Engineering Firm Improved Cybersecurity Defense Through Cyber Risk Assessment

Cyber Risk Assessment improved large engineering firms’ cybersecurity defense capabilities, optimized IT systems, and enhanced scalability and cost-efficiency.

Stambaugh Ness (SN), a trusted provider of cybersecurity and IT services for the architectural and engineering (AE) industry, was engaged by a multi-office civil engineering firm with 250+ employees. The firm requested that SN conduct a cybersecurity risk assessment to evaluate its IT security infrastructure and services. The primary objective was to evaluate the firm’s security posture, identify vulnerabilities, and provide recommendations to bolster overall cyber threat protection.

Additionally, with the risk assessment, SN was asked to review the client’s current business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) solution to ensure optimization and confirm the strategy and commensurate security controls were sufficient to protect and safeguard backup data stored remotely.

Framework and Methodology

SN utilizes the 18 critical security controls established by the Center for Internet Security (CIS) as a primary reference framework for this assessment. These controls are actions that organizations can take to improve their overall security posture and effectively mitigate the most frequent cyberattacks on systems and networks. Additionally, SN assessed the firm’s systems and processes against industry-leading practices tailored for AE firms. The results of the assessment formed the basis for SN’s recommendations.

Scope of Work

SN conducted an in-depth analysis of the firm’s processes, technologies, security controls, and current BC/DR solutions in response to the client’s needs. The assessment specifically evaluated the security posture and involved reviewing existing controls, identifying gaps, and prioritizing recommendations to enhance the firm’s security practices.

“When instances arose where we were not familiar with something, Matt was able to clearly explain it to us and offer valuable suggestions.”

Key Findings

SN uncovered several gaps in the client’s cybersecurity infrastructure and practices, that needed attention to bolster their overall security posture and reduce what is commonly referred to as the attack surface.

Access Control Management emerged as a concern, as inadequate practices raised the risk of unauthorized access to sensitive data and systems. The absence of a robust Audit Log Management system also posed a significant challenge, making it difficult to effectively view, track, analyze, and correlate suspicious or anomalous network and endpoint activities. This gap exposed the organization to undetected threats.

The lack of a comprehensive Inventory & Control of Enterprise Hardware Assets system posed another weakness, exposing the firm to potential security breaches from unauthorized or unmanaged hardware assets while Network Monitoring & Defense practices needed alignment with best practices to mitigate the risk of unauthorized users and potential data breaches.

Recommendations & Results

SN provided recommendations to address each vulnerability to enhance the engineering firm’s cybersecurity posture. By collaborating with SN and implementing the recommended next steps, the engineering firm has significantly improved its security posture, including:

  • Improved Cybersecurity Defense: Better equipped to defend against a wide range of cyber threats, reducing the risk of future ransomware attacks.
  • Prioritized Project Plan – A project roadmap was developed, helping the firm prioritize and execute initiatives to bridge the identified gaps effectively.
  • Incident Response Readiness – Developing a comprehensive incident response plan has empowered the client to respond quickly and effectively to security incidents, minimizing potential harm and data breaches.


The collaboration between the engineering firm and SN fortified the organization’s cybersecurity defenses, making it better prepared to navigate the complex landscape of cybersecurity threats while maintaining data security.