The Other Side of Automation for Oil and Gas

By DirectorCorps

an oil rig

May 6, 2019 Energy Cyber

The “internet of things” has infiltrated our lives, both personal and professional. In the oil and gas industry, this approach has provided advanced analytics, predictive maintenance and real-time monitoring of infrastructure, to name a few advances cited by Alix Partners in its report on emerging cybersecurity risks in oil and gas. In an industry with a multitude of geographic concerns, including some offshore, and a need to be constantly connected to pipelines, the internet of things has aided oil and gas, and the devices are growing.

Alix Partners said there were 15.41 billion devices connected worldwide three years ago. In 2018, there were 23.14 billion devices installed; that will grow to more than 75 billion by 2025.

With greater interconnectivity comes greater financial, reputational and operational risks. “While the use of IoT devices within industry are growing exponentially, for all the cost cutting and strategic benefits they provide, these devices, and their connections to the internet, are not inherently secure,” states Alix Partners in its report.

The report also points out that the idea of using devices that are “future-proof” from breaches is a myth. Thankfully, the report also offers a solution: “The solution is to plan ahead, to consider security throughout the design, and to monitor in real time (security-by-design and defense-in-depth).”

And of course, don’t expect Alexa or Siri to let you know if there’s been a breach.