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The Importance of Cybersecurity in the Gas and Oil Industry

All businesses are susceptible to cyberattacks. As the importance of cybersecurity of digital data becomes more pronounced, so too does the motivation to attack your network, as well as the possible damages that such an attack can cause.

Many companies believe that a massive data breach couldn’t happen to them, but this mindset can result in opening your business up to cyberthreats.

Cyberthreats to Gas and Oil

Recent studies have shown that the number of malicious items blocked by cybersecurity systems in the gas and oil field rose from 38 percent to 39.9 percent from 2019 to 2020. While this may seem like a modest increase, that trend is expected to continue, especially as more employees continue working from home on less secure networks.

Hackers can use your network’s weaknesses to gain access to client data, your confidential information, and more. Not only can this information be stolen or help for expensive ransoms, but it can also lead to a decrease in public and stakeholder trust in your company.

Cybersecurity for Gas and Oil

Many gas and oil companies don’t have a dedicated IT team, especially if the company is small. Even if you don’t have a dedicated team, you must understand your cybersecurity risks to respond to them with the correct cybersecurity measures effectively.

The best way to start building your cybersecurity is by completing a cyber risk assessment. This entails learning where there may be weaknesses in your network and determining if your staff understands cybersecurity basics. It also involves assessing how effective your current cybersecurity measures are.

From there, you can start building a cybersecurity stack, which is simply a combination of things you use to keep your cyberlife safe. As cyber threats grow more complex, it’s increasingly important to have more than one measure in place to protect your network, such as staff training, regular cyber assessment, and quality security software.

Your First Line of Defense

First line of defense against cyberattacks should be cybersecurity software. Your company’s software needs will depend on several factors, such as your company’s size and how much confidential information you store digitally.

A quality software package can prevent several cyber threats, such as phishing attacks from a staff member clicking on a malicious email or link. Software will automatically kick in when it detects a danger and work to fend it off before the threat becomes an actual cyberattack.

Other Cybersecurity Measures

The best cybersecurity measures involve preventing an attack from happening at all. While software is often the best way to avoid an attack, there are also several steps you can take to prevent the software from having to stop an attack in the first place:

Staff Training

If your staff doesn’t know how to safely navigate their digital environments, your company is at risk of being attacked. Take time to properly train your staff in digital safety and explain the most common types of attacks and how to prevent them.

Hire a Consultant

This can be especially useful if you’re not tech-savvy or if you don’t have a dedicated IT team. A consultant can help you and your staff understand your digital risks and learn how to prevent them from happening.

Changing Passwords Regularly

While this may sound simple, many people fail to change their passwords regularly. However, this simple step can make it harder for your company’s passwords from being accidentally leaked or shared, which will also make it harder for attackers to hack into your system.

Again, this is a simple step. Many phishing emails have hidden links in hyperlinks. Tell your staff to scroll their mouse over the blue hyperlinked text to see the full link before clicking it. This will show the full site address. If the address doesn’t match what the email says it links to, or if the link looks suspicious, don’t click it.

Using VPNs

If you have staff members working from home, consider using a virtual private network (VPN) service. VPNs let your staff connect to a secure network wherever they’re working, making it harder for hackers to access your network when out of the office.

Cybersecurity and Gas and Oil

As gas and oil companies rely even more on digital data, it’s even more essential to have cybersecurity measures in place. Any company can be hacked, which can cause reputational and financial harm to your company. The best way to avoid this outcome is by making sure you have the right cybersecurity for your business.