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Energy companies and IoT

While energy companies are turning to the Internet of Things (IoT) to help them meet growing demands for power and operate with greater efficiency, too many lack the security procedures to deploy IoT. This is according to the latest research from the satellite company Inmarsat (ISAT.L), which found that more than half of global energy businesses do not have the skills and understanding required to combat the security risks associated with IoT.

In May 2017 market researchers Vanson Bourne interviewed senior IT decision makers from 100 large energy companies, for Inmarsat’s ‘The Future of IoT in Enterprise – 2017’ report. The research found that 53 per cent of energy businesses identified a need to make heavy investments to meet both physical and digital IoT security requirements, and more than half (54 per cent) reported that they needed additional digital skills in security to deliver successful IoT projects. Moreover, just 30 per cent reported that they have given special consideration to network security as part of the development of their IoT, while only 38 per cent have taken additional steps to protect against cyber-attacks.

These IoT security challenges may stem from a lack of understanding of IoT at board level within these organisations, Inmarsat suggests, potentially making it more difficult for project teams to secure the investment they need to effectively counter IoT security threats. In fact, according to the research, almost six in ten (59 per cent) energy respondents stated that their board had either a partial or no understanding of IoT at all.

Chuck Moseley, Senior Director for Energy at Inmarsat Enterprise, said: “IoT represents a fundamental change in the way that energy grid networks and organisations will operate. The core operations of energy companies have traditionally been insulated from the destructive cyber-attacks that have destabilised other industries, as they were not connected to the internet. But, with the advent of IoT, more and more parts of their infrastructure are being connected, creating new vulnerabilities and risks. Worryingly, our research shows that many energy businesses lack the security processes and skills to address these new vulnerabilities. This needs to be quickly addressed, and it must be driven by senior leadership within energy businesses, to ensure that they do not miss out on the huge potential value that IoT can bring to the energy sector.

“For energy companies to thrive in this climate, IoT security needs to be at the top of the agenda and it is essential that boards raise their understanding of the risks they face. This involves ensuring that the fundamental network infrastructure underpinning device connectivity aligns with the highest security and reliability standards, and that the end points are configured correctly.”

To view the research microsite and download the report, ‘The Future of IoT in Enterprise – 2017’ visit: http://research.inmarsat.com/.


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