Despite the significant and growing threat of cyberattacks oil and gas producers face, there is a persistent lack of awareness and understanding of the vulnerabilities present in the industrial control systems used for energy production and distribution operations. A panel of experts discussed the potential cybersecurity risks companies face from malicious actors, as well as risk mitigation strategies and emerging security standards at the 2016 Offshore Technology Conference.
The business networks and technological systems that make up data-driven oil fields are susceptible to outside attacks and potential failures. As cyberattackers find ways to exploit the vulnerabilities in present security systems, the industry continues to develop more robust cybersecurity controls to protect its assets. It is important to implement these controls early in the project life cycle, an expert said during a Society of Petroleum Engineers webinar.
There is a huge difference between simply laying down guidelines and actively pursuing a culture of safety. Risks need to be analyzed and mapped in the greatest possible detail and appropriate mitigation measures must be taken. However, safety management, monitoring, and control should not be added as an afterthought. These elements are just as important as the measures themselves.