Cyber security is undoubtedly one of the most discussed subjects in the oil & gas industry at the moment. With the aim of understanding its role in the industry, and exploring different perspectives on this subject, GBC decided to speak to industry experts and ask for their professional outlook on the matter. Interested how different industry players view cyber security, we spoke to oil & gas operator companies, cyber security vendors and consultancies to see if their perspectives differed.
We posed the following questions to oil and gas operating companies, cyber security solution providers and consultancies:
1. Bearing in mind all the recent cyber-attacks and data leaks do you see cyber security as a challenge or even an obstacle to further development and digitalization of this rather conservative industry?
Firstly, we would like to point out, that, contrary to our expectations, all the respondents shared a very similar outlook on this matter. That is, everyone unanimously agreed, that cyber security is indeed posing a challenge or even a risk to the oil and gas industry, but none of the respondents really see it as an obstacle, per se.
2. What would be the right approach to overcome industry challenge posed by cyber security?
Nevertheless, when addressed with the next question examining ways of overcoming cyber security challenges, every respondent had their own elaborated approach and vision.
ADVISIAN also shared their outlook on cybersecurity, specifically in the downstream sector:
‘Traditionally, the enterprise environment has been adequately served with solutions that help protect systems and communications within the office and management organization. Looking more specifically at the plant, which is an area where digital transformation is currently generating compelling financial returns for operators, we typically see environments where the control and communication systems at the operating technology level are inadequately protected – and the downside risks to an attack here could be catastrophic both financially and also in terms of safety. There have been interesting recent developments in the standards environment for industrial control systems security, and also technology development that allows operators to be much more proactive in their operational plant security. If these new technologies and standards can be embraced by operators, it will avoid the otherwise strong possibility that cyber security issues will frustrate the broader valuable digital transformation that is underway in the plant environment.’ – Laith Amin, Senior Vice President Digital Enterprise, ADVISIAN
The conclusion that can be made here is that cyber security should not be seen as an obstacle to digitalization of the oil & gas sector, though it has to be considered as a priority and tackled with the right tools and solutions in place.
This important issue, along with many other aspects of digitalization of the industry, both in the upstream and downstream sectors, will be discussed at our IIoT and Digital Solutions for Oil and Gas conference, which we invite you to join on the 7-8 June in Amsterdam: