Team Building for Better Security

Cyber tabletop exercises are a great way to evaluate how various roles within your organization respond to cyber incidents, and what responsibilities individuals and teams have during a crisis or emergency that requires swift and decisive action to be taken.  This exercise should be a dynamic learning experience, so to ensure this, active participation from all attendees is essential.  

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Be Prepared!

The purpose of this activity is not to gauge the effectiveness of any existing policies or procedures, but to bring awareness and highlight potential flaws within the client's incident response planning. 

Objectives

Organizations never want to be facing a security incident, but being prepared should that time come is extremely important.  Whether you’re conducting this exercise with internal resources, or engaging an independent and trusted 3rd party such as Secure Ideas, it is a good idea to conduct a tabletop exercise at least once a year, if not more.  

 

Anyone who supervises critical organizational departments or bears responsibility for ensuring business continuity should engage in a tabletop exercise to better understand where issues in policy might exist, and where updates can be implemented to reduce attack surface and enable executive personnel to act rapidly should the need arise.  

 

Some key objectives for tabletop exercises include:

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Critical Thinking

Cybersecurity Tabletop Exercises are an effective way to put critical thinking skills into practice in a low-risk, controlled environment.  Cyber security professionals benefit greatly when they take part in one of these exercises; it allows them to build up their confidence as well as familiarize themselves with different strategies for tackling security threats. 

 

As part of the exercise, participants brainstorm solutions and practice scenarios with personalized response plans that are based on predetermined risks and scenarios. Tabletop exercises offer a unique opportunity to quickly identify existing problems, pay attention to potential red flags, and create actionable steps for avoiding future threats.  Furthermore, these simulations can be used to troubleshoot cyber incidents and train team members in problem-solving approaches.  By taking part in these exercises, security professionals have the chance to hone their skillsets while learning more about their current processes and creating a strong foundation for continued development.

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Identifying Procedures

Cybersecurity Tabletop Exercises are a great way to identify the procedures for handling simulated attacks and determine how teams will react in certain scenarios.  This exercise can help bring a business' Cyber Incident Response Plan to life and allow teams to practice key actions identified in the plan.

 

Through this process, clients can better understand their response capability and develop plans on how they will deal with various types of attacks.  In order to get the most value out of tabletop exercises, identifying the client's procedure for handling the attack is essential.  Clients should focus on understanding their current Cyber Incident Response Plan, discuss the specific steps they would take during a Cybersecurity Tabletop Exercise, as well as any changes that need to be made going forward.

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Teamwork & Decision Making

Working together with different departments of an organization is essential to successful decision making.  Cybersecurity tabletop exercises provide a great opportunity to bring together groups from all areas of the business together and have important conversations.

 

By mixing personnel from various departments, such as security, IT, compliance, legal and HR, one can identify potential gaps in cybersecurity practices or defense strategies.  This collaborative approach helps strengthen communication between teams and provides valuable insight for decision-making.  Tabletop exercises offer a structured way to help organizations identify risks and develop solutions for a safer environment.

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Assessment of Impact

Cyber threats and attacks can have worrying implications for individuals and organizations alike.  Cybersecurity Tabletop Exercises are designed to assess the various risks associated with such an incident and help outline a response plan that is tailored to individual business needs.  Through these simulations, it is possible to gain insights into the capability of IT teams to respond swiftly and strategically, as well as being able to identify potential areas for improvement or additional security measures needed for the system.  Recognizing the potential damages inflicted by cyberattacks is key in understanding their reach and effect, so having security plans in place should be priority in any organization's digital strategy.
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Growth and Improvement

Cybersecurity Tabletop Exercise is a key component in improving incident response best practices.  By testing emergency plans and protocols in a safe, virtual environment, potential risks can be identified so that organizations can take preventative measures and create tailored incident response plans.

 

Tabletop exercises are an essential part of creating accurate response plans for a variety of different incident scenarios by identifying areas for growth and improvement.  Engaging personnel from all organizational levels enables teams to better understand their role during an incident and collaborate to ensure efficient resolution.  This collaboration helps to ensure that all facets of security are properly tested and improved where needed, leading to increased confidence during real-world incident response scenarios.

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Validating Resources

Cybersecurity Tabletop Exercises are invaluable for testing capabilities and validating response plans.  These exercises, which involve teams working together to address a simulated attack, require that appropriate resources are available ahead of time.  This may include IT Security and Network Engineers, Cybersecurity personnel, as well as external vendors with technical expertise in areas such as forensics and virus remediation.

 

Without these essential respondents adequately prepared prior to the exercise, it can be difficult to accurately assess whether an organization is prepared to respond efficiently to an attack.  By conducting a Cybersecurity Tabletop Exercise and validating that the right resources are in place, organizations can ensure they’re ready for whatever comes their way.

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Role and Responsibility Evaluations

Cybersecurity Tabletop Exercises provide a great opportunity for individuals and teams in an organization to understand their roles and responsibilities in terms of cybersecurity.  By discussing potential incidents, the structure of different teams, and the support provided by both, participants can evaluate their current state as well as develop strategies for how to actually respond to an incident should it ever occur. 

 

Through such exercises, every individual and team is afforded the chance to know exactly what their role is in an organization’s cybersecurity efforts, from providing technical assistance in developing network security systems, to carrying out investigations on known threats.  Cybersecurity Tabletop Exercises are invaluable in clarifying the particular roles and responsibilities within organizations.

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How does it work?

Secure Ideas will develop a simulated incident scenario based on in-depth discussions with your team.  Running through the simulation will provide possible real world incident examples that could be experienced.  Once created, we will then take participants through the scenario.  We'll engage client personnel (we can conduct this exercise with both executive stakeholders and/or non-executive personnel) to work through a predetermined scenario in order to highlight existing vulnerabilities and help prepare for a potential cyber threat, as well as to evaluate existing incident response plans through a cooperative discussion based on the chosen simulated scenario.

 

Attendees will be placed into various groups, with each group representing a different departmental leadership position within an organization.  Each group will be encouraged to engage in the evaluation and assessment of current internal incident response procedures, with the intent to dissect your organizational approach, and determine all prospects when faced with an external threat.  We will help unveil any gaps in your IR program so you can make better informed decisions to expand and mature your incident response plan of action. 

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Scoping

Tabletop exercises require a discussion to determine the type of scenario that the client is wanting developed, as well as the number of personnel that will be participating.  While all of Secure Ideas’ tabletop services are custom built, a scoping discussion is not essential in determining the effort for this activity, unless supplemental tasks are being requested.

Secure Ideas’ pricing for this service is determined by the number of scenarios to be developed and conducted.  

 

*Additional effort and costs may be associated with this type of engagement depending on the client’s requirements above and beyond the standard approach, which will necessitate further scoping. 

 

The standard pricing is as follows:
$12,000 per tabletop (single scenario)

The Process

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