HOUSTON, Texas, October 1, 2020 — Jones Walker LLP today publicly released the findings of its 2020 Midstream Oil and Gas Cybersecurity Survey, examining cybersecurity preparedness in North America-based independent midstream oil and gas companies. The findings will be presented during a webinar hosted by the Institute for Energy Law at the Center for American and International Law today at 12:30 p.m. CT.
The results reflect the responses of 125 key executives, security and compliance officers, and general counsel, and confirm that cybersecurity remains a top concern for the midstream sector of the oil and gas industry — especially as companies grapple with the worldwide economic downturn, the reduction in commodity prices, and the increased dependence on remote work and autonomous systems due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
This survey is Jones Walker’s second on the topic of cybersecurity. The first was in 2018 and focused on maritime, another critical infrastructure industry. Jones Walker attorneys Andy Lee, Krystal Scott, and Ewaen Woghiren authored a report outlining the key findings of the firm’s Midstream Oil and Gas Cybersecurity Survey.
Speaking about the survey, Lee, partner and chair of Jones Walker’s privacy and data security team, says, “Similar to the 2018 survey, the Midstream Oil and Gas Cybersecurity Survey found that smaller companies are particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks. These businesses typically do not have appropriate breach response plans, and hackers are looking to take advantage of their weaknesses.”
Key findings of the Jones Walker Midstream Oil and Gas Cybersecurity Survey include:
“Despite the fact that there have been successful cyber attacks in the past year and that employees are considered a top threat, midstream companies still lack sufficient employee cybersecurity training — only 37% of respondents conduct annual trainings,” adds Scott, partner and co-leader of the firm’s energy and natural resources litigation team. “While employees pose a heightened risk to cybersecurity today due to increased remote-work conditions in response to COVID-19, a majority of midstream companies are not increasing cybersecurity budgets in the coming year. This may prove detrimental to the sector’s ability to thwart cyber attacks.”
Discussing a key finding, Woghiren, an associate on the energy and natural resources litigation team, says, “Sixty-eight percent of respondents indicated having cybersecurity plans included in their overarching strategic plans, and leadership participation in developing and executing these plans is high. However, a clear majority of companies reported that they do not have dedicated senior staff focused on cybersecurity. This lack of cybersecurity personnel is problematic, as their skills are necessary to avoid and combat increasingly complex cyber attacks.”
The 2020 Midstream Oil and Gas Cybersecurity Survey is available for download on the Jones Walker website. To read what industry professionals are saying about the report, visit the Insider Commentary Resource Page.
About Jones Walker
Jones Walker LLP (joneswalker.com) is among the largest 120 law firms in the United States. With offices in Alabama, Arizona, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, and Texas, we serve local, regional, national, and international business interests. The firm is committed to providing a comprehensive range of legal services to major multinational, public and private corporations, Fortune® 500 companies, money center banks, worldwide insurers, and emerging companies doing business in the United States and abroad.
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