From a Chance Phone Call to a Partnership: How NodeZero Helped the City of St. Petersburg Improve Its Defenses

by | Jun 14, 2022 | Customer Stories

Customer at a Glance:


City of St. Petersburg


Municipal Government


As one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities, St. Pete offers abundant opportunities that attract and retain businesses, investors, residents, and talent. From startups to Fortune 500s, St. Pete supports businesses small and large with systems and structures to help them launch, sustain, and thrive. Downtown development is booming and housing is expanding as more and more people are drawn to this area for the lifestyle and room to grow it provides. More than 265,000 people make their home here, living across 100+ distinct neighborhoods throughout the city and contributing to a regional workforce of over 1.4 million.


11 months after the initial operation, St. Petersburg has cut their weaknesses across over 3,000 internal hosts by almost half (45%), and eradicated impacts from a potential Critical Infrastructure Compromise completely.

As the Chief Information Security Officer for the City of St. Petersburg, FL, Brian Campbell is always on the lookout for ways to elevate the city’s security posture. A cold phone call from Horizon3.ai led to a test run of NodeZero, with its capacity to save time and effort assessing and addressing potential weaknesses.

The Call

For some information security teams, the search for a new solution begins with an existing challenge. But for others, it’s a matter of staying alert for ways to continually improve successful processes.

“We had tool-sets and skill-sets that were pretty streamlined, humming along pretty well,” says Campbell. “But I always look for opportunity for improvement.”

Campbell didn’t plan on answering a call from Horizon3.ai, but when he did, he asked the tough questions and got answers that left him interested in hearing more.

“I’m typically contrarian with sales calls, but their responses were intriguing,” says Campbell. “I was asking very technical questions, and they were able to answer with technical adeptness that led me to the next level of interest.”

The Test Run

This initial chat led to a follow-up technical call for a deeper dive, and from there, Campbell put NodeZero through its paces using his own testing lab.

“I used to teach, and still have capture the flag games to test for finding hidden artifacts – some are extremely hard to find, so much so I had to go back to my own notes to find them. [NodeZero] found them all,” he says.

Working with Horizon3.ai

Campbell found his follow-up interactions with Horizon3.ai encouraging.

Campbell inquired about certain functions that had not yet been implemented for NodeZero, but rather than hearing a “no,” Horizon3.ai’s team said:  let’s figure out how to make that happen.

“I really enjoyed working with them. The intellectual, technical knowledge was quick and painless. I didn’t have to explain things,” says Campbell.

He also was encouraged by conversations with CEO Snehal Antani.

“The impression I had was that there was real compassion for fixing problems in cybersecurity,” says Campbell.

Saving Time and Effort

Campbell performs his own pentests – it’s one of his areas of expertise – so NodeZero had a direct impact on saving him time and energy in his workload.

“NodeZero allowed us to cover a wider base in a shorter period of time,” says Campbell. “It brings to the table ease of use and thoroughness of investigation. I don’t want to say it’s a one-click solution, but it’s pretty close to it. It provides relatively quick, holistic vulnerability testing.”

After Campbell ran the initial op, St. Petersburg cut their weaknesses by 45% over 3,000 internal hosts.

The Team Behind the Product

Campbell says that while he never feels 100% secure as bad actors continuously evolve and improve their practices, NodeZero gives him more confidence in his current security profile.

“NodeZero helps you discover problems you didn’t know you had,” says Campbell. “The product itself is user friendly but the product is 65 or 70 percent of the equation – the team behind it makes it really valuable to me.”

How NodeZero Can Help?

For more information on NodeZero’s functionalities through continuous autonomous penetration testing, visit https://www.horizon3.ai/nodezero/.

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