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Natural Resources

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Natural resources companies such as oil and gas, minerals, mining, and energy hold decades of valuable intellectual property and proprietary innovations. Protecting sensitive data is essential to prevent data breaches, maintain a competitive edge, and defend against cyber threats. Legacy systems often lack robust security, making cybersecurity more crucial than ever as there is a rising risk of ransomware, malware, and hackers. Cybersecurity measures in natural resource companies have never been more essential due to the growing risk of advanced attacks in today’s increasingly digital environment. To safeguard against data loss and stay competitive in the business landscape, enterprises must take a proactive approach to securing their sensitive data.  

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Hazardous Materials and Controlled Substances

Chemical companies must comply with EH&S regulations and manage controlled substances, which includes reporting information about hazardous materials, chemical weapons, emission details and employee health to government agencies. Leakage of such information can severely harm public safety, ruining an organization’s credibility and trust.

Supply Chain IT Loopholes

There are many external vendors and supply chain partners in chemical operations, causing malicious actors to target third-party networks in critical infrastructure. Actors can exploit the access that subcontractors may have to the primary organization and download critical data. This exploitation of trust in third party collaborators can impact organizations that are otherwise highly secure.  

Complex IP Protection

Companies must protect both company-owned and customer-specific IP across a complex web of global parties. This involves securing sensitive formulas, methods and designs within internal teams and external business partners, across JVs and suppliers. Such exchanges are often governed by stringent non-disclosure agreements, where failure would lead to contractual breaches and heavy financial losses.

Insider Risk

Privileged users, such as employees and contractors with access to proprietary formulas, production techniques, and client data, are essential in daily operations but can inadvertently become a high-risk vector. Often, the real threat lies not in the malicious misuse of data, but in these privileged users’ potential for human error and their lack of security training or awareness.

The Formula to Securing Chemical Company Data

To overcome the challenges surrounding regulatory compliance, third party risk and insider threats, chemical companies need to apply automation as well as enforce security controls to prevent unauthorized access. A comprehensive and proactive approach to data security should contain 

Distributed Policy Engine

A distributed policy engine can enforce centrally managed policies anywhere and everywhere. Need-to-know policies are consistently applied across all environments, regardless of user or location. This enables companies to manage complex access control and IP protection requirements across the organization, partners, and the extended enterprise.  

Data-Centric Security Enforcement

Through policy enforcement, companies can implement ABAC (Attribute-Based Access Control) and data-centric security controls such as digital rights management (DRM). This approach secures sensitive data at rest, in use and in transit throughout its lifecycle, mitigating risks associated with third-party networks and persistently protecting IP when it is shared. 

Automation and Prevention

Chemical companies can use the policy engine to automate security controls, preventing data breaches before they happen. Given the highly dangerous nature of controlled substances data, companies cannot allow leaks to happen in the first place. Therefore, a preventive strategy is far more effective and efficient compared to a “detect and respond” approach.  

Real-time Logging and Visibility

It is crucial for chemical companies to log and monitor all data access activity in real time. Enhanced visibility in a chemical company helps identify anomalies and potential risks in supply chain activities. This approach is also key in managing insider risks, especially among privileged users who have access to highly sensitive or proprietary chemical data. 


Regulatory Challenges

Natural resources companies need to manage vast volumes of data in accordance with stringent environmental, safety, industry and export control regulations.  

Regulations Include

Organizations with operations across California, the EU and Brazil would have to comply with GDPR, CCPA, or LGPD regulations and prevent unauthorized access of personal information. 

Data Sharing Risks

Oil and gas companies often need to share sensitive data with partners, regulators, and third parties, while safeguarding IP and confidential information. 

Types of Data Include

  • Vendors and partner data 
  • Financial data 
  • Product design   
  • Environmental and safety reports 

Insider and Third-Party Threats:

Companies need to be vigilant against insider threats and external partners due to the increased risk of leaked sensitive data and Intellectual Property.

Security Risks

Insider threats and external partners can come in many forms including employees, suppliers, contractors, and third-party vendors who have access to critical information. 

Trusted business partners can sometimes be a danger to companies as they account for 15-25% of insider threat incidents. 

Proactive Data Protection in the Natural Resources Sector

To overcome the challenges surrounding regulatory challenges, data sharing risks, insider and third-party threats, Natural Resource companies need to continuously monitor systems and enforce security controls to prevent unauthorized access. A comprehensive and proactive approach to data security should contain  

Policy-based Access Control

Access control and data security policies that enable need-to-know access and are up-to-date with various regulatory compliance standards.

Persistent Data Protection

Ensures the persistent protection of data during its entire lifecycle, from creation to sharing to disposal, authorizing access based on user roles, locations, and device attributes.

Continuous Monitoring of Data Access

Organizations must have real-time visibility into their data and network activity to identify potential threats. Monitoring and data access activities helps expose security vulnerabilities to be addressed and prevent breaches before they happen.

Regular Auditing

Regular auditing allows Natural Resource companies to identify and address vulnerabilities in their security controls earlier before a breach occurs. Audits should cover security policies, data access controls, data handling procedures, and employee training.

Automate Security & Compliance

Nextlabs’ policy management platform CloudAz, allows companies to create and implement data security policies. These policies can apply regulatory controls applicable to the user, data, and environment in real-time.

NextLabs Solution

Robust Data-Security Policies

Nextlabs’ policy management platform CloudAz, allows companies to create and implement data security policies. These policies can apply regulatory controls applicable to the user, data, and environment in real-time.

Data-Centric Security

NextLabs solutions provide data-centric security controls that protect sensitive data at all times, regardless of its location. These solutions can encrypt data at rest and in transit while allowing companies to define and enforce data access policies based on user roles, locations, and devices.

Centralized Real-time Monitoring

CloudAz’s centralized monitoring provides real-time visibility into data activity and events. This allows organizations to monitor data access and data usage to detect potential security incidents. CloudAz can provide alerts based on security policies, enabling rapid response to security incidents.

Smart Audit & Report

CloudAz provides centralized auditing and reporting capabilities that enable companies to demonstrate compliance and ensure the integrity of their data security policies. Compliance reports can include data access, data handling, policy enforcement, and insights into potential security gaps.

Automation with Preventative Controls

NextLabs’ platforms automate the enforcement of data access policies using preventative controls measures/strategies such as Dynamic authorization and Attribute Based Access Control. The platform improves data security by showing changes immediately and reducing the cost of policy management.

NextLabs Solution

CloudAz Centralized Policy Platform

NextLabs’ unified policy management platform, CloudAz, enables companies to author and centrally manage security policies that are enforced dynamically in real-time. It offers simplified policy authoring with business-friendly policy language, preserving policy integrity with approval workflows and version control. This streamlines the management of complex data protection requirements for chemical companies, protecting sensitive data anywhere and everywhere.  

CloudAz Dynamic Authorization Policy Engine

When a subject requests access to sensitive information on controlled substances, CloudAz’s Dynamic Authorization policy engine evaluates security policies and real-time attributes to make the authorization decision. This enables consistent policy enforcement across multiple applications, automatically preventing unauthorized disclosure of sensitive information, which is key to maintaining compliance and trust with employees, regulators, investors, and the public. 

SkyDRM Digital Rights Management

SkyDRM is an enforcer and DRM solution that enables secure collaboration among multiple vendors and supply chain partners. Users can apply digital rights like View, Edit, Print, and more, to files shared with external personnel. This ensures that sensitive data remains protected in cases where a network is comprised. Even when files are downloaded by subcontractors, SkyDRM enforces controls over what actions they can perform with the data. 

DAE Dynamic Data Masking

DAE (Data Access Enforcer) helps companies manage IP protection within the complex network of global collaborations, obfuscating the value of sensitive data in unauthorized fields. Centrally managed policies define masking patterns and rules to determine who, what, when, where, and why to mask field(s) in real-time. This secures sensitive information such as chemical formulas and methods shared among internal teams and external business partners. 

CloudAz Report Server

CloudAz’s centralized monitoring provides real-time visibility into data activity and events, enabling organizations to vigilantly monitor data access and usage, especially regarding potential security incidents involving privileged users. CloudAz helps identify anomalies and provide alerts when it comes to risky behavior. It addresses not only malicious data misuse, but also mitigates risks associated with human error and lack of awareness among insiders.  

NextLabs Resources