Report: Oil and Gas Cybersecurity Strategies Are Evolving, Still Need Work

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Accenture has released its High Performance Security 2016 Report, which says most oil and gas companies lack enterprise-wide cyber analytics technology to monitor for cyberattacks and are not fully aware of when or even how cyberattacks might affect them.

According to the report, 74 percent of the 186 oil and gas company leaders surveyed said their organization is confident that cybersecurity measures will yield valuable results.

However, 60 percent also said they don’t quite understand the timing or impact of cyberattacks. When asked about basic requirements to keep their company secure, energy leaders were less confident than their counterparts in other industries in their ability to measure the impact of breaches (40 percent compared to 47 percent for the cross-industry average) and to know their frequency (28 percent compared to 41 percent).

“Security does not end at the edge of the corporate network. It includes both operational technology and back office systems across the oil and gas value chain,” said Jim Guinn, managing director who leads Accenture’s security practice for resources industries. “Protecting core operations requires better investments in cyber defense including network analytics, cyber incident management programs that include both OT and IT networks, and ongoing testing to help identify any gaps. With a more comprehensive cybersecurity strategy that includes assets across the entire organization, oil and gas companies can be better prepared when a cyber event occurs.”

Other findings include:

  • Oil and gas company leaders reported an average of 96 cyberattacks over 12 months, with one in three succeeding in a breach that was discovered only 62 percent of the time by firms’ security teams. Detection took months for 51 percent of companies and weeks for 25 percent.
  • Breaches were said to be mostly from malicious company insiders (43 percent) or staff who accidentally published information (23 percent). Hackers accounted for 21 percent of attacks.
  • The most effective tools for responding to cyberattacks listed were: internal cross-functional teams (41 percent), standard operating procedures (37 percent), established technologies (36 percent) and communications plans (34 percent).
  • Oil and gas leaders cited the need to fill cybersecurity gaps in end point / network security as their most pressing concern (55 percent). Only 18 percent were confident in identifying high-value security assets and business processes needed for better protection, and 24 percent said they were confident of their capabilities in cyberattack scenarios.
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