The oil and gas industry is one that has been stuck in a different decade for a long time. And that is especially true when we look at their cybersecurity and virtual infrastructure as a whole. A study administered by the Houston Chronicle showed that many oil and gas companies were utilizing far outdated Windows software and not staying up to date with current technologies.

 

Implementing innovation by way of technological upgrades is a great idea, but only if you are prepared to secure it. There are millions of attempted hacking and data breach attempts that happen in this industry every year and it is imperative that you are prepared to keep your virtual data and assets secure.

 

The Vulnerabilities

Sophisticated oil and gas facilities may be teeming with sensors and automatic control options but that doesn’t automatically mean that they come with the security needed to protect them. Many of these “advances” have been put into place many years before cybersecurity was as necessary as it is now.

 

Due to lower level operating systems, many oil and gas companies become more susceptible to cyber attacks that could go undetected. A surprising number of companies still utilize Windows XP and that service is not updated anymore! And due to the lack of federal laws mandating a certain level of security, these companies have not had to take a hard look at this area in order to meet federal requirements.

 

Another vulnerability of the oil and gas industry, which is arguably equal to any other industry, is the human error factor. But within an industry that has trouble moving into the innovations that are prevalent today, these errors could cause even more damage. An opened email attachment or lost laptop have the ability to lead to a host of cyber complications.

 

The Consequences

Not having adequate cybersecurity measures in place, leads to the above vulnerabilities which can lead to some pretty dire consequences. For one, data breaches are just that, breaches. They take data that is not meant to be distributed and distributes it. Within the oil and gas industry, this can be quite detrimental due to the highly competitive nature of the industry. This is also an industry that relies on reputation, and being vulnerable to cyber attacks and large data breaches will not be great marks on your reputation. Not to mention the financial losses that you stand to endure if a hacker is able to shut off supplies.

 

We need to take a stand to protect our virtual infrastructures from cyber attacks to the best of our abilities. Leaning on the innovation that is available and staying current are just two ways that we can make progress. Next month, we will talk about how we can identify these risks and change the outcome. What can we do to further secure our industry?