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INSIGHTS

What trends are next for oil and gas security?

What trends are next for oil and gas security?
Despite being a volatile year for the oil and gas industry, it is keeping up with security investments as a result of increasing threats. To keep up with rising company expectations, security providers and integrators need to adapt to change, whether it be via incorporating more trending technology or better expertise in cybersecurity.
Despite being a volatile year for the oil and gas industry, it is keeping up with security investments as a result of increasing threats. To keep up with rising company expectations, security providers and integrators need to adapt to change, whether it be via incorporating more trending technology or better expertise in cybersecurity. 

Pushing Beyond Security Uses
Video surveillance cameras are a key component in any security system, including for oil and gas; however, like in other industries, being able to use cameras for more than security is proving to be a strong selling point.

“We continue to work with our customers to prove the business case for visual monitoring beyond security. For example, using the system for remote site inspections to reduce routine well site visits, and managing contractor performance accountability,” said Jeremy Bernard, Director of Marketing and Business Development at Osprey Informatics. “We are also investing in R&D to make our system even more useful and customizable for users across the organization, from the head of security to the oilfield operator. Greater engagement with a range of user groups makes the system more valuable and reduces customer churn.”

Keeping Up With Trends
The Internet of Things (IoT) has been a popular topic in the last few years across industries, as has big data and the cloud. In security applications, these trends have been slower to adopt due to high cost and privacy concerns. However, as costs have gone down and privacy concerns have been better addressed, adoption has increased.

“The industrial IoT is a hot topic right now, as customers look to deploy remote sensors to manage operations more efficiently,” said Bernard. “We see visual monitoring as a key component of oil and gas IoT going forward, providing an intuitive visual layer on top of data from other sensors and systems. We also see computer vision as an important emerging technology for efficiently analyzing assets and activities, and are using computer vision in our customer solutions today.”

Some studies estimate that the oil and gas sector would need to spend $2 billion on cybersecurity by 2018 in order to protect itself from attacks. 

Russell Ost, Vertical Market Manager for Global Oil and Gas at Pelco by Schneider Electric, believes that it is important for companies to take steps to not only secure the outlying perimeter of a facility, but also the infrastructure within using advanced video surveillance and security intelligence solutions. These solutions could enable organizations to prevent, respond to and investigate security incidents more quickly and efficiently.

Another trend to consider, according to Ost, is analyzing critical data from surveillance and security platforms. This would allow users to proactively detect threats or anomalies, while identifying potential vulnerabilities. “All of this combines to offer a more proactive look at security instead of a typical reactive approach. Correlating data from multiple systems allows us to design intelligence into the system.”

Ost believes that it is important for companies to take steps to not only secure the outlying perimeter of a facility, but also the infrastructure within using advanced video surveillance and security intelligence solutions.

Amit Mattatia, President and CEO of Opgal Optronic Industries, noted a spike in demand for highly sensitive, uncooled long-range thermal imaging systems for detection of threats to both facilities and pipelines; uncooled thermal sensors replace expensive high-maintenance cooled sensors. “The industry is looking for maintenance-free technologies that cover larger areas, and at a lower cost,” he said. Due to their economic costs and high performance in both day and night, few uncooled thermal sensors could replace multiple regular CCD cameras.

Need for Better Cybersecurity
Securing critical infrastructure such as oil and gas with security equipment is only one layer of a fully secured facility. In an age where everything is connected, keeping networks secured is paramount. A report by MarketsandMarkets noted that a growth in high-profile cyberattacks is driving the oil and gas security and service market. But is the oil and gas industry really ready for hackers?

Former Chief of the National Security Agency, General Keith Alexander, warned that electric grids, oil refineries and power plants are major targets for cyberattacks. Some studies estimate that the oil and gas sector would need to spend $2 billion on cybersecurity by 2018 in order to protect itself from attacks.

However, some believe that the importance of cybersecurity in the oil and gas industry has fallen on deaf ears. “Cybersecurity in oil and gas has to look a lot like safety. Oil and gas companies have a much better grip on safety than on cyber. That’s because most companies don’t treat cyber like they do safety,” said Charles Drobny, President and CEO of Globalogix. “Companies simply refuse to acknowledge the risk and vulnerabilities. Internal dialogues were dominated by corporate IT staff who generally maintained that their brick-and-mortar protected and fire-walled networks were safe.”

Drobny expects that nothing much will be done to implement a top to bottom, bottom up, or top down comprehensive cyber culture in oil and gas as an adequate defense. He believes that it won’t be until a major or super major oil and gas company suffers a significant ransomware attack before there is more focus on cybersecurity.


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