The Regulatory Burden
The oil and gas industry uses a range of complex systems and interconnected technologies to extract, transport and refine oil and gas products. While these technologies support the delivery of energy services and products, they are increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks thus making cybersecurity critical.
Recent high-profile attacks including the ransomware attacks on the Colonial Pipeline, have prompted the White House to take steps to safeguard U.S. critical infrastructure.
Oil and gas infrastructure security and risk management are simply too critical to manage via spreadsheets and legacy tools. Manual workflows are often rife with inaccuracies, something that could cost an oil and gas operation dearly. Instead, organizations need a robust, automated solution to plan, implement and monitor compliance and risk.
A Framework for Information Security Success
A 2021 Security Directive requires critical pipeline owners and operators to report confirmed and potential cybersecurity incidents, and designate a Cybersecurity Coordinator.
It also requires critical pipeline owners and operators to review their current practices as well as to identify any gaps and related remediation measures to address cyber-related risks and report the results within 30 days.
Any security risks for corporate financial or operational data must be protected with the appropriate governance measures. Furthermore, as employers, oil and gas companies also have all the usual regulatory obligations around personal data.
That being said, there are a number of regulatory frameworks that can impact this industry including:
Manage Compliance and Risk with Confidence and Ease
ZenGRC is a risk and compliance management solution that offers a cost-effective, integrated way to meet risk and compliance objectives across numerous, complicated risk management and security standards.
With compliance and security frameworks built-in and maintained by experts along with suggested risk and threat scores and real-time connections between control assessments and risk scoring, you get a unified, real-time view of risk and compliance and significant efficiency gains so that you can stay ahead of threats, reduce risk and strengthen compliance.
ZenGRC empowers you to automate and accomplish your goals faster and with greater accuracy so that you can focus on mission-critical tasks like pipeline management.
Both the pipeline industry guidelines and the NIST critical infrastructure guidance include steps such as risk assessment, response planning, mitigation, training and protective technology to keep essential assets as far away from threats as possible.
However, for security officers building a compliance strategy, those obligations can translate into seemingly insurmountable objectives. This is where ZenGRC can play a role in helping to streamline and guide risk, cybersecurity and compliance efforts.
In addition to providing a central repository for organizing and cataloging all compliance documentation, ZenGRC’s expert-provided framework and standards content, initial threat and risk scores and automated workflows can help you to:
- Take an inventory of all the systems that control data assets, facilitate the pipeline and connect to the rest of your IT infrastructure
- Assess your baseline security posture—both your internal systems and any third-party vendors that make up the supply chain
- Cross-check your baseline controls with any pertinent frameworks (NIST, ISO, SOC 2, etc.) and identify the security gaps that need to be filled to meet regulatory requirements
- Establish mitigation steps that might be necessary and assign them to control owners
- Conduct new risk assessments routinely to ensure compliance over time and keep up with new regulations and emerging threats
Frequently Asked Questions
Who regulates the oil and gas industry?
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the main regulatory body for the oil and gas industry. However, several other federal agencies provide oversight for various components of the industry. A few examples include:
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
- The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)
- The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
- The U.S. Department of Energy
What are the benefits of risk and compliance software in the oil and gas industry?
There are several benefits to organizations in the oil and gas industry who opt for risk and compliance software to manage their regulatory requirements. These include:
- Gain a unified, real-time view of risk and compliance — framed around your business priorities — to help you clearly communicate the impact of risk to stakeholders
- Reduce audit fatigue by reusing controls and evidence across frameworks
- Continuously test for effectiveness to ensure your organization is always audit-ready
- Audit traceability and task notifications. Having all of the compliance task steps recorded creates a comprehensive audit trail to reference when improving business processes
- Get real-time risk scores and automatically surface changes in risk so you can stay ahead of cybersecurity threats
- Bringing ease to task management and organization. With the RiskOptics ROAR Platform, you know exactly what needs to be done with clear priorities and objectives
What is the role of compliance and risk in the oil and gas industry?
Due to the critical nature of oil and gas to the global economy, the industry is heavily regulated. From emissions concerns to process safety management to standard corporate oversight, environmental compliance requirements of many kinds are deeply rooted in this industry.
Many of these frameworks have unique requirements for oil and gas companies, often requiring significant upfront costs and investment to manage and implement.
Accordingly, oil and gas organizations must rely on technology solutions, like GRC software, to understand and navigate the numerous challenges and enterprise-wide risks they’re facing.
What exploits and security breaches threaten the oil and gas industry?
Digital transformation in the oil and gas industry has increased the frequency and veracity of cyberattacks. As the energy industry works hard to create cleaner, more dependable, and affordable energy, this involves new technologies and business opportunities and dealing with changing rules and policies.
Chief information security officers (CISOs) must navigate these complexities while protecting their organizations from ongoing and incoming cyber threats. A unified risk, cybersecurity and compliance solution can help CISOs and InfoSec leaders better see, understand and act on risk while communicating the financial impact of risk and compliance to key stakeholders.