Secure Cloud Strategy
for Oil and Gas Digital
Transformation

Over the last several years, the oil and gas industry has been dealing with uncertainty due to fluctuations in price levels and market conditions. After hitting historic lows in 2020, oil and gas prices have seen a significant increase driven by two main factors:

Strong consumer demand following the global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic

More recently, global market volatility due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict

In addition, the increased focus on sustainability has put more pressure on companies to adopt new practices, with the aim of reducing emissions and minimizing the environmental footprint of oil and gas operations. The resulting challenges to the oil and gas industry are pushing companies to accelerate digital transformation initiatives aimed at improving operational efficiency and productivity through innovation.

Oil and gas digital transformation challenges

One of the main inhibitors for digital transformation in the oil and gas industry is the distributed nature of operations. Oil and gas activities are often spread out geographically, with:

Upstream oil and gas exploration and production occurring in remote locations

Midstream oil and gas transportation and processing taking place in urban centers

Downstream oil and gas marketing and distribution happening in both rural and urban areas

Consequently, oil and gas companies often have silos of operations that inhibit their ability to share knowledge and expertise, with each using its own practices, systems, and applications. Legacy systems are another driver for oil and gas digital transformation. Many oil and gas companies have been using the same systems for decades, which can make it difficult to integrate new technologies. These legacy systems are often inflexible and aren’t designed for the modern world, which makes it hard to respond to changing needs and demands.

Cloud is essential for breaking down information silos

The siloed nature of oil and gas operations has led to inefficiencies and lost opportunities. Nevertheless, the cost and effort involved in replacing legacy systems that run mission-critical processes has created resistance to change, which has kept oil and gas companies from modernizing their technology stack. However, driven by technological breakthroughs and increased competition between technology suppliers, the cost of digitalization has dropped considerably in recent years.
This trend, coupled with growing market pressures, has spurred oil and gas companies to embark on large scale digital transformation initiatives.
While the major public cloud providers offer robust security capabilities, the shared responsibility model requires customers to protect their own data and applications in the cloud. However, defining appropriate access policies and controls to protect sensitive data is a challenging task.

One of the primary goals of oil and gas digital transformation is to break down information silos and implement new solutions that support the integration and analysis of data from existing systems, and real-time data obtained from mobile devices, sensors, drones and more. This new model of operation enables oil and gas companies to improve and speed up decision-making, reduce operational costs, and establish a more flexible and resilient technology environment that supports innovation at scale.

Defining a cloud strategy is crucial for implementing an agile IT environment along these lines, as it essentially serves as a central location to collect and process data previously dispersed across various geolocations and systems. By integrating and analyzing data from an ever-growing number and variety of sources, oil and gas companies can gain insights that were previously impossible to obtain. This is transforming the way companies operate, from exploration and production to distribution and marketing.

The cloud is also enabling new business models, such as predictive maintenance and asset tracking. In addition, public cloud services enable oil and gas companies to gain access to innovative technologies such as big data analytics, AI/ML, IoT and others.

Oil and gas cloud security challenges

The oil and gas industry is expanding its use of cloud infrastructure to support a growing number of business-critical applications and services. However, this expanded use of the cloud has also introduced new security challenges, particularly around visibility and control over access to critical systems and data.
Traditional security solutions are often unable to keep pace with the dynamic nature of cloud environments, resulting in a lack of visibility into what is happening across an organization’s cloud infrastructure. This can make it difficult to detect and respond to threats promptly.

Additionally, the growing number of IoT devices and machines that are required to interact with each other in oil and gas operations is introducing new complexity, creating more opportunities for bad actors to gain access to sensitive data. To address these challenges, companies need to adopt a least privileged approach that provides granular control over access to sensitive data and systems.

This can help to reduce the attack surface, and improve detection and response times. In addition, companies should consider investing in cloud security technologies that provide visibility and control over activity in the cloud. By taking these steps, oil and gas companies can better protect their cloud infrastructure from sophisticated attacks.

Oil and gas cloud security challenges

Implementing an effective least privileged approach across an increasingly dynamic and complex cloud infrastructure is a challenging task. Many organizations struggle to find an effective way to manage access and protect sensitive data in the cloud.

There’s a gap between identity and access management (IAM) solutions and information-centric security solutions, such as data loss prevention (DLP). IAM solutions are designed to manage access to resources, while DLP solutions are designed to protect data
These two solutions often don’t work together very well, resulting in a fragmented security strategy that’s not very effective. In increasingly complex and dynamic cloud environments, this lack of alignment prevents companies from having a comprehensive, unified view into their cloud security posture.

An integrated approach that combines identity- and information-centric solutions is critical for securing access to cloud infrastructure resources based on a least privileged approach. When these two solutions are combined, they provide a holistic and contextual view that can be used to identify, prioritize, and mitigate risks in a much more accurate and timely manner

Solvo’s adaptive cloud infrastructure security

Solvo’s approach to cloud security enables enterprises to digitally transform and grow their business in a secure manner.

Solvo enables security teams, developers and other stakeholders to automatically uncover, prioritize, mitigate, and remediate cloud infrastructure access risks. Using multi-dimensional, contextual monitoring and analysis of infrastructure resources, application and user behavior, and the data associated with them, Solvo enables enterprises to implement adaptive least privilege access policies and controls at scale
Solvo automatically creates customized, constantly-updated least privilege access policies based on the level of risk associated with entities and data in the cloud. Solvo helps CISOs identify and prioritize risks, and proactively mitigate cloud misconfigurations and vulnerabilities while facilitating collaboration between security, DevOps and engineering teams. Using Solvo, enterprises can reduce their cloud attack surface, simplify compliance, and grow their business in a secure manner.

By breaking down application, identity, and data silos, Solvo offers a first-of-its-kind application and data-aware cloud infrastructure security platform designed for the scale and speed of cloud-native environments.

Solvo’s unique platform gets to work right away in three distinct stages:

Protecting critical infrastructure

Digital transformation is essential for oil and gas companies to remain competitive in times of growing economic and geopolitical uncertainty. However, as oil and gas companies speed up their adoption of cloud infrastructure services to support new innovation-driven growth strategies, they are exposed to new security threats.

As a critical component of a nation’s infrastructure, the oil and gas industry is a prime target for cyberattacks. Businesses in this field hold sensitive data that can be used to blackmail or extort individuals or governments, and they also control critical infrastructure that could be used to cause widespread damage. As a result, oil and gas companies must be vigilant in their cybersecurity efforts in order to protect themselves from these threats.

To accelerate their cloud-led digital transformation securely, oil and gas companies must implement strong identity and access management protocols to protect their cloud infrastructure. By using Solvo’s adaptive cloud security platform, oil and gas companies can pursue an integrated strategy that combines identity- and information-centric solutions for a more comprehensive approach that integrates contextual factors pertaining to users, data, applications and systems.

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