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7 Reasons Tabletop Exercises Are A Must

In an effort to be fully prepared for a cyber incident, it’s important for key members in an organization to know the proper steps to take when handling a cyber threat like a data breach. Tabletop exercises help determine how your team will react to a theoretical cyber attack and how effective your plan is. These exercises provide a realistic scenario and questions that will help guide your discussion. Here are 7 reasons why every organization should conduct a cybersecurity tabletop exercise:

1.   Preparation

If your organization fell victim to a ransomware attack, would your employees know what to do? Tabletop exercises help organizations outline the steps they might take during a cyber attack. By discussing the scenario in advance, CISOs and other risk experts can identify flaws or gaps in the organization’s response and make adjustments.

2.   Testing

Is your preparedness program the best it can be? Testing it out in a safe environment lets you know if your response plan is effective. By discussing different ways a scenario might play out, you can effectively compare different response plans.

3.   Identify flaws in the plan

There is always room for improvement. Conducting tabletop exercises can help you identify what your organization needs to work on, such as:

  • Finding missing links in the chain-of-command
  • Ensuring documentation of response plans
  • Finding gaps in your recovery processes

4.   ROI

Setting aside time to conduct an exercise can potentially save your organization thousands of dollars in ransomware or data breach recovery expenses. Knowing how to handle a cyber incident can help your employees take proper measures in hopes of preventing a successful attack.

5.   Coordination

Dealing with a cyber incident doesn’t fall to just one team. Cyber attacks can affect an entire organization, requiring multiple departments to come together to resolve the issue, and may even require coordination with external partners, such as hosting or service providers. Cyber threats – phishing emails, clickbait scams, and the business email compromise – can target any member of your organization. That’s why it’s important for everyone to receive basic cybersecurity training, such as a tabletop exercise.

6.   Determine roles

Who does what when you’re under attack? Identifying certain individuals and security leaders can help make your response plan more successful. Divide up the tasks for different cyber incident scenarios and document everyone’s responsibilities. Cyber attacks can create chaos, so having a plan with clearly-defined roles will help avoid confusion.

7.   Peace of mind

Now that you’ve taken the time to run through a cyber scenario and you know the areas you need to improve upon…it’s time to make a plan! The information gathered from your tabletop exercise discussions can help provide a personalized roadmap to strengthen your security posture.