Cyber Attack Tabletop Exercises: Tools and Resources

Date: 18 January 2024

At a time when cyber attacks and ransomware attacks make headlines almost every other day, the significance of cyber crisis tabletop exercises cannot be overstated. These cyber simulation drills help prepare your organisation to deal with real-world cyber attacks. They are pivotal in testing and improving your response to and decision-making for a cyber crisis. 

By closely replicating real-life cyber attack scenarios, they offer invaluable insights into the strengths and weaknesses of existing cybersecurity strategies and protocols. They truly help identify where you stand in terms of cyber resilience and what you need to do to immediately improve your posture.  

This blog will show you what tools and resources our experts at Cyber Management Alliance have created to make it easier for you to host your own Cyber Drill: 

  1. Top Cyber Tabletop Exercise Scenarios to Rehearse
  2. Cyber Crisis Tabletop Exercise Checklist
  3. Cyber Tabletop Exercise Template
  4. Cyber Crisis Tabletop Exercise PowerPoint

How to Conduct a Successful Cyber Attack Tabletop Exercise? 

At Cyber Management Alliance, we firmly believe that the best way to get the most out of your cyber crisis tabletop exercise is to hire an external and deeply experienced facilitator. 

There are several compelling reasons for this: 

  • Our facilitators are highly experienced and bring their real-world expertise of having conducted 300+ exercises for organisations across the globe to the exercise. 
  • They’ve been in the trenches of actual cyber war rooms and bring the kind of nuanced insights that are impossible for internal teams to have. 
  • They are experts at creating bespoke cyber attack tabletop exercise scenarios - relevant to the business, layered with injects and capable of driving home the point of what a cyber-attack can really do to your business.  
  • They bring an outsider’s perspective on what your cyber resilience posture is really like. They’re able to look at your cyber incident response plan and capabilities from a distanced and purely unbiased place.  
  • Their evaluation of the exercise, feedback and recommendations are totally objective. Their opinions aren’t unintentionally coloured by company culture, team loyalty etc.  

cyber tabletop scenarios

 If hiring an external facilitator isn’t an option for you at the moment, we also offer Planning and Design Services for Cyber Crisis Tabletop Exercises. In this option, our expert facilitators help guide you through the planning process of the exercise. They also help you build a compelling scenario. You can then go ahead and conduct your own exercise.  

In case that too isn’t a service you can avail, we have designed and created a set of extremely useful cyber crisis tabletop exercises tools and resources that you can use to conduct an initial cyber drill. Read more about these tools and resources in the next section. 

Cyber Crisis Tabletop Exercises Tools and Resources 

#1. Top 30 Cyber Attack Tabletop Exercise Scenarios 

Creating the best possible cyber tabletop exercise scenario is the area where most organisations struggle. But we’ve addressed that problem with this unique, exhaustive list of the top 30 cyber tabletop exercise scenarios. 

This document contains not just detailed scenarios including impact on the C.I.A triad and threat actors, it also shows you how to build the scenario and work with. Further it contains two comprehensive lists on the Top 30 Asset Categories that every business must look to protect and Top 20 Threat Actors to watch out for in the current threat landscape.   

With the knowledge and inputs from these three lists, you can easily build up a scenario that will hit home for the audience. You can pick and choose scenarios and combine them to create one for your exercise that’s not just relevant to your business but also to the modern threat context. 

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#2. Cyber Crisis Tabletop Exercise Checklist

To conduct an effective cyber crisis simulation exercise, you need to meticulously plan the exercise, define roles and responsibilities, and ensure detailed engagement strategies to maximise participant involvement and exercise efficacy.

Our Cyber Crisis Tabletop Exercise checklist is a comprehensive resource to test and enhance the effectiveness of your incident response strategies. 

The checklist will assist you in the following ways:

  • Provide a clear understanding of the objectives and outcomes expected from your Cyber Crisis Tabletop Exercise.
  • Assist in gathering relevant business information needed by the exercise facilitator.
  • Help in identifying key personnel and team members who should participate in the exercise.
  • Outline the essential requirements to conduct a successful Cybersecurity Tabletop Exercise, aimed at strengthening your organisation's defence against cyber threats, including security breaches.
  • Enhance your capabilities to respond effectively to various cyber threats, such as ransomware and data breaches.

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#3. Cyber Tabletop Exercise Template 

Our Cyber Tabletop Exercise template has been crafted by the top globally recognised facilitator of Cyber Attack Tabletop Exercises. The template offers you a customisable framework to align with your organisation's specific needs.

You can use this cyber tabletop exercise template to build an effective cybersecurity drill within your organisation. Templates for creating exercise scenarios, objectives, and timelines can help you streamline the planning and execution process for your tabletop exercise.

This Cyber Tabletop Exercise template is infused with specialised knowledge, recommendations, and subtle details that often go unnoticed in internally conducted cyber drills. It contains invaluable instructions on customising the template to fit your organisational context, focusing on maximising engagement and effectiveness.

The strategies recommended in this template will help you create realistic, context-specific scenarios with relevant inputs. This enables participants to fully grasp the impact of a cyber attack and the significance of their roles and contributions in such situations. It also contains essential advice on the evaluation process, helping you to accurately assess your organisation's current state of cyber attack preparedness.

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#4. Cyber Tabletop Exercise Template Powerpoint 

Some organisations and their teams prefer using a Cyber Tabletop Exercise Powerpoint that can be easily tailored to their business context. This easy-to-customise Cyber Tabletop Exercise PPT, created by our experts, just requires you to fill in your business details and build a compelling cyber drill of your own. 

This Cyber Security Tabletop Exercise PowerPoint is enriched with comprehensive notes, illustrative guidance, and specialised advice. It is designed to assist you in developing authentic cyber attack scenarios relevant to your business. The PPT also provides useful guidance on how to get an accurate assessment of your organisation's readiness to handle cyber breaches.

Finally, the powerpoint is a very useful cyber tabletop exercise tool for improving interdepartmental collaboration and communication, essential for formulating a unified response strategy in the event of a cyber crisis.

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