However, most companies do not have the resources to implement secure AI programs so that they can remain secure and advance digital capabilities on their own. Regardless of size, available budget, and in-house personnel, all energy companies must manage operations and safety fundamentals to ensure that they remain flexible and competitive with visibility and monitoring in powerful and digital devices. That goal is more likely to be achieved in partnership with the right experts.
MIT Technology Review Insight, in collaboration with Siemens Energy, spoke to more than a dozen information technology (IT) and cyber specifications executives at oil and gas companies to gain insights around the world about how AI can transform their digital transformation and Cybersecurity in oil and gas operations is influencing strategies. atmosphere. Here are the important findings:
- Oil and gas companies are under pressure to adapt to dramatic changes in the global business environment. The coronavirus epidemic caused a surprise shock to the global economy in 2020, contributing to the expanding trend of lower prices and raising the value of increased efficiency to compensate for market pressures. Companies are now forced to work in a business environment requiring remote functioning, with additional pressure to reinforce the environmental impacts of operations. These combined factors are pushing oil and gas companies to pivot to new, streamlined ways of working, making the adoption of digital technology important.
- As oil and gas companies go digital, the risk of cyber-attacks increases, as opportunities for AI are increasing. Companies are adding digital technology for better productivity, operational efficiency, and security. They are collecting and analyzing data, connecting devices to the Internet of Things, and exploiting state-of-the-art technologies to plan and increase profits, as well as to detect and mitigate threats. for. At the same time, the industry’s collective digital transformation is causing the cybercriminals to widen the surface to attack. As is operational technology (OT) – IT is a threat to computing and communications systems, manages and controls equipment and industrial operations.
- Cyberspace must be at the core of each aspect of a company’s digital transformation strategies. Implementation of new technologies affects interdependent business and operational functions and the underlying IT infrastructure. This reality calls for oil and gas companies to shift to a risk management mindset. This includes designing projects and systems within a cybersecurity risk framework that enforces company policies and controls. Most importantly, they now need to access and deploy state-of-the-art cybersecurity devices powered by AI and machine learning that stay ahead of attackers.
- AI is optimizing and protecting energy assets and IT networks for monitoring and visibility. Advances in digital applications in industrial operating environments are helping to improve efficiency and security, detecting machine-speed attacks amidst the complexity of increasingly digital operating environments.
- Oil and gas companies monitor external partners against a growing cyber attack. Many companies have insufficient cybersecurity resources to meet their challenges. “We are in a race against the speed of the attackers,” Repasol’s chief information officer Javier Garcia points out in the Quintella report. “We can’t provide all the cybersecurity capabilities we need from inside.” To move quickly and overcome their weaknesses, companies can find partners who can provide expertise and support in a threat environment.
Cyber Security, AI, and Digitization
Organizations in the energy sector are presented with a major opportunity to deploy AI and build a data strategy that promotes the production and exposes new business models, as well as safe operating techniques. Oil and gas companies are facing unprecedented uncertainty — depressed oil and gas prices due to the coronavirus epidemic, a multiyear glut in the market and the drive to go green — and the rapid transition to digitization as many exist are doing. From moving to the cloud to sharing algorithms, the oil and gas industry is showing that there is a strong opportunity for organizations to evolve with technological changes.
In the oil and gas industry, the digital revolution has enabled companies to combine physical energy assets with hardware control systems and software programs, which improve operational efficiency, reduce costs, and cut emissions. This trend is due to the convergence of energy assets associated with OT systems, which manage, monitor, and control energy assets and critical infrastructure, and IT networks, and companies that use to optimize data in their corporate environments.
With billions of OT and IT data points captured from physical assets each day, oil and gas companies are now turning to built-in AI tools to provide visibility and monitoring in their industrial operating environments – both technologies and operations more To make it efficient, and to protect against cyber attack in the extended threat scenario. Because energy companies’ business models depend on the convergence of OT and IT data, companies see AI as an important tool for gaining visibility into their digital ecosystems and understanding the context of their operating environments. Enterprises that build cyber-first digital deployments have to accommodate emerging technologies, such as AI and machine learning but spend less time on strategic realization or change management.
Importantly, for oil and gas companies, AI, which was once reserved for specialized applications, is now optimizing everyday operations and providing critical cybersecurity defenses for OT assets. Leo Oilonovich, vice president and global head of industrial cyber and digital security at Siemens Energy, argues, “Oil and gas companies are becoming digital companies, and there should be no trade-off between security and digitization.” Therefore, Simonovich continues, “Security needs to be part of the digital strategy, and security has to scale with digitalization.”
To navigate today’s volatile business landscape, oil and gas companies need to simultaneously identify optimization opportunities and cybersecurity gaps in their digitization strategies. This means bringing AI and cybersecurity from the ground up to digital deployment, rather than bouncing them later.