Corporate threat intelligence is emerging as an essential tool for protecting organizations within the energy sector. The energy industry is particularly vulnerable to workplace incidents or disruptions because they usually have many facilities spread out over a wide geographic area.
Additionally, producers with sprawling international operations often have facilities in dangerous, politically unstable locations, creating additional challenges for any security team.
Security leaders have to walk a fine line. They must protect their operations, people, and assets while navigating the complex and potentially volatile political environments of the towns and cities in which they do business. Failure to strike an adequate balance can have dire financial consequences – such as regulators limiting or stopping expansion projects.
Open-source intelligence (OSINT) to the rescue.
OSINT was once associated with the cloaked realm of the defense and intelligence community. However, due to the publicly available data explosion, organizations recognize the tremendous value of employing open-source intelligence techniques in their corporate security functions.
This post will define corporate threat intelligence and OSINT as an intelligence tool. We will also explore the key benefits of OSINT for the energy sector.
Let’s dive in.
What Is Corporate Threat Intelligence?
Corporate threat intelligence is any information organizations use to better understand potential risks against their operations. It provides the lens through which companies can make informed decisions about their security posture. Ultimately, it allows security teams to address incidents before they occur.
Threat intelligence involves gathering data from various sources, such as open-source intelligence (OSINT), third-party tools, and internal resources. OSINT denotes the collection of accessible information sources to provide decision-makers with actionable insights. In theory, this information could cover any public, free data source such as books or newspapers. In today's reality, analysts find most of their information online. Therefore, online social media monitoring and dark web monitoring are invaluable tools to get ahead of threats.
Any information from online sources allows security teams to create a comprehensive picture of potential threats or vulnerabilities to an organization’s people, assets, or brand.
The Benefits of OSINT for the Energy Sector
OSINT represents a significant way for security teams to bolster their corporate intelligence strategy. As mentioned previously, organizations within the energy industry often have facilities spread out over a wide geographic area. The political volatility of the surrounding communities can further aggravate the logistical challenges. OSINT relieves some of the burdens of resource-strapped departments by allowing analysts to monitor and respond to potential workplace disruptions. Ultimately, these threat intelligence tools can play a vital role in corporate security functions. OSINT can enhance travel security, executive protection, due diligence, crisis response, and geopolitical analysis.
Given the potential impact of a successful attack on an energy company’s people or operations, it’s essential that businesses in this sector understand the benefits of threat intelligence and how it can help protect their security strategy.
We cannot overstate that getting ahead of threats is the primary advantage of adopting OSINT in a corporate threat intelligence program. It is far more cost-effective to anticipate a problem than to try to respond after the fact. Using OSINT to accumulate and analyze data about their business allows security leaders to address risks before they become disastrous.
Real-Time Visibility into Threats and Vulnerabilities
With OSINT, energy companies have real-time visibility into threats and vulnerabilities. This insight allows them to respond quickly and effectively. When security teams face a workplace disruption or pipeline leak, seconds matter. OSINT research helps organizations stay current on events at or around their properties.
For example, online social media monitoring can be an excellent way to get advance threat notice. A person might write a negative Facebook post about an upcoming expansion project. The same individual might then outline specific plans to derail the expansion physically. The mass (and constantly changing nature) of content and users across various social media platforms would make it impossible for a team of analysts to identify that threat actor manually. However, online social media monitoring platforms identify and inform security teams of the on-coming threat.
Enhanced Cost Savings
The benefits mentioned above have an unquestionable financial advantage. Enhanced real-time understanding of threats and increased response time efficiency means that organizations can anticipate less business downtime, fewer violations and fines from regulators, and better relations with the public.
Moreover, if an organization can deliver consistent earnings, investors respond with a lower risk premium on capital.
Oil and gas businesses often sport market capitalizations in the billions. Even small savings in an organization's cost of capital can unlock millions of dollars of market value. And additional savings in financing can free up cash to fund additional expansion projects.
A Closer Look at Navigator
Since open-source intelligence (OSINT) tools for businesses are our bread and butter, it’s worth looking at how our Navigator software can help the energy sector’s threat intelligence program.
Navigator monitors the internet 24/7 with custom search criteria to detect high-risk threats to an organization’s people, assets, and operations. Advanced filtering tools allow users to separate signals from the noise. And along with the largest social media platforms, the software scans more obscure online communities such as chan boards, forums, paste sites, and the dark web.
Navigator is a powerful threat intelligence platform designed to help organizations detect, identify, analyze, and respond to online threats. It provides a comprehensive and curated overview of all active threats and risks to an organization’s assets, operations, and people, providing a distinct advantage over would-be threat actors.
As an OSINT tool, Navigator can be used to:
- Help analysts track public opinion about particular energy products or technologies. This information can provide valuable insight into public acceptance and attitudes toward specific initiatives or technological advancements.
- Monitor competitive activities within the energy sector by tracking news reports on significant developments such as mergers and acquisitions or new product launches.
In short, with Navigator’s risk detection capabilities, organizations can quickly assess the likelihood and severity of any given threat actor and take appropriate action.
The Bottom Line on Corporate Threat Intelligence for the Energy Sector
Corporate threat intelligence provides numerous benefits for the energy sector by giving organizations real-time visibility into threats and vulnerabilities. By leveraging OSINT, energy companies can strengthen their security efforts. With an effective corporate threat intelligence program in place, energy companies are better equipped to protect themselves from disruption now and in the future.