Industry Solutions: Energy

Transformation to support your evolution

The energy industry is undergoing a massive amount of innovation and transformation to evolve competitively and to meet changing customer expectations of clean, renewable energy. While the power source itself is undergoing a revolution, business processes must adapt to keep pace with the changing market and consumer expectations. GCA can help you modernize your internal environment to enhance overall efficiencies and maintain your reputation as a reliable provider that put the consumer’s energy and information needs at the forefront of your efforts. Whether you’re an energy organization who has yet to start their Identity and Access Management journey or you are looking to better refine how access is managed, GCA has the expertise and desire to help you achieve your vision.

How you benefit from allowing GCA to help you...

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Capitalize on strategies designed to optimize your resources while achieving your market strategy

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Expedite your time to value and ensure your investment is yielding the highest amount of efficiency, innovation, and compliance protection.

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Track what actions are taken with each of your designated privileged accounts and ensure that only authorized users are gaining access to critical systems and data.

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Enhance the effectiveness of your specialized IAM framework.

With GCA, we can be assured that our IAM program is designed, operating and moving forward in the most optimal way to serve our clinician and physician user base. The quality of their work and the professional relationship that we have with them is a true value-add to our organization.
Scott Breece, - CISO, Community Health Systems

The energy industry is undergoing a massive amount of innovation and transformation both as an attempt to evolve competitively and to also meet changing customer expectations of clean, green energy

While the energy itself is being revolutionized, business processes must adapt to keep pace with the changing market and consumer expectations. Energy companies are now shifting focus to modernize their internal environment to enhance overall efficiencies and maintain their reputation as reliable providers that put the consumer’s energy and informational needs at the forefront of their efforts. Additionally, regulations in this sector, such as NERC/CIP and FERC, continue to increase in complexity due to the fast-changing technological environment. The concept of ‘least privileged user’ is commonly used to restrict access to systems and data.

Energy companies are adopting new software at a faster rate in order to promote efficiencies, and like all technology, this presents increasing amounts of risk.

In addition to the risk of exposed consumer data, energy companies face threats of cyber attacks that could compromise energy transmission and distribution with implications far exceeding simple inconveniences. In fact, in a number of reports, the energy sector has swiftly emerged at the top of the list of industries likely to be targeted for cyber attacks. It’s daunting to think about the potential economic impact of T&D systems shutting down, not to mention the impact on human life.

As energy companies embrace the modern era of technology, they must shift their focus to incorporating management of cyber risk as a core business focus rather than just another IT initiative.

A comprehensive, seamless system of internal protections is the best defense against common threats, and this all begins with IAM (Identity Access Management). But before we get into what is IAM, let’s first delve into why it has become so relevant.

Let’s analyze a couple of staggering statistics that put the threat to businesses in quantifiable terms: an estimated 40% of user access rights are not removed upon termination, increasing risk exposure by a factor of 23. Conservatively, it takes an average of 197 days to detect a data breach. Over 60% of breaches originate from insiders due to either inadvertent misuse of data/access or malicious intent. Controlling access to the industry’s most high risk systems, and being able to quickly and effectively revoke that access upon real-time notification of a threat is paramount to threat mitigation, compounded by the importance of continuous energy availability for our nations.

Identity and Access Management; IAM gives you visibility and control into who is accessing your applications and data, how they are gaining that access, helps you to create controls around whether they should have it, then employs procedures and alerts to ensure that those policies are upheld.

It does this all through automated processes, removing the need for tedious manual processes that are time consuming to the business and increase the likelihood of risk exposure through human error. Delving deeper, a company can employ additional securities around the identities with privileged access that are most likely to be the target of a hack and ensure that those accounts are protected. But even a low risk user with minimal access can be a high risk to security if the organization does not know where their data repositories reside, what’s in them, and who has access to them.

Moving away from the ominous, over-hanging fear of cyber attacks, lets analyze the regulatory environment and related business impact: if you’re a member of the energy services community, you have the (dis)pleasure of ensuring compliance with a number of regulations such as FERC, NERC CIP, and SOX. As one of the most highly regulated industries, energy companies have a tall order in order to remain compliant and the task can often cripple efficiencies, as well as lead to unnecessary spending. Finding the right IAM platform is imperative to enabling a successful organization and increasing efficiencies rather than decreasing them in the presence of heavy regulations.

But how does it really help to ensure compliance? By deploying a governance solution that manages internal identities, companies remove the threat of human error in access granting and all access is automatically certified against company policy while being readily available for audit purposes. This solution can even analyze company repositories to find sensitive data and provide visibility into who has been granted access, as well as through what group (or matrix of groups) they gained access. From there, access can easily be revoked and policies created to automatically control all future provisioning.

Let’s take a hypothetical look at a realistic potential scenario:

You have an energy company that is committed to evolving in the innovative fast-lane of modern utility companies and invests heavily in technological advancements to do so. The company takes pride in its image that it has worked hard to create within its community.
The current processes are done manually due to the fact that their legacy systems cannot perform automated processes across their entire ecosystem and internal employees are being bogged down with never-ending help desk tickets. Meanwhile, Excel spreadsheets are passing between departments to certify employee access for audit purposes (a task that will take nearly the entire amount of time delegated before they have to turn around and start all over again for the next audit). All of these tasks increase the risk for the company, take up unnecessary and excessive amounts of man-hours, and are inefficient to the overall innovation of the company. Now imagine that all of these processes are automated – employee access is automatically provisioned in accordance to a pre-determined role policy, access reviews can be performed at the drop of a hat, and all of a company’s sensitive data is accounted for at any given time. Imagination can be your reality with GCA.

So by this point, it’s apparent that a sophisticated Identity Access Management platform is a wise investment for the current and future of Energy companies… but now what?

A quick Google search yields more results for software providers and partner consulting firms than the number of political signs on a highway during election season. So how do you know what you need and if it is right for your environment? At GCA, we don’t just understand the needs of the energy industry: we understand that each company is unique in how they are equipped to handle them and need a strategy designed to optimize their resources while achieving their market strategy. Our professionals understand that IAM isn’t just an IT issue, it’s a business building block that has the power to propel and protect your business. By seamlessly guiding you through the phases of evaluation, implementation, and deployment, we expedite the time to value and ensure that your investment is yielding the highest amount of efficiency, innovation, and compliance protection. The best in the market deserves the best technology services experience, and that is what we promise to offer.

For example, with our Privileged Access Management (PAM) and Identity Governance & Administration (IGA) solutions, GCA can control who is able to gain logical access to your critical servers. With our IGA tools, we have the ability to certify users via user access review and provision/de-provision access to your most important systems.

Our PAM portfolio includes tools with scanning capabilities that can be used to discover logical assets with access to your corporate network. Once we have conducted an asset discovery test and determine exactly what is important to your organization (and what isn’t), your privileged accounts can be cataloged and vaulted. What’s more, our solution allows you to track what actions are taken with each of your designated privileged accounts and ensure that only authorized users are gaining access to critical systems and data.

Whether you are an energy organization who has yet to start their Identity & Access Management journey or you are looking to further refine how access is managed, GCA has the expertise and the desire to help you achieve your vision!

Finally, GCA has years of experience working extensively with a variety of energy clients and have been accredited to understanding what works or what doesn’t within the context of how an energy organization operates. With this deep understanding, we can hit the ground running and ensure our solutions work with even the most complex of organizations. GCA has strategically partnered with a variety of world-class IAM technology providers to deliver state-of-the-art IAM tools that greatly enhance the effectiveness of your customized IAM framework.

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