Nexthink helps us to improve our IT operations and incident management, providing a continual comparison between the actual usage and optimal configuration of our 18,000 end-points. This enables our IT team to deliver a fantastic quality of service. IT analytics help us to easily measure and analyze data, generate dashboards and reports for our management and audit teams. We can make informed business decisions based on accurate information and deliver better services not only to our end-users, but our customers as well.
NEXTHINK HELPS ENERGY COMPANIES TO:
- Enhance reliability of critical services (ERP, SCADA systems, GIS etc.)
- Help maintain or meet NERC security standards
- Increase quality of service delivered and end-user satisfaction
- Reduce incidents by up to 25% and resolution time by up to 60%
- Reduce operational and transformational cost
- Detect targeted attacks and insider threats
Challenges and needs
The energy industry faces significant challenges from ongoing environmental sensitivity, changing policymaker attitudes, and consumer expectations. “This is in addition to protecting the security of critical generation and delivery infrastructure, as well as maintaining system reliability with aging physical assets,” said report author Kristian Steenstrup, Vice President and Gartner Fellow. Public and private utilities are looking at how technology can reduce cost, drive efficiencies, and enhance their competitive advantage. What was once considered a conservative, slow-moving industry has seen a wide range of innovation from within and outside the traditional IT organization.
“The future of the oil and gas industry, and its continued prosperity, will increasingly rely on high-performance computing and improved visualization,” said Dirk Smit, Vice President of Exploration Technology, and Chief Scientist for Geophysics at Shell.
Furthermore, in order to efficiently support the energy industry’s increasing reliance on wireless seismic acquisition systems, physics-based mass flow modeling, and physics-based stratigraphy forward modeling (just to name a few), IT departments are going to need a reliable and robust IT infrastructure.
At Nexthink, we believe that end-users (workers) stand in the middle of all IT services, and that the end-user perspective must be fully understood in order to improve the quality of those services. As IT infrastructures become more dynamic through virtualization and the use of cloud services, it is essential to have real-time analytics from the end-user perspective.
Raise your level of security risk detection and compliance
Companies of all sizes, all countries, and all industries, now operate in an interconnected ecosystem – as do highly sophisticated and economically motivated adversaries. Cyber security has become a major concern, particularly for energy companies. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in 2012, “40 percent of cyber attacks were on energy infrastructure.” And IT malfunction within an energy company may have serious consequences. For example, a critical business application, such as SAP or GIS, infected with malware can pose a serious risk to the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity.
Most companies employ a variety of products and technologies (e.g. firewalls, antivirus) to identify and thwart suspicious activity. The problem is that these disparate products don’t all work together, and don’t account for breaches due to configuration errors, technical caveats, or careless change/exception configurations. When these types of barriers are compromised, there are generally no logs and no visibility before the damage itself becomes apparent. Nexthink can help the US energy sector by adding end-user security analytics, and elaborating policies or controlling the compliance to existing in order to achieve or maintain NERC compliance.
Nexthink’s real-time end-user security analytics help security professionals identify intrusions and breaches that would otherwise remain undiscovered. Nexthink provides:
- Security compliance analytics to quickly discover where your business is most vulnerable
- Real-time notification of breaches, and the context of how they occurred, protecting your business against future attacks
- Visibility and insight into abnormal behavior that could represent potential threats
*PWC Oil and Gas Energy – Systems and IT
Be proactive and responsive when a problem occurs
With many critical services in use by the energy sector such as SCADA, ERP (SAP), PANs, control center, AMI technology stack, etc., energy companies need to ensure a functioning and reliable IT infrastructure. Any IT malfunction within an energy company may have serious consequences. Again, a critical business application such as SAP or GIS with performance or access issues can pose, as with malware, a serious risk to the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity.
Nexthink is a unique solution that allows you to solve issues quickly, and detect other users and devices that are likely to experience the same issue. Remediation can be completed proactively, reducing costs to the business and dramatically improving end-user satisfaction. “Nexthink is about discovering what you don’t know, by learning and detecting what is different from the norm. In a time when event notification overload can cause more harm than good, Nexthink uses context to ensure that only pertinent information is alerted,” wrote Rebecca Beach in The ITSM Review (Nov. 2014).
Furthermore, no matter how good your predictive capabilities are, problems will sometimes still occur. When faced with an issue, you need to evaluate the seriousness of the problem, how many users are likely to be affected, and what the most cost effective path forward is. Nexthink provides problem managers with tools allowing them to solve complex application and infrastructure problems. Use comprehensive IT analytics to proactively monitor your critical IT services to end-users, not only at the individual application level, but the entire infrastructure of your IT service.
For projects that can’t afford to fail
Although the energy may be a bit more cautious with cloud adoption, VDI, and other transformation projects due to security and reliability concerns, energy companies are starting to catch up thanks to solutions allowing a smoother and safer migration. According to Gartner, early implementers of utility cloud and SaaS include organizations interested in providing common applications and data services to multiple utility entities, such as cooperative associations and transmission system operators, smaller municipal and cooperatives.
Leading analysts report that over 90% of IT transformation projects get delayed and/or don’t deliver the expected benefits. Having full visibility into the end-user is critical to perform a successful transformation project. Users often use many different applications, and it can be incredibly difficult to manage their PCs and deal with the performance issues they bring. Nexthink helps you understand this new complexity and prepare for tomorrow’s workplace. Identify which applications and users are ready to migrate to your new IT environments, and manage change with minimum impact to your business. Avoid costly assumptions and mistakes in the planning and preparation of your project.