Security and the cloud: Osprey Informatics featured in Dubai-based Pipeline Magazine

Discover the latest news about Osprey, and insights into AI, computer vision, the Industrial IoT and more. Learn how today’s industrial companies are driving operational improvements through technology adoption.

Excerpt from Pipeline Magazine, April 2014:

As recently as the past decade, the notion of companies exchanging documents over Gmail or GoogleDocs rather than the more ‘traditional’ method of emailing the files or couriering large hard disks between offices, was sneered at and assumed to be a ‘work-in-progress’. Things are quickly changing though.

For the global oil and gas industry, demand for better security at their facilities has always been of paramount importance. But in the age of highly-mobile IT and increasingly high-speed communication where split-second decisions can mean the difference between hemorrhaging otherwise healthy profits or worse, the loss of life, harnessing new monitoring technologies that afford companies a competitive and effective edge, has gained added momentum.

For Calgary, Canada based Osprey Informatics whose cloud-based intelligent visual monitoring platform, Osprey Reach, is widely used across Western Canada’s energy industry, this is a welcome trend.

“We recognise that today’s oil and gas workforce is mobile and needs access to information from anywhere,” says Michael von Hauff, Osprey’s CEO. “That’s why we built Osprey Reach as a cloud-based platform with a mobile-friendly, web interface. We also follow best practices to ensure that our customer’s site images, video and other data is kept as secure as possible.”

Osprey Reach gives authorised personnel visual access to well sites, facilities and  pipelines over any web-enabled device. The platform also delivers alerts and reports based on customer-defined events, such as a vehicle arriving at a gate.

Osprey Reach has been deployed by a whole host of North American and global oil and gascompanies, including Shell, Husky Energy and Sinopec Daylight Energy.

Osprey claims that its cloud architecture offers oil and gas companies several advantages over traditional DVR camera systems. As a cloud solution, video and images from one, several or even hundreds of sites can be accessed over any web browser through an easy-to-use interface.

Companies can easily scale the deployment across their operations and, with no software to install, can add a virtually unlimited number of users. The cloud model also makes massive computing power and data storage readily available, allowing the company to focus on customer-driven product development, rather than chasing its tail with infrastructure development.

From a system security perspective, Osprey says that it has invested heavily in locking down the Osprey Reach platform against attacks:

  • All images and video are sent from the onsite modem to the cloud via a secure, encrypted link.
  • Osprey's cloud infrastructure provider is best in in class, used by both NASA and Dropbox.
  • By separating the servers responsible for data acquisition from those serving clients, Osprey can carefully control the access control profiles used on each server. This allows the company to give certain users much deeper access to the system than others.
  • To protect access to the customer's web interface (front end), Osprey offers two-factor authentication as an option.
  • Mobile users have the same authentication requirements as desktop users - they must authenticate before accessing the user interface. As Osprey rolls out mobile apps in the near future, the company will use industry standard security software to support bring your own device (BYOD) policies.

According to Von Hauff, Osprey’s cloud architecture has been well received by its customers. “In a short period of time, we have seen oil and gas operations and security executives become comfortable with the cloud model, both in terms of business benefits and security.”

“In fact, our customers would rather see their images and videos stored securely in the cloud than sitting on a DVR at a site. By following best practices for cloud security, leveraging world-class infrastructure and offering two-factor authentication, we are able to address any security concerns that our customers may have.”

The company sees a massive global opportunity as oil and gas companies look to make their operations more secure and efficient. The company’s choice of a cloud architecture will allow it to scale to meet customer demand, while maintaining the high level of security required by the oil and gas industry.

View the article in the April 2014 digital edition of Pipeline Magazine:

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