Jones Walker LLP Releases Midstream Oil and Gas Cybersecurity Survey Findings
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 & 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 on the Energy, Environmental & Natural Resources Industry Team 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.
Comments from Cybersecurity and Cyber Risk Insiders:
Brad Burke, Managing Director, Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, Rice University:
Heather Hughes, VP Engagement Management, Stroz Friedberg, LLC, an Aon Company:
Christopher Morrow, Senior Attorney, IT & Cybersecurity, Williams:
Brian Robb, Underwriting Director & Cyber Industry Leader, CNA Hardy:
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.
The firm’s Energy, Environmental & Natural Resources Industry Team is experienced in all aspects of the midstream oil and gas industry complex, as it interfaces with upstream and downstream operations. Our understanding of the energy stream of commerce distinguishes us in providing regulatory, transactional, and litigation advice, including divestitures of gathering systems and processing facilities; the financing, construction, development, and permitting of interstate and intrastate pipelines and natural gas storage facilities; tax matters involving publicly traded master limited partnerships; pipeline condemnations; legacy litigation and environmental damage litigation; and title reviews, mineral title opinions, and reviews of title policies.
The firm’s privacy & data security team is committed to helping clients become cyber-ready and to identify, prevent, and respond to the full spectrum of data-breach and privacy risks. The team routinely works with companies to develop and audit cybersecurity plans and provide guidance about appropriate vendors and service providers to help companies become more cyber-ready. The team is also skilled at guiding clients through the aftermath of a breach or an attempted breach.