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Risk and reward: automation and Big Data in oil and gas


10 January 2017

Global Services

Blogs by author: Global Services, We’re a leading global business communications provider


Big Data and automation can create significant improvements within the oil and gas industry, but they come with cyber security risks that can’t be ignored.

The rewards of integrating new technology.

Already, IP-enabled equipment has changed the oil and gas industry, automating time-consuming processes and providing a clear overview of operations.

As our white paper explains: “Today most of the systems that capture operational data for the industry are networked and electronically connected to business systems which monitor and manage their day-to-day operations more effectively.”

Ultimately, this technology captures vast amounts of data, and allows it to be shared and analysed quickly and easily. From valves to rigs, drawing information from all aspects of oil and gas operations helps companies make more informed decisions and keeps processes accurate.

But it’s important to remember that these rewards come with significant cyber-security risks.

The risks you need to be aware of.

While many companies want to reap these rewards, it’s vital to keep in mind that the industry is facing an increasing number of cyber threats. In fact, 75 per cent of information technology workers report a ‘successful’ cyber attack in the past year. While more than 80 per cent believe an attack will harm physical infrastructure this year.

And the oil and gas industry is particularly at risk because “the cost of cyber crime in the energy sector is substantially higher than in other sectors, with the average cyber crime cost in the utilities and energy sector at US$12.8 million.”

How to mitigate the danger of cyber crime.

This level of automation and data-analysis is efficient and reliable, providing greater:

  • Efficiency: By integrating monitoring and control systems that are easily scalable.
  • Visibility: Through real-time data produced through wireless connectivity, rather than manual, localised standalone relay-based systems.
  • Reliability: Safety that’s built-in rather than built-on, reducing unplanned downtime and environmental issues.

Find out more about how you can stay secure, while reaping these rewards, in our oil and gas whitepaper.