Uncovering Cybersecurity and the IIoT in Oil & Gas Business

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The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is rapidly reshaping the Oil & Gas sector. Executives are investing heavily in new solutions to overcome the challenges companies face, including falling oil prices, environmental issues, tight budgets, high costs, and cybersecurity concerns.

How the IIoT can revolutionize the Oil & Gas industry

The IIoT encompasses connected devices such as drones and sensors, but it also includes innovative new software. Software as a Service (SaaS) models have proved increasingly popular thanks to their flexible options and instant results. These models are often quick to install and reduce pressure on internal resources. However, they put the spotlight on cybersecurity. Protecting sensitive data is a key concern.

As explained in our previous post Bringing innovation to every level of the Oil & Gas sector, these developments in technology also allow operators to use big data in new ways. Together, cloud services, connected devices, predictive models, and SaaS gather and process vast amounts of data in real time. Conditions of pipelines, pumps and wells can be monitored more closely while minimizing the need for superfluous physical inspections. Predictive models can use algorithms that, when compared to previously gathered data, can instantly show ways to improve efficiency, saving up to 50% within the first year of use.

New technologies aren’t just for devices and software; they’re also changing the way people learn and communicate. As retirement-age workers leave businesses, taking with them their in-depth knowledge and experience, there has been pressure to fill their roles with competent new employees. Virtual and augmented realities are solving the demand for training, offering life-like simulations to increase the situational awareness of trainees.

Addressing the drawbacks of the IIoT

Many advantages come from taking control systems online, however, it can expose systems to cyberattacks. Cyber crime is a growing problem and affects many industries, including Oil & Gas. Sources of this type of crime range from individuals to highly organized and sophisticated organizations. Cloud platforms and analytics layers need defenses to adequately meet these threats. The two most frequently used security measures are Network Intrusion Detection Systems (NIDS) and Dynamic Endpoint Modeling.

A NIDS will monitor for attacks from authorized users within the network. Anomalies create an alert that is then managed by a systems analyst who determines the best course of action. Dynamic Endpoint Modeling is a newer technology that learns the behavior of devices within the network and creates an alert when it finds abnormal activity. Products, created by companies such as Schneider Electric, meet the highest security standards and offer services that can determine whether NIDS or Dynamic Endpoint Modeling is best suited for an Oil & Gas enterprise.

Adopting new techniques

These and other IIoT products, such as drones, sensors, innovative new software, cloud services, and connected devices, have been designed to optimize performance and efficiency to support the need for fast decisions and connected information. To adopt some of the techniques explained here, it’s always recommended to start with smaller projects, evaluate ROI before expanding, and make early strides in efficiency. To help fully exploit the opportunities out there, Schneider Electric offers world-class services and expertise.

Want to learn more? Download our White Paper: IoT impact in the Oil and Gas Value Chain


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