Oil and Gas companies benefit from smart card convergence

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In an Industry where safety and security is paramount, smart cards supporting multiple applications are allowing oil and gas companies to better safeguard staff and sites.

Oil and gas companies continue to innovate in smart card technology. Facing risks to the security of their assets and operations, these organizations are pioneering new approaches to identity and access management and IT security by combining physical and logical access onto a single smart card. This not only improves security and convenience for the staff, but also allows companies to realise the operational efficiencies that convergence delivers.

In the past, many oil and gas companies relied on multiple credentials and access control systems to fulfil different tasks, resulting in the proliferation of single-purpose systems running in parallel. In addition to being resource-intensive, disparate access control and security systems do not scale and can be costly to integrate.

A consolidated strategy is therefore crucial. Today, converged systems are employed to secure a wide range of sensitive oil and gas assets, including off-shore floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) units; and on-shore production and transportation facilities such as pipelines, ports, and refineries.

Aside from hazardous materials and harsh working environments, numerous additional factors expose oil and gas companies to significant risk. The remoteness of sites, poor quality of local infrastructure, and geopolitical instability make installations susceptible to malicious attack, and a security breach has the potential to endanger staff, the local environment and, at worst, the stability of national energy grid infrastructures. In addition, these factors are magnified by the scale of the operations involved, as oil and gas fields can stretch thousands of kilometres.

There is no ‘one size fits all approach’ to smart card and IAM strategy in the oil and gas industry, and a host of factors surround specific vulnerabilities, the level and type of threats faced, and the physical environment. For users in the industry, the importance of strong security will only increase, given the value of data being stored and the need for a high level of physical access security to sensitive sites. Furthermore, convenience and efficiency are also crucial for companies managing thousands of staff - and these issues can be addressed effectively with a converged smart card strategy.