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Operational Cyber Attack Tabletop Exercise

Rehearse and Test your Cyber Crisis Incident Response & Business Continuity Plans



Background Information

What is an Operations-Focussed Cyber Attack Tabletop Exercise?

Operations-focussed Cyber Attack Tabletop Exercises are the true litmus test of your organisational ability to handle and respond to a cyber crisis. But most importantly, they help you see how fast your business operations will be able to bounce back to normal after an event - they evaluate your business continuity capabilities. 

We, at Cyber Management Alliance, always advise our clients to work on the assumption that they can and in all likelihood will be attacked. The best strategy in the current threat landscape is to prepare to respond to and control the damage when you are under a cyber-attack. And this is exactly what our Operational Team Cyber Drills or Business Continuity Tabletop Exercises help you achieve. 

The operations teams and managers are the frontline defenders in an attack situation. Their cyber readiness and strategic response is absolutely critical to business continuity. An Operational Cyber Attack Tabletop Exercise enables these teams to simulate, understand, and strategize their best defence against advanced attacks. It provides them a rehearsal space for crisis response and management and helps them build muscle memory for your organisation's Cyber Incident Response Plans. It puts your team in the cyber war room, challenging them with real-world scenarios and compelling them to practise making strategic, time-sensitive decisions that will ultimately help your business bounce back as fast as possible. 

Conducted under the aegis of the world's leading cyber tabletop facilitator, our Business Continuity Plan Tabletop Exercises verbally simulate an attack scenario that is relevant to your business. In the simulated stress and panic that’s created during the exercise, three things are unravelled: 

  1. Are your Cyber Incident Response Plans effective at all in a real attack situation? 
  2. Do the key stakeholders in your Incident Response process fully understand their roles and responsibilities?
  3. How far will your Business Continuity & Operations be impacted if you're attacked tomorrow? And what will your team be able to do about it?  


Executive Summary Report

After the Operational Cyber Testing, our expert facilitators create a formal executive summary and report that contains for your business. 

This report contains: 

  • A formal assessment of the exercise on a scale of 1 -5, scored against 10 different areas.
  • A score of your organisation’s breach readiness for the cyber-attack scenario simulated during the exercise.
  • An analysis of the existing processes, procedures and their effectiveness during the tabletop exercises.

Target Audience 

The audience or ideal participants for the Operational Cyber Attack Tabletop Exercise typically belong to the following roles: 

  • Middle Management 

  • Operations Managers

  • Legal and Public Relations Team representatives 

Find out more about our different categories of Cyber Tabletop Exercises and Cyber Tabletop Exercise Pricing.

Benefits of Conducting an Operational Cyber Tabletop Exercise

Practice for Success

The tabletop workshop helps train the team members' subconscious brain to instinctively and accurately respond to a rehearsed situation. This results in fewer catastrophic errors during an actual attack and more effective response from all key decision-makers.

Peace of Mind

A successful tabletop exercise gives the management team the assurance that your cyber incident response plans are indeed fit for purpose. You will have peace of mind knowing that your team will respond effectively in case of an actual crisis and your operations will be minimally affected. 

Achieve Compliance

Regular tabletop testing, simulation testing and business continuity planning are now regulatory obligations in certain industries and countries. Conducting regular operational tabletop exercises with us, helps you achieve compliance while ensuring the continued effectiveness of your incident response plans. 

Interdepartmental Collaboration

The tabletop exercise encourages participation from all stakeholders across different departments who are responsible for the operations of the organisation & will actually be responsible for Incident Response. This helps streamline communication & collaboration between different teams. 

Interactive & Engaging

As the tabletop exercise is an interactive & real-life like process, it is able to hold the attention of and engage all participants. It encourages communication & leads to improved retention of the learning. This is specifically beneficial for the non-technical audiences for whom the Operational tabletop exercise is created. 

Opportunity to Plug Gaps

The formal executive summary and report shared at the end of the exercise, shows you the areas that you need to improve upon immediately. It’s the perfect opportunity to identify gaps in your existing processes & procedures and bridge them for a much stronger cyber resilience posture.  

What Makes Our Operational Cyber Attack Tabletop Exercises Uniquely Effective?

The exclusive Operational Cyber Crisis Tabletop Exercise designed by Cyber Management Alliance is a unique blend of simulation exercises and review of the actions taken, in order to build a more robust response mechanism. 

The Operational Team Cyber Security Drill largely rests on these three aspects: 

  • A verbally-simulated, business impacting cyber-crisis scenario. 
  • Discussion to review the actions & decisions. 
  • Test of the organisation’s crisis management plan in an informal, low-stress environment.

Like every other course and workshop created by Cyber Management Alliance, the Operational CCTE workshop too is based on the guiding principle of “Keep it Simple!”. Here’s what’s so special and appealing about our Operations-focussed Cyber Attack Tabletop workshop: 

Engaging and Interactive

Our Operational Security Training Exercises are conducted in a highly-engaging and interactive format, ensuring maximum participation and highly relevant output and constructive discussions.

Facilitated by deeply experienced professionals, the exercise is structured as a combination of scenario walkthroughs and deeply-engaging functional, operational and practical exercises.


Deeply Researched Scenarios

Our cyber attack drills are based on deeply researched and well planned scenarios. The facilitator works closely with a representative from your organisation to create a scenario that is highly relevant and contextual and will hit home.

The exercise is injected with various inputs (or injects) from sources including, but not limited to up to date news, blogs, tweets, social posts, weather etc. to make it as real as possible. 

Detailed Executive Summary

We provide detailed and relevant reports to all clients including an Executive Summary and recommendations report that is shared at the end of the Tabletop Exercise. Our clients find this document and our recommendations extremely beneficial and useful.

The report ontains detailed inputs on the existing strengths and recommendations on the gaps that need to be plugged to ensure your business emerges as more cyber resilient post the exercise.   

Why Choose Cyber Management Alliance for Your Operational Cyber Security Drill?

Cyber Management Alliance is the world leader in Cybersecurity Training & Consultancy. We are amongst the top independent cyber incident & crisis management authorities offering advisory services, executive training, and bespoke workshops in all aspects of cyber crisis management, incident planning, incident-response testing and tabletop exercises. 

We are the creators of the internationally acclaimed UK-Government’s NCSC-Certified,  Cyber Incident Planning and Response (CIPR) course and have trained attendees from organisations including the United Nations, UK Ministry of Defence, several UK Police Forces, NHS Trusts, European Central Bank, Swiss National Bank, Microsoft, Ernst and Young and many others.

Case Studies demonstrate how others have benefited from our Cyber Tabletop Exercises. We have numerous client case studies which demonstrate how these sessions have helped them optimise their handling of cyber incidents. Click the button below to check out some of our Case Studies. 

View Tabletop Case Studies


Cyber Crisis Tabletop Exercises

Professionally-Executed, Operations-Focussed Cyber Tabletop Exercises

Cyber Management Alliance specialises in Operational Cyber Attack Tabletop Exercises. Our Exercises are conducted under the guidance of the world's leading Cyber Tabletop Facilitator. 

The video on the right encapsulates the USPs of our Cyber Crisis Tabletop Exercises. You will get a quick view of:

  • Why Cyber Attack Tabletop Exercises are indispensable today
  • How our professionally-conducted cyber drills help you resume operations as fast as possible after a cyber-attack
  • Our Approach to Cyber Tabletop Exercises that focus on business continuity for your specific organisation 


FAQs: Cyber Attack Tabletop Exercises for Operations Teams

Why does the Operations Team need a Cyber Attack Tabletop Exercise?


The Operations Team is, perhaps, the most critical component in your Incident Response puzzle. They have to manage the impact of a cyber-attack and ensure they respond effectively enough to keep the damage on business continuity as low as possible. 

Operational Cyber Attack Tabletop Exercises help them get prepared to deal with a cyber-attack head-on and experience the heat of making critical decisions in a chaotic environment. They build muscle memory for the steps they're recommended to adopt as part of their response strategy. They also learn the legal and ethical implications of their decisions during cyber threats, aligning their crisis responses with regulatory compliance.


How does a Cyber Attack Tabletop Exercise improve operational efficiency?


It sharpens the team's reflexes, decision-making, and collaboration, directly contributing to more coordinated, efficient responses to actual cyber threats.

How frequently should Operational Cyber Tabletop Exercises be conducted?


Regular sessions, possibly quarterly or bi-annually, can keep your teams sharp, updated on the latest threat models, and familiar with evolving defence strategies. Regular practice of the Incident Response Plans, Ransomware Checklists and Communication Templates is imperative for an effective, coordinated response during an actual cyber event. 

How long does planning the Operational Cyber Tabletop Exercise take?


At Cyber Management Alliance, we spend considerable time in planning as this helps us create a bespoke scenario that's extremely relevant to your business. However, the specific number of hours depends on a variety of factors like the size of your organisation, how spread out your infrastructure is, involvement of third-parties etc. 

What actually gets tested during an Operational Cyber Tabletop Exercise?


First, it's important to remember that this isn't actually a test of individual knowledge and there are no wrong answers. It is a test of your overall organisational cyber resilience. The exercise seeks to identify what gaps currently exist in your security plans, processes and procedures. Of course, familiarity with these will help you get the most out of the exercise but it's not a memory test at all.  

How long does a Tabletop Exercise for the Operations Team last?


Frankly, this depends on the enormity of your operations. But generally speaking, 2-3 hours is sufficient for an intensive exercise with a debrief. Sometimes, we've spent over a day in Tabletop Exercises but that's not the norm.  

How should we prepare for an Operational Tabletop Exercise?


Preparation is key to the success of an operations-focused cyber tabletop exercise. It's crucial to first identify the right participants/stakeholders. These participants should be briefed about the exercise to provide context and purpose. Establishing clear objectives and outcomes for the exercise is important - such as identifying gaps in responses, improving communication, or testing the effectiveness of established protocols. Next, all participants should be encouraged to reacquaint themselves with all relevant materials and documentation, including your organisation's current incident response plan. It's critical to set up a conducive environment for the exercise, free from interruptions. Finally, establish a feedback mechanism for post-exercise analysis, allowing your team to assess performance, reflect on lessons learned, and integrate those insights into a more robust cyber defence strategy.

What are Hybrid Sessions and why should we avoid them?


Hybrid sessions are a mix of onsite and virtual sessions where a group of people is physically present in one location and several others are connected via MS Teams or Zoom. 

We DO NOT recommend hybrid sessions (where some are remote and some are onsite) as they severely degrade the overall video and audio performance.

Should we conduct a cyber drill remotely or onsite?


All other variables being equal, we recommend a remote session as, anecdotally, a majority of incidents happen during unearthly hours and a remote or virtual cyber drill helps simulate a real life incident. 

We DO NOT recommend hybrid sessions (where some are remote and some are onsite).

Why not book a discovery call to discuss your requirements?

Want more information on what is a Virtual CISO, Virtual CISO Services & Virtual CISO hourly rates? Book a no-obligation discovery call with one of our consultants. 

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