while. Therefore, I took sometime over the weekend to research and find out what cyber security in oil or gas is, and how it works.
As mentioned above, technology is powerful leverage. Use of technology in oil and gas has optimised and improved productivity. At the same time, it has reduced costs for the oil and gas industry.
However, the increased use of technology and digital solutions is exposing the industry to cyber security breaches. This cyber breach has the potential to bring down a company’s operations.
You can lose money, reputation and critically, you can lose your data.
Now, let us define what cyber security in oil and gas means
What is Cyber Security in Oil and Gas Industry
Cyber security in oil and gas industry is the collective methods, technologies and processes that will help you to protect your confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer systems, data or networks against cyber attacks or unauthorized access.
In the oil and gas industry, cyber security can be described as the practice of defending computers, servers, mobile devices, electronic systems, networks, and data from malicious attacks.
You can also call it information technology security or electronic information security in the oil and gas industry.
What is the Role of Cyber Security in Oil and Gas Sector?
In the oil and gas industry, the risk of losing data or information is high in the current world of digital solutions and internet of things (IoT).
This means that an oil and gas company should invest in cyber security personnel or experts. These are the people who should ensure that the systems are working correctly and protected from cyber attacks or hacking.
The role of cyber security in oil and gas industry include;
- Protecting IT infrastructure, devices, networks and data.
- Preventing data breaches, monitoring and reacting to attacks.
How Cyber Security in Oil and Gas Industry Works
As we have seen, cyber security in oil and gas is meant to protect business in the industry from external and internal threats. This protects IT network as well as other oil and gas assets.
Cyber security in oil and gas industry is the process of ensuring that computer systems, networks, sensitive data and programs are protected from digital attacks.
When it comes to breaches, most of the cyber attacks are designed to access, change or destroy information in your organization.
In order to reduce or minimize the risks, cyber security experts in the oil and gas industry use methods, technologies and processes to secure your systems.
How Does Cyber Security Work in Oil and Gas Industry
This is what I have found out from my research on this topic.
Cyber security is usually designed to provide several or multiple layers of protection across all of the computers, networks and programs used in an oil and gas company. This would include companies in the entire oil and gas value chain.
A seamless working environment is highly advised.
This means that the oil and gas business, staff members, processes and technology should work together. This would ensure that they create a unified defence against cyber attacks.
As a business leader, you will know that your cyber security system is working well if it can detect, investigate, and resolve cyber vulnerabilities early and quickly.
This is best when done before the vulnerabilities are exploited by cyber attackers or by a malicious software.
You internal or external cyber security experts should advise you on the best solutions to prevent against cyber attacks.
5 Types of Cyber Security in Oil and Gas Industry
There are several types of cyber security in the oil and gas industry. I would argue that if you are keen to protect your business from cyber attacks, you should be aware of them
- Application cyber security.
- Data cyber security.
- Network cyber security.
- Mobile cyber security.
- Cloud cyber security in oil and gas sector.
If you do not take care of the above, you can have cyber vulnerabilities that would harm your oil and gas business in the short and long term.
Types of Cyber Security in Oil and Gas Sector
Let us now look further into the types of cyber security concern as we have listed above.
This is a type of cyber security in the oil and gas industry that involves implementation of various defences within an oil and gas business software and services.
The idea here is to ensure that you protect your business against a range of different threats.
You should ensure that the design of your applications is secure to reduce unauthorized access and modifications.
Data Security in Oil and Gas.
In oil and gas, data is one of the most important assets besides the other hard assets. It can sometimes be the difference between success and failure of a business.
Data security in the oil and gas industry involves implementing a strong data storage system.
Your data storage system should be designed to secure information while you are storing it and also when it is in transit.
Network Cyber Security
Network security basically focuses on protecting an oil and gas business from both external and internal threats.
This involves implementing hardware and software systems that are specifically designed to protect the company’s business network.
If you do this well, you will be able to protect your network and infrastructure from being misused, disrupted and also stopping any unauthorized threats.
Mobile Cyber Security.
We live in an inter-connected world where devices such as mobile phones, laptops and tablets are used on a daily basis. I am sure that in your business or company you do use these tools.
If yes, then you should consider having or implementing mobile security measures to protect the information that is stored on those devices.
This is important because threats are everywhere and hackers might be trying to gain access into your data at this right moment.
Cloud Cyber Security in Oil and Gas Industry
Companies continue to develop or utilize new applications in or migrate existing applications to cloud-based services.
In this regard, an organization should be fully informed of the risks involved in cloud technologies.
Cloud cyber security in the oil and gas industry helps you to manage the risks that might expose you to commercial, financial, technical, legal and compliance risks that come with using cloud service providers.
You will actually find that most cloud applications and systems such as Google, Microsoft and AWS use cloud security measures to protect users against cyber threats.
Why is Cyber Security Important
Cyber security is important because it includes everything that protects your sensitive data, information and intellectual property among others.
This protection is critical to ensure you mitigate against theft and damages.
What are the Top Risks in the Oil and Gas Industry
As an investor or business leader in the oil and gas industry, there are a number of risks that you will be exposed to. It is important that you know and be aware of them.
This allows you to create a risk management mitigation plan.
While some risks are general, you will also face more concentrated risks that affect oil and gas industry.
As part of my research for this article, I will look into the biggest risks in the oil and gas industry. These are the risk you will face as an oil and gas business leader.
7 of the Biggest Risks in the Oil and Gas Industry
The top risks in the oil and gas industry include;
- Cyber Security Risks
- Political Risk.
- Geological Risk.
- Price Risk.
- Supply and Demand Risks.
- Cost Risks.
- Outlier Risks
In conclusion, it is important to note that as the number of cyber attacks increase in the oil and gas industry, cyber security cannot be ignored.
Oil and gas companies should have proper cyber security measures in place to protect against intrusion. At the same time, you should ensure you have procedures in place to continuously check and improve the already deployed security solutions.
A great way to look into this is by having a risk mitigation plan or procedure in the advent of a cyber attack. Do you have one already?
If not, you are really risking my friend.
Having a mature cyber security solution is an important foundation that can help you realize the benefits of digitization in the oil and gas industry.
As the oil and gas industry adopts the Industry 4.0 settings, data and data analytics is very important. This means that business leaders must learn how to manage risks associated with cyber security.
Industrial devices are being connected at all points of the asset life cycle. This includes legacy assets that were not designed with security in mind to assets within green field projects that include security considerations.
This leads to an increased need and focus on cyber security required to utilize the full capabilities of the digital assets and processes.