Protecting Pipeline Management System Investment
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Requirements for Pipeline Management Systems (PMS) are becoming more demanding because of the business environment in which the pipelines have to be operated, but also the stricter regulations and expectations as far as HSE aspects are concerned. This means that there is a drive towards more and wider functionality that is required while at the same time the margins are under pressure because of the increasing costs and competition. Smaller numbers of panel operators are expected to have the pipeline perform better with less human errors. This means that the supporting systems have to perform routine tasks and should provide the operators with the right information and insight at the right moment in order to enable them to perform as required or expected. Pipeline operators are increasingly struggling to keep pace with cost effective maintenance and upgrades of their PMS to ensure compliance with today’s demanding application requirements and the requirements related to the IT environment in which the PMS is operating. Lagging behind in this endeavor not only potentially exposes their systems to emerging (cyber) security flaws and safety risks, but also may mean that customers cannot be served the way they expect to be served. A typical PMS in operation today has been largely tailored to the specific job it is deployed for. It lacks a standardized system foundation, in which applications can be plugged into in a modular way, as well as the design to ensure interoperability with the IT environment and the related policies. This poses increasing challenges for pipeline operators to maintain and upgrade their often complex system architecture and bespoke applications to prevent the system from breaches and security compromises.
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