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Bolstering Engineering Firm Cyber Defenses

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Earl Duby

CISO | Trusted Advisor | Board Member | Change Agent | FBI CISO Academy
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Engineering firms have long been vital assets to society. Their world is the foundation of our most critical structures and developments. With this importance comes the appearance of being an appealing target. It is crucial that engineering leaders protect their network from social engineering attacks to prevent the loss of sensitive data, operational integrity, reputation, and credibility. Network monitoring and routine security tests are a critical need in engineering firms in today’s world of cybersecurity threats.

Understanding the threat landscape

Why are Engineering Firms Targeted by Cybercriminals?

Cybercriminals are finding that engineering firms, with extremely sensitive intellectual property, are not supporting data security controls that keep up with the pace of adversarial innovation.

Kroll, a reputable risk and valuation digital solutions company, conducted a comprehensive survey of organizations in the engineering, construction, and infrastructure industry in 2016-2017. According to respondents, 63% of them had experienced a security risk within the past year. The numbers are more alarming when cyber-attacks are accounted for: over 75% of respondents encountered cyber breaches including phishing, worm viruses, and data deletion. The attackers mainly targeted customer files.

Engineering firm networks hold information about intellectual property, drawings, reports, and models or prototypes cybercriminals want to steal. Strengthening your engineering firm’s cybersecurity is more important than ever, simply due to the nature of your assets. Cybercriminals use a range of hacking techniques to infiltrate your systems: malware through email attachments your employees open daily, ransomware targeted to encrypt or lock your files, phishing your employees through email file links and attachments to gain access to sensitive data, and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks designed to devastate your devices and system infrastructure.

Vulnerability Management in Engineering Firms

Understanding your company’s security model risks and embracing continuous improvement in your cybersecurity will bring to light how a cyberattack might present itself to your business.

Cybersecurity tests assess the effectiveness of your firm’s data security measures and protocols. This is the first step to ensuring your company will not make a misstep.

Benefits of Vulnerability Management

1. Identifying the Vulnerabilities

Routine security tests start with routine system scans. Security scans find weaknesses in your system allowing you to proactively address these threats.

2. Security Measures Assessment

Establish measurements to continuously watch your security protocols. By creating routine measures, you will be able to gauge the effectiveness of your system’s security and adjust as needed.

3. Cybersecurity Compliance

Align your security practices through testing. This allows you to keep up with industry standards. Routine security tests help you reduce the risk of running into compliance problems.

4. Data Breach Prevention

Fortify your engineering firm against unauthorized access and potential data breaches. You can do this with routine security scans that identify vulnerabilities and address them faster.

5. Effective Response Time

Refine and improve your vulnerability response plan. Identifying security incidents efficiently and effectively ensures your security preparedness plan is current and meets current compliance requirements.

6. Resilience Strengthening for Engineering Firms

Testing ensures you are building a solid and evolving cybersecurity strategy to endure and recover from cybercriminals.

7. Financial Loss Prevention

Preventing financial loss ensures any business’s survival. For small to medium-sized engineering firms, this loss prevention means the difference between staying in business or permanently closing the doors. Routine security testing can prevent financial losses associated with data breaches, legal implications, and operational disruption.

8. Foster a Culture of Continuous Improvement

Routine security testing promotes a company culture of continuous improvement and prepares your employees to adapt and evolve with the ever-changing security protocols based on emerging threats and industry best practices.

overcoming challenges

Essential Security Testing Methods

Engineering firms that leverage routine security testing can efficiently assess the effectiveness of their security practices. A robust cybersecurity plan requires two competent testing methods.

  1. Vulnerability assessment tools are necessary to scan your firm’s network, systems, and software for any weaknesses cybercriminals will use to access your data. Automated vulnerability assessments ensure a robust cybersecurity plan by prioritizing and addressing security weaknesses before they can create damage.
  2. Penetration testing simulates real-world cyberattacks on your network. By simulating an attack, you will be able to gather insights into your firms’ vulnerabilities, identify any weaknesses, and adjust security gaps before they can be exploited.

Effortless Security for Engineering Firms

Boosting cybersecurity is crucial to preventing sensitive data loss, operational disruption, and harm to your firm’s reputation and credibility. The world is continuously changing, risks are increasing daily with innovative technology, and not routinely assessing your security is a potential downfall. Act now, not later, by letting our experts manage the heavy lifting of shoring up your digital defenses and take the first step towards a more secure future.

Learn how Auxiom can help


  • Earl Duby

    Earl Duby is a proven cyber security leader with over 25 years of experience leading security teams in multiple industries, ranging from large financial services companies to Fortune 150 manufacturers. Recently, Earl spent 6½ years as the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for Lear Corporation in Southfield, Michigan. Before that, he was Vice President of Security Architecture for Synchrony Financial as it spun off from General Electric. Earl has held several other security leadership roles and has earned Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK), SABSA Certified Foundation and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) certifications.

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