Security Experts:

Oil and Gas Infrastructure Vulnerabilities Drive Security Spending, Report

Recent analysis from Frost & Sullivan shows that the security of critical facilities remains the topmost priority for the global oil and gas industry. Accordingly, these markets are increasing the amount spent on security offerings, including those offer integrated and flexible solutions with rounded protection.

Oil and Gas SecurityEscalating demand for oil and gas, the construction of new facilities, and physical and cyber threats to these installations have led to growth in the oil and gas infrastructure security market, the report explains. The market earned revenues of $18.31 billion in 2011 and estimates this to reach $31.27 billion in 2021.

The vulnerability of oil and gas infrastructures to various threats – both physical as well as cyber – is a matter of great concern for their operators. This is causing them to invest heavily in security.

"Global oil and gas companies are investing capital in new infrastructure projects, driving the need for security solutions at these facilities," noted Frost & Sullivan Aerospace, Defence & Security Senior Research Analyst Anshul Sharma.

"With increasing awareness of threats, companies are adopting a security-risk management approach and implementing risk assessment of their facilities to ensure security Return on Investment (ROI)."

According to Frost and Sullivan’s research, organizations have a growing preference for all-in-one solutions, as long as they offer flexible integration of individual security systems like access control, video surveillance and intrusion-detection on one platform. Moreover, the report adds, there is an expectation of heavy investments in cyber security, due to various attacks on energy facilities in the past five years.

Yet, at least when it comes to the Oil and Gas industry, the cost of advanced security technologies, the lack of resources for managing security, compliance and operations, and low spending on cyber security threaten market prospects.

"The threats may vary from information theft to a terrorist attack, but the economic impact and financial damage in case of an attack will be much more significant. It would also depend on the motive of the attacker. For example, a cyber attack to remotely control a SCADA system can have more serious consequences than a cyber attack to steal information," explained Sharma.

Accordingly, security vendors “should aim at designing an integrated security solution that proactively identifies, assesses and mitigates risks and threats originating from within the facility as well as from well beyond it.”

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Steve Ragan is a security reporter and contributor for SecurityWeek. Prior to joining the journalism world in 2005, he spent 15 years as a freelance IT contractor focused on endpoint security and security training.