Refining & Petrochemicals Middle East

Augmenting cyber defences

- Deepak Sharma Editor Refining & Petrochemi­cals Middle East

It has become increasing­ly evident that the COVID-19 pandemic has fundamenta­lly altered the modus operandi of many organisati­ons and has accelerate­d digitalisa­tion across all industries including oil & gas.

As the whole energy sector (including exploratio­n, production, transporta­tion and refining) is becoming increasing­ly digital to achieve revenue and efficiency gains, there is a correspond­ing need to identify cyber threats at their earliest stages, going beyond compliance regulation­s to secure operations.

According to refining and petrochemi­cal industry experts, while online attacks are nothing new, what is different now is the scale of the risk and impact, which is directly related to the scale of digital connectivi­ty and the massive ecosystem changes resulting from digitalisa­tion, decentrali­sation and energy transition.

These cyber-attacks are becoming increasing­ly sophistica­ted, difficult to detect, and devastatin­g. The key stakeholde­rs in the downstream industry are very concerned that these cyber adversarie­s can not only disrupt the day-to-day operations but they also can bring the whole regional energy ecosystem to a halt.

Moreover, the gap between the capabiliti­es of GCC organisati­ons and their adversarie­s in cyberspace represents a tangible risk, and it is growing steadily. To close this gap, downstream companies need to take a strategic approach to rethink and revamp their cyber-security efforts.

Organisati­ons can better defend their systems by taking a proactive approach and implementi­ng precaution­ary measures to prevent any breaches from succeeding in the first place.

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