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                        Rough Seas: Overcoming the Challenges of Cybersecurity for Offshore Infrastructure

                        Written by Mission Secure

                        Rough Seas: Overcoming the Challenges of Cybersecurity for Offshore Infrastructure featured image

                         In the world of cybersecurity, few environments present as many challenges as oil platforms and other offshore infrastructure assets. These installations, often situated in harsh and isolated marine environments, are critical to global energy production. However, their remote locations, combined with the increasing interconnectedness brought about by digitalization, expose them to a myriad of cybersecurity threats. 

                        In this blog post, we dive into the distinct challenges associated with installing and managing cybersecurity technology on offshore infrastructure, and how Mission Secure overcomes these challenges to help our customers protect their critical offshore assets.

                        Remote and Harsh Environments

                        Offshore platforms are situated far from land, often in harsh environments characterized by salt water, high winds, and extreme temperatures. These conditions pose significant challenges for the installation and maintenance of cybersecurity technology. Traditional IT equipment may struggle to withstand the corrosive effects of saltwater and the constant exposure to harsh weather conditions. 

                        Mission Secure’s specialized, ruggedized cybersecurity appliances are designed to withstand harsh operating conditions and provide years of uninterrupted service. Our management console and network sensors can also be deployed virtually on the facility’s existing infrastructure, reducing the number of hardware assets that need to be maintained.

                        Sending qualified cybersecurity personnel to an offshore facility can be a challenge in its own right. When onsite support is needed for cybersecurity implementation or configuration changes, the trips typically must be coordinated with an already-scheduled flight to the platform, and personnel are required to maintain HUET (Helicopter Underwater Escape Training) and/or BOSIET (Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training) certification.

                        Limited Connectivity

                        Offshore platforms typically rely on satellite or radio communications for connectivity to the internet and corporate networks. However, these connections are often slower, less reliable, and more expensive than on-land connections. Limited bandwidth and high latency can impede the real-time transmission of updates and monitoring data, making it difficult to detect and respond to cyber threats promptly. Moreover, intermittent connectivity may disrupt software updates and patch management, leaving systems vulnerable to known vulnerabilities. Mission Secure provides multiple options for updating our own technology, including offline updates, while detecting unaddressed vulnerabilities on OT assets that may present operational risk despite relatively low connectivity.

                        Operational Considerations

                        The primary function of offshore infrastructure assets is to extract and process hydrocarbons, making operational safety and continuity paramount. Platform owners and operators need to know that their cybersecurity measures will enhance, not compromise, the operational resilience of their facilities. Through the use of advanced, OT-native technology, careful planning, and coordination between IT and operational teams, Mission Secure works to ensure that our solutions fit into the existing site architecture without disrupting normal network traffic or asset functionality.

                        Compliance and Regulation

                        Offshore infrastructure assets are subject to a myriad of industry-specific regulations and standards aimed at ensuring operational safety and environmental protection. However, cybersecurity regulations in the offshore sector are still evolving and vary significantly across jurisdictions. Navigating this regulatory landscape can be challenging for organizations operating in multiple regions. Mission Secure's team of OT cybersecurity experts have extensive experience dealing with conflicting (and overlapping) regulations, helping our customers avoid compliance fatigue and potential gaps in their cybersecurity posture.

                        Deep Expertise in Offshore Operations

                        Securing offshore infrastructure assets against cybersecurity threats presents a myriad of unique challenges, from harsh environments and limited connectivity to operational constraints and compliance complications. Addressing these challenges requires a multidisciplinary approach that integrates technology, processes, and people. By understanding and proactively mitigating these challenges, Mission Secure helps organizations enhance the resilience and security their offshore infrastructure assets, safeguarding critical operations and protecting against cyber threats in an increasingly interconnected world.

                        To find out how Mission Secure can help your organization implement efficient, effective OT cybersecurity, fill out the contact form below, or schedule a consultation today.


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