5 Business Critical Things Every Energy Company Should Know About Their Software and Cybersecurity – Part 3

Part 3 – Why Software Licenses Should Include Disaster Recovery

The US digital economy has seen a triple-digit increase in cybersecurity threats with a wartime posture among bad actors that is only accelerating the overall trend toward increasing sophistication, size, and volume of cyberattacks. As energy leaders navigate mounting cybersecurity challenges, key concerns are top of mind including how to ensure business continuity, keep business data safe, and thwart rapidly growing attacks with shrinking IT budgets. W Energy Software’s manager of cybersecurity, Michelle Pellon, brings her voice of authority to our blog where she presents an essential checklist for protecting your software supply chain by working with vendors who understand the risks, have a disaster recovery plan, implement certified security controls, and continuously collaborate with security partners.


These are dangerous days in the digital oilfield. Our digital pipelines and oil & gas business software represent a vast, complex, and constantly evolving ecosystem that extends from the wellhead and back-office systems to critical midstream infrastructure spanning US basins. Custody transfer and hydrocarbon measurement, well, that’s the oilfield’s cash register and digital vulnerabilities up and down the value chain put your revenue at risk. With record-high commodity prices and windfall profits, oil & gas companies are looking even better to ransomware attackers, not to mention a geopolitical situation where President Biden has just recently advised may spillover into US cyberspace.

Over the course of this blog series, I am recommending that you challenge each and every vendor in your software supply chain with a core set of questions that will reveal their readiness to prevent and manage the impact of cyber-attacks. In my first two posts, these challenges centered on vulnerabilities in third-party components (i.e., the bill of materials your vendors should provide without you having to beg for it) and the people, processes, and tech your vendors have in place to protect your data. Today, I am asking you to challenge your vendors further by asking them: what is your plan for recovering data and ensuring my oil & gas business continuity if your systems, software, and data infrastructure are successfully attacked?

Let’s Talk About the Digital Elephant in the Room

When it comes to information security readiness and cyber-resilience, a lot of focus is placed on prevention with many IT teams believing that if you throw enough tech and security policy at the problem successful cyber-attacks can never happen. I am in the camp of plan for the worst, hope for the best. Information security readiness goes well beyond prevention, which unfortunately most oil & gas software vendors have yet to master. Highly effective readiness includes having a plan in place to rapidly recover from a successful cyber-attack.

In oil & gas, we’ve become familiar with the term “big data,” which is the increasing volume, variety, and velocity of information in the oilfield. Same idea in cyberspace – big threats to your business continuity are emerging from the increasing volume, variety, and velocity of cyber-attacks. So, the elephant in the room that most of us like to avoid talking about is not if, but when your team and the software supply chain you rely on will be impacted.

6 Impact Areas for Oil & Gas Teams

There are many ways a successful cyber-attack can damage your business, starting with the immediate impact that a complete loss of data will have on organizational output. If you are an E&P, that means your land department has to fallback to managing leases and tracking obligations by sifting mountains of paperwork. Field data capture comes to an immediate halt, and you instantly lose visibility into production, revenue, and lease operating expenses. Oh, and that on-premise production accounting, division order, and revenue disbursement software you license has been completely wiped out with no data backup safety net from the vendor, leading to organizational gridlock while all of your interest owners go unpaid.

Cyber-attacks can threaten your capacity to even continue operating, which has far-ranging negative impacts not just internally, but also in terms of reputational and brand damage. Our industry is built on reputation and the trust we place in oilfield transactions, all of which suffer long-lasting damage from loss, theft, or corruption of your stakeholder’s data as well as the spillover (spread of malware or vulnerabilities) into your partners and customers.

And it only gets worse from the legal and regulatory impact of cyber-attacks, which can result in fines and other costs of not being compliant with government agencies for the period your organization is down.

Finally, there is the financial impact beyond lost oil & gas revenue, such as higher cybersecurity insurance premiums (if you are lucky enough to have any) and the cost of incident response services to recover your business continuity.

W Energy Software’s Disaster Recovery Plan

Every vendor in your software supply chain should provide your oil & gas team with assurance that no matter what happens on their end, your data and ability to continue operating is a priority. Disaster recovery should be part of the license in my view, just as important as the core business functionality you pay for. A solid cybersecurity insurance policy is part of the solution but just like trying to get life insurance, if a vendor’s information security health is questionable, they may not even qualify or be forced to pay outrageous premiums that they pass back to customers/you.

W Energy Software not only has great cybersecurity insurance, but we also know exactly what healthy information security looks like, build cyber-readiness into our DNA, and ace our insurance application every year. But vendors must do more.

W Energy Software delivers software as a service, or SaaS, hosting 100% of our solutions and customer data on the world-class Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud.  When your solution is delivered as a SaaS solution, the reliability of the security apparatus that protects customer data is wholly the responsibility of the vendor versus on-premise oil & gas software who completely dodge the responsibility of ensuring data and business continuity.

We provide our clients with robust disaster recovery options using technologies such as AWS Simple Storage Service (S3) and Cross-Region Replication. We provide daily backups of your oil & gas business data, stored in geographically distributed locations online and physical media, and – this is important – we test our backups to ensure they’ll work when needed.

W Energy Software goes even further to help recover clients from a cyber-attack by minimizing spillover. Each client’s data is completely isolated, protected with bank-grade encryption, and only accessible over the web using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), so one impacted client can have less impact on others.

One major advantage of W Energy Software is our unified energy-focused SaaS ERP. If you rely on 6 software vendors to run your oil & gas business then that leaves a lot of room for potential threats to creep into your organization and, as I’ve argued throughout this series, the maturity of information security among most energy software providers is very low. On the other hand, upstream and midstream clients of W Energy Software can minimize their software supply chain footprint with a single vendor through our integrated suite of oil & gas solutions, all while running their business on the latest technology optimized for the cloud and safeguarded with the right measures to protect and even rapidly recover from cyber-disasters.

Be sure to read or revisit my introduction to this series where I identified the growing threats in the digital oilfield and stay tuned for my next blog on teaming up with cybersecurity partners to force multiply information security advantages.



About W Energy Software

Headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, W Energy Software offers the oil & gas industry’s only unified ERP solution built for the cloud that is relied on by more than 130 upstream and midstream companies to accelerate business performance, improve operational efficiency, and drive costs down.  W Energy Software combines precision-built software in one extendable cloud-based workspace with an intimate understanding of the oil & gas business to deliver solutions that offer flexibility, affordability, and continuous upgrades.  Unlike other ERP software that loosely ties together a mix of legacy solutions and fragmented technologies, W Energy Software designed a unified upstream and midstream ERP platform to seamlessly track oil, gas, and NGL from the wellhead through transportation and marketing, eliminating data silos as well as the burden and costs of maintaining multiple systems.  With W Energy Software, oil & gas companies stay lean and agile with the tools they need to adapt to market changes and meet evolving customer needs head-on, all while gaining the confidence that their business is running on the latest technology. For more information, please visit www.wenergysoftware.com.





Michelle Pellon, DevOps Information Security Manager at W Energy Software

A native of Houston, Michelle began her IT career as a programmer on the Human Genome Sequencing Project. Her passion for security quickly shaped her career as she moved into a critical role working with Federal law enforcement teams to fight child exploitation online. Michelle directs the DevOps and Cybersecurity strategy for W Energy Software, connecting corporate operational and security objectives to business initiatives. Additionally, she shares her message about evolving how people think about and approach security, privacy, and trust through speaking engagements at various conferences and other events. When not engaged in security research and advocacy, she is also an accomplished sailor with the Houston Yacht Club.


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Hayes Luger

Vice President of Professional Services

Hayes has over 17 years of experience in the Energy and Financial Services space driving high growth organizations while focusing on operational improvements and delivery excellence. She earned a Bachelor of Liberal Arts from the University of Mississippi.

Specialties: Management / Technology Consulting, Strategy, Disciplined Sales Execution, Account / Customer Success Management, Relationship Management, Delivery Methodologies & Best Practices, Estimating Models & Frameworks, SaaS & On-Premise Software Implementation, Program / Project Management, Team Building & Leadership, and P&L Management.


Chief of Staff

Jonathan joined W Energy Software in 2022, bringing more than 10 years of experience in corporate finance and financial services. Prior to joining W, he served on the FP&A team at Magellan Midstream Partners, where he focused on business optimization and cost containment. As Chief of Staff, Jonathan’s current responsibilities include strategic planning, project management, and decision support within W’s executive team. He graduated with Magna Cum Laude honors from Northeastern State University, earning a B.B.A. in Finance. Furthermore, he holds an MBA from Louisiana State University Shreveport and a master’s degree from Dallas Theological Seminary.

Rachel Collins

Chief Executive Officer

Rachel Collins joins WES with over 25 years of organizational transformation experience. Prior to WES, Rachel was the General Manager of Insite360, the software and analytics division of Gilbarco Veeder-Root (a NYSE:VNT operating company). Prior to Insite360, Rachel served as General Manager and SVP at Aurea Software (ESW Capital/Trilogy), where she directly managed several acquisitions including ista NA, Lyris, MessageOne, AlertFind, Artemis, Jive software operations, and Jive’s FedRAMP program. Rachel is responsible for over a billion annual recurring revenue since 2013. She also founded a boutique consulting firm focused on java development and middleware integration serving the energy, financial services, and healthcare sectors.

Rachel graduated with Cum Laude honors from LSU, with a B.S. in Information Systems and Decision Sciences. In 2019, Rachel graduated with Magna Cum Laude honors from Colorado State University Global, with a Master’s Degree in Finance.


Chief Financial Officer

Michael earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Kentucky and holds an MBA from the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management. He began his career at LaSalle Bank in Chicago, later transitioning to an asset management firm, leading efforts to optimize internal processes and manage data flow across the organization. Michael has over 20 years of experience in FP&A, accounting, information systems management and capital markets.

Andy James

Chief Product Officer

Andy has 30 years of oil and gas experience which have been focused on technology leadership roles. He has extensive experience in commercial software delivery, product management, and product life cycle. Mr. James joined W Energy Software in January 2023, prior to which he served 10 years at IHS Markit where he led the global software development organization for the upstream oil and gas business. Key contributions include leading the geoscience software organization, migration of key platform technologies to the cloud, and Agile development transformation. Mr. James also spent 20 years in global roles in London, Holland, and Houston with Halliburton, including stints with KBR, Halliburton Integrated Solutions, and finally Landmark Graphics.

Vipul Bansal

Chief Technology Officer

Vipul Bansal brings in 20+ years of technology experience helping organizations build scalable solutions. In his role as VP of Engineering, Vipul leads the platform engineering teams delivering robust ERP solutions and plays a critical role in helping W Energy remain at the forefront of innovation. Prior to joining W Energy, Vipul was Head of Engineering for Seven Lakes Technologies building truly cloud-native SaaS solution for oilfield production, field operations and production accounting. Vipul received his Master’s from Wayne State University and holds a Bachelor’s in engineering from Sardar Patel University.

Whitney Braden

Chief Human Resources Officer

Whitney joined W Energy Software in 2013 and currently serves as the Vice President of Human Resources. She is passionate about building strategies and initiatives focused on solving business and people challenges. Whitney earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Rogers State University and a Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management from Oklahoma State University.

David Craig

Senior Vice President of Client Experience

David has over 20 years of experience in Upstream Oil & Gas spanning the IT strategy, design and implementation disciplines as well as extensive experience in data warehousing, business analytics, revenue accounting, production accounting and land applications. He earned a BA in Business Administration and Management and his MBA from Baylor University.

Frank Fuda

Vice President of Sales

Frank joined the W Energy team in 2020 and currently serves as Associate Vice President of Sales. He has 14 years of experience in various sales roles and enjoys helping clients across the oil and gas industry achieve strategic transformation. Frank earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Baylor University.

Aubree Witt

Business Operations Coordinator

Aubree joined W Energy Software in 2018 and currently serves as the Executive Administrator for the Leadership Team. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelors in Sociology and comes with 10 years of administrative experience.

Stacey McCroskey

Head of Product Strategy

Stacey McCroskey, Ph.D., PMP joins WES with over 25 years’ experience in both corporate and educational settings. She has focused on software products and services in the oil & gas, construction, and financial services industries. She is a management professional with global experience in strategic planning, product leadership, project and change management, product development, and employee development.  Stacey has also worked as a college professor and Dean teaching management, leadership, organizational behavior, and project management courses.

Stacey earned her undergraduate degree and Master of Science in Accounting Degrees from Oklahoma State University. She also has a Master of Arts in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and her Doctor of Philosophy in Organization and Management from Capella University. She has her Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification from the Project Management Institute.

Sean Giese

Board Member

Sean joined True Wind in 2018 and is a Director of Envoy Global, Sysnet Global Solutions, and W Energy Software. Prior to joining True Wind, Sean spent over a decade at Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV) where he led and managed growth equity investments and buyouts within technology. Sean was involved with various investments across the technology sector including Actifio, Cradlepoint, Datto, ExtraHop, Fuze, GoDaddy, Twilio, XRS and several others. Prior to joining TCV, Sean was with Deutsche Bank in the Technology Mergers & Acquisitions group.

Sean holds a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from University of California, Los Angeles.

Mike Crest

Board Member

Mike brings more than 25 years of IT industry experience where he was most recently CEO and President at Optanix, a software and solution provider for large enterprise collaboration and communications technology, where he led the team through a successful sale of the company in 2021.

Prior to joining Optanix, Mike served as CEO of Arcserve, a provider of data backup and recovery solutions, where he led the team that took the company independent. Before that, he held several executive level roles at CA Technologies, one of the largest independent software corporations in the world, and spent eight years in technology sales leadership roles at one of the largest resellers in the world.

Mike holds B.S. degrees in Business Administration, Computer Science and Communications from Minnesota State University.


Board Member

Sam joined True Wind in 2021. Prior to joining True Wind, Sam was co-CFO of Active Interest Media. Prior to his role at Active Interest Media, Sam worked at Wind Point Partners, a private equity firm, and in the Financial Sponsors Group at Citigroup.

Sam holds a B.A. in International Studies and a minor in Latin American Studies from Johns Hopkins University.

Mike Anello

Board Member

Mike Anello is dedicated to helping growth-oriented businesses maximize their operations by applying his extensive sales and marketing expertise to portfolio companies.

Prior to founding M33, Mike was a member of the ops team at Valor Equity Partners, where he focused on implementing sales and marketing best practices across the firm’s portfolio. Before this, Mike led business development for Axium Software (acquired by Deltek), where he led acquisitions and helped double the size of Axium’s sales and marketing engine in less than two years. Mike has worked with several companies to optimize and streamline their sales and marketing efforts, including Illumio Software, Tesla Motors, Manduka, Porch, and Project44. He was also a cofounder of Cleverlayover. Mike, Gabe and Brian first worked together at General Catalyst. There Mike built the sourcing team and focused on software and healthcare opportunities.

Mike graduated from the University of Notre Dame summa cum laude. He walked on to the Notre Dame Football Team, eventually earning a scholarship and two-time Academic All-American Honors. Mike received his MBA from Harvard Business School. While there, he partnered with Shikhar Ghosh and Mark Roberge to build a playbook around best practices for scaling sales teams from $10 million to $100 million in revenue.

Mike’s passion for giving back led to the launch of Boston’s inaugural St. Baldrick’s Event, a pediatric oncology research foundation. Since then he has led more than 10 events in four cities.

Peter Waldroop

Board Member

Pete Waldroop has served as executive, CEO, and Board member for numerous organizations over his 26 year career in IT and software.  Mr. Waldroop has founded such successful organizations as Waterfield Energy, Capitalize Consulting, and Quorum Business Solutions. Mr. Waldroop’s commitment to client service now extends to cyber security though Asgard Cyber Security.

Rachel Collins

Board Member

Rachel Collins joins WES with over 25 years of organizational transformation experience. Prior to WES, Rachel was the General Manager of Insite360, the software and analytics division of Gilbarco Veeder-Root (a NYSE:VNT operating company). Prior to Insite360, Rachel served as General Manager and SVP at Aurea Software (ESW Capital/Trilogy), where she directly managed several acquisitions including ista NA, Lyris, MessageOne, AlertFind, Artemis, Jive software operations, and Jive’s FedRAMP program. Rachel is responsible for over a billion annual recurring revenue since 2013. She also founded a boutique consulting firm focused on java development and middleware integration serving the energy, financial services, and healthcare sectors.

Rachel graduated with Cum Laude honors from LSU, with a B.S. in Information Systems and Decision Sciences. In 2019, Rachel graduated with Magna Cum Laude honors from Colorado State University Global, with a Master’s Degree in Finance.


Chief Operating Officer

Sally has spent 20+ years in IT, Commercial Software and Consulting focused on Operations and Customer Success.  Sally most recently was the VP of Customer Success at Gilbarco Veeder-Root (a NYSE:VNT operating company), a retail petroleum equipment manufacturer and technology platform with a customer base of more than $450mm in annual revenues in their Retail Solutions organization. Sally joined W Energy Software in April of 2023 and will leverage her extensive experience in managing large Services & Customer Success organizations to drive efficiencies through automation and build cross functional synergies to support our growth and scale.   


Head of Product Management

Hari is a highly experienced professional who over 18 years has consistently demonstrated a passion for leveraging technology to achieve exceptional business outcomes in the Energy industry. Prior to W Energy Software, Hari as the Director of product management was pivotal in shaping the JOYN product line and ensuring its alignment with overall business strategy making Seven Lakes Technologies a market leader in oilfield operations and data capture. As an offshore oilfield engineer in the North Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, Hari brings a unique perspective to the Energy software industry. 

Hari graduated from the MIT Sloan School of Management with an MBA. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Materials & Metallurgical engineering from the world-renowned Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai.

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