Cybersecurity Awareness Month is almost here and serves as an important reminder to think about how organizations and government agencies can best protect against cyberattacks. One of the most effective ways is by running a tabletop exercise with your team. A tabletop exercise will allow you and your team to identify potential vulnerabilities in advance and come up with solutions together before they happen.
In this post, we'll discuss four reasons why you should run a tabletop exercise right now:
1. It gives an opportunity to stress test existing technologies, particularly older systems.
It should come as no surprise that older legacy technology increases vulnerability to cyberattacks. And considering that 560,000 new pieces of malware are detected every day, thorough testing of your critical event management system has never been more important.
Often, tech stacks are purchased to work in unison and talk to each other to create efficiencies—for example, integrating to your existing HR system to easily update contacts into your critical communications solution to keep your data up to date. These technologies are usually leveraged in a standalone state. During a test or exercise, it’s a perfect time to ensure integrations, APIs and all functions are working properly. Consider third-party vendor tests as appropriate. Remember, you don’t want to wait for a real-life event to learn that your organization or agency is vulnerable to bad actors.
Modern technology places a greater emphasis on security and seamless integration. But not all vendors are created equal. Ensure the vendor you select for your critical event management maintains industry-leading security practices and procedures — and can show you proof.
2. It's an efficient way for teams to brainstorm cybersecurity strategies.
Team members should work together to prioritize and brainstorm the organization's cybersecurity response strategies. Strategy development is a collaborative process that encourages critical thinking. Taking time out of your schedule for this kind of tabletop exercise will allow you and your team the chance to practice how you would solve a real-life cybersecurity incident.
The more time you spend coming up with different strategies, the better prepared your organization will be down the road.
3. It builds competency within the crisis and incident management teams.
The tabletop exercise will also allow the incident management team to practice their crisis management skills. In a real-life cyberattack situation, it is important that each member of your organization knows what to do and how they can contribute most effectively. By using this simulation as an opportunity for practice, you'll build competency within your teams so everyone feels confident in their ability to respond. Key objectives of your cybersecurity exercise should include:
- Practicing the team activations process
- Validating crisis/incident management roles and responsibilities
- Understanding stakeholder relationships
- Validating the cyber crisis communications strategy
4. It improves readiness throughout the organization.
In addition to building competency within the crisis and incident management teams, a tabletop exercise is also an opportunity for your entire organization to practice how it will respond when faced with a cybersecurity threat.
Every member of your team should be aware that they have a role in protecting their company from cybersecurity threats. This tabletop exercise can serve as a reminder of the importance everyone has in staying protected.
Cybersecurity Awareness Month is an excellent time to run your tabletop exercise so that you are prepared for any cyberattack situation, no matter when it may occur.
Not sure where to start? Looking for ways to make your simulation exercises more effective? Check out the on-demand webinar Cyber Fall: A Simulation Exercise, to walk through an example of what an engaging and impactful tabletop exercise looks like.