Cybersecurity Activity Generating its Own Set of Big Data

One example of a severe physical risk facing oil and gas companies is ISIS. A security scan of a company reveled many serious cyber-risks that significant time and resources were needed to address. However, the rise of ISIS-driven conflict in the Middle East meant that executives were solely focused on following ISIS’ march and whether their employees might be in harm’s way, Dickson said.

“ISIS was clearly a severe physical risk that warranted close attention, but leaving a host of cyber vulnerabilities unresolved was also a persistent danger for operations/IT dangers, such as stolen intellectual property, malware that could enter through these holes and erase hard drives. Unlike ISIS, which needed physical contact to harm employees, cyber vulnerabilities could be exploited by anyone with Internet access. Worse, they might be exploited for an undetermined time until management could focus away from the Middle East.

“The level of risk has risen to the point where cyber professionals/consultants in oil and gas always need to not just gather data, but present that data in a way that aligns and influences the total risk picture C-levels must watch.”

Ron Gula, CEO of Maryland-based Tenable Security, is seeing a shortage of cybersecurity personnel, not because of layoffs, but because there aren’t enough to go around. Gula sees this shortage not just for oil and gas, but across a number of industries. This shortage begins at the high school level, with not enough students interested in becoming computer forensics technicians. Local universities in Maryland such as Johns Hopkins University have capitalized on demand for these workers by offering degree programs in this area. But outside of this area, Silicon Valley and New York City, cybersecurity-related jobs aren’t in the vocabulary of the school systems.


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