The Call for Cybersecurity in the Oil and Gas Industry

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Digital technology is everywhere throughout industrial sectors like manufacturing and oil and gas. These new digital technologies have brought incredible applications to help streamline business and improve efficiency across the board. With all these benefits, the fact remains cybersecurity is not taken seriously enough. Cybersecurity must be treated as an essential part of the digital web in order to keep employees safe, private data secure and reduce downtime. Furthermore when it comes to oil and gas operations, there are additional threats a cyber attack can pose, not only for the company but for surrounding communities and the environment as a whole.

Oil and gas companies, whether they are refineries or exploratory operations can stand to gain a lot from new technology like the Industrial Internet of Things. Real-time analytics, alerts and improved communication are all ways these businesses can benefit. But having this network of connected devices, sensors and employees can have adverse effects as well. Oil and gas infrastructure are “lucrative targets” for individuals looking to perform industrial espionage, steal intellectual property or cause critical damage to our nation’s infrastructure and environment.

Cybersecurity is a growing concern as connectivity continues to outpace technology developers ability to secure their products. When it comes to an industry like oil, there are so many ways for these businesses to benefit and the technology is still so new, decision makers jump at the opportunity to improve. However, this eagerness to take part in the digital revolution will often leave businesses open to prying eyes.

The Boston Consulting Group released a report and it mentions that the oil and gas industry’s value chain “not only offers many potential entry points for an attack but also leaves the industry vulnerable to multiple types of attack. Upstream data is the most vulnerable to an attack, due to data often being transmitted from old or unsecured equipment and without standard protocols or security precautions.”

If cyber criminals infiltrate a business’s network they may be able to wreak havoc on safety protocols. They could possibly feed incorrect data to cover up an issue or create false indicators alerting staff to a non-existent problem. This could cost businesses money and time or in the case of covering up safety alerts, can lead to leaks or worse. It can put employees lives, an entire facility or even the surrounding communities at risk. Knowing where the danger lies is the first step in protecting a business from these criminals.

There are a few simple ways an oil and gas company can protect themselves from cyber threats but it all begins with understanding the risks. Expressing to staff the dangers that are out there and offering the best practices on how to protect their own networks will be instrumental in thwarting off possible cyber breaches. It is also extremely important to ensure all control systems in a facility are updated and secure. These are just a few ways to help reduce the chance of a business falling to a cyber attack, but small improvements can have a lasting impact. Many businesses have started purchasing Cyber liability insurance to make sure every aspect of the business is secure, saving them a headache in the future.

For more tips on how to stay cyber secure, check out: Tips To Keep Manufacturer’s Protected From Cyber Attacks