Safeguarding Our Powerhouses: Architect a Secure Energy Landscape

Energy companies in the industrial sector spanning oil, gas, and renewable energy, play a key role in providing the essential resources needed to power our economies and meet consumer demands.

Their activities encompass diverse processes, each with their own distinct set of assets, critical infrastructure, and security requirements.

Oil, Gas and Renewable Energy

Oil and gas companies are engaged in exploring, extracting, refining, and distributing fossil fuels. Their assets include vast oil and natural gas reserves, drilling rigs, refineries, pipelines, and storage facilities. The critical infrastructure involves offshore and onshore drilling platforms, refineries, petrochemical plants, and an extensive network of pipelines for transportation. Security requirements are robust, given the industry’s geopolitical significance and the potential impact of disruptions. These requisites include securing drilling sites, implementing cybersecurity measures to protect operational technology (OT), and maintaining stringent safety protocols to prevent accidents.

Renewable energy companies focus on harnessing energy from sustainable sources such as wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal.

Their assets include wind turbines, solar panels, hydroelectric facilities, and geothermal power plants. Critical infrastructure encompasses renewable energy installations, often distributed across various locations. Security requirements involve protecting these plants from physical and cyber threats. While the environmental impact is a concern, ensuring the secure operation of control systems and protecting against cyber threats is paramount. This includes implementing cybersecurity measures specific to industrial control systems (ICS) and ensuring the resilience of smart grids.

Shared Security Requirements

Although they may have their own bespoke security requirements, there exists a shared set of security requirements across all three segments of the energy sector.

IT/OT Infrastructure Security
With increased digitisation and reliance on IoT devices, robust security measures are required to secure both IT and OT systems to protect energy companies from emerging cyber threats that target critical infrastructure. Furthermore, compliance with industry standards such as ISO27001 and ISA/IEC 62443 is important to ensure that they remain robust to adversarial pressures in their sector.

Physical Security
Protecting physical assets, including drilling sites, refineries, power plants, and energy distribution infrastructure, is essential to minimise widespread disruption that can impact local and nationwide populations. The use of stringent access controls, surveillance systems and perimeter security safeguards can mitigate the potential of physical threats to critical infrastructure.

Supply Chain Security
Given the interconnected nature of the energy sector, ensuring the security of the supply chain is vital. This includes vetting suppliers, contractors, and third-party vendors to prevent attacks that originate from the supply chain and mitigate the impact that would be widespread across their service delivery networks.

Incident Response and Continuity Planning
Developing and testing incident response plans to ensure a swift and coordinated response in the event of security incidents, natural disasters, or accidents. The energy sector is also often influenced by geopolitical factors, including potential cyber threats from nation-state actors seeking to gain a strategic advantage or influence global energy markets. Having a well-defined and tested business continuity plan that aligns with your business objectives can help you remain resilient in the face of further adversarial pressure from this angle.