•   Jason Simons
  •   Feb 22, 2020

IT Security and Innovation in the Oil & Gas Industry

Digital transformation may be a billion-dollar digital opportunity for oil companies if potential security risks are neutralized.

Working in the oil and gas industry is a bit like walking a tightrope. When industry average net margins hover at 6.7%, one lousy quarter can wipe out profits for the year. There are consistent pressures in the energy commodity markets and a constant push to adopt even more lean manufacturing processes in oilfield operations. In today’s business climate, everything must work efficiently.

Innovation In The Oil and Gas Industry

Oil and Gas IT Consultants In Texas

Companies also must consistently invest in innovation to move forward. Increasingly, this means cloud-based infrastructure to take advantage of emerging tools, such as AI and Machine Learning, and the digital transformation of entire organizations. The IT world is evolving rapidly, and it’s crucial to businesses in competitive industries to continue to grow as well. Business consulting firm McKinsey reports this digital transformation represents a billion-dollar digital opportunity for oil companies.

The oil and gas industry can benefit significantly from IT solutions that can bring together the widespread and complex production chains. From mining to transportation to refining and distribution, there needs to be robust tools to track and monitor operations. At the same time, cyberattacks on oil and gas companies are increasing.

“The energy sector remains a key target of nation-state cyber intrusions, supply chain attacks, economic espionage efforts,” said William Evanina, Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center.

A recent cyber-attack aimed at Mexico’s Pemex used ransomware started encrypting files, denying access to company workers, and demanding millions to stop. The company spent weeks trying to recover from the attack even though the company said it affected less than 5% of its computers.

Despite these concerns, working with the right technology partner, it is possible to build a scalable, cloud-based infrastructure that safeguards data and still allows for innovation.

Balancing Innovation and Cybersecurity

As more devices get connected to networks and the cloud to monitor performance and manage equipment, operations technology can also be an intrusion point. Emerging tech, such as the IoT (Internet of Things), means just about everything is connected. Increased automation and advanced analytic tools such as predictive maintenance are reducing operational costs and becoming vital workflow tools. Cloud-based digital applications are making collaboration and remote work more straightforward. 4-D seismic imaging is enabling more accurate measures and forecasting of reservoir fluid changes. As innovation grows, companies can increase productivity and reduce operational costs. However, these connections are also attractive targets to cybercriminals and represent new entry points for threat actors.

Gas and oil company supply chains are complex with multiple suppliers and third-party vendors. Each connection can make oil and gas companies vulnerable to problems occurring at other companies that can make their way into your network.

The increase in BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) to work has employees using personal devices, with their unique vulnerabilities, potentially infecting your systems. The same goes for contractors that might unknowingly connect to your network with a laptop that’s been compromised.

Companies must have robust systems and tools to monitor potential threat incursion points throughout the network. As innovation grows, your security needs must also evolve. Your IT must be managed by people that know your industry and understand security.

Secure, Innovative Solutions for the Oil & Gas Industry

ICS has decades of experience working with some of the largest and best players in the oil and gas industry and provides secure Managed IT services for companies in the Austin, Houston, and San Antonio area.

When you’re choosing an IT company, you want to work with one that knows your industry and terminology. ICS understands the difference between a tank battery and a tail buoy.

ICS knows the workflow and how oil and gas companies communicate from the field to the head office. Specializing in collaborative applications, managed remote communications, and systems integrations, ICS has expertise in industry software, including:

  • Field Data Capture Systems
  • Mapping and GIS Applications
  • Geological and Complex Geophysical Applications
  • Industry Financial and Production Accounting Systems

ICS understands the complexity of publicly traded companies and the compliance standards for local, state, and federal regulations.

ICS can assist in supporting and managing all aspects of your organization’s information systems. Contact ICS today and let us show you how we help grow your business with innovative and secure IT solutions.