How to prepare for a successful Cyber Table-top Exercise

Date: 15 June 2020

You can never be too prepared when it comes to cybersecurity and data privacy. For the health of your business, it is essential to continuously test your cyber incident response plans with effective cyber table-top workshops

In this blog, we tell you what preparation and preliminary homework you should do to ensure you get the most value of your cyber table-top workshop.  

Apart from reading this blog, we recommend you go through the other literature created by Cyber Management Alliance on the subject of Cyber Table-top Exercises. It will stand you in good stead as you prepare to conduct this workshop in your own enterprise. Why?

Because we are specialists in cyber incident response and crisis management and are creators of the leading Cyber Incident Planning & Response training certified by the UK-Government's NCSC.  The advice in our blogs is from the years of experience in training, conducting crisis management workshops, providing consultancy and mastery in cyber incident management.  

Here’s some more detailed reading into how to get the best bang for your buck when you invest in conducting a cyber table-top exercise for your business:

  1. 6 reasons why your cyber table-top exercise may fail.
  2. 5 requirements of an effective cyber table-top workshop.
  3. Why you shouldn’t run your own cyber table-top exercise
  4. Why it may be more effective to run your cyber table-top exercise remotely.

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Four things to keep in mind for your
cyber table-top exercise

  1. Participation – As the organiser, you should first identify who the key stakeholders in your organisation are for decision-making and response during a cyber crisis. It is imperative that you select the right audience to participate in the cyber table-top exercise. The selection should include executives across functions and silos. You should also prepare them in advance about what to expect during the exercise and how they must respond and react for the table-top exercise to be a success.
  1. Scenarios – You must start out by defining the scenario that is most likely to materially impact your business. Run-of-the-mill scenarios will yield underwhelming results. Keep your focus on things that truly matter to the business and communicate the same to your facilitator.
  1. Facilitator – Speaking of facilitator, making sure you choose the right person to conduct the cyber table-top exercise makes all the difference. We recommend getting an external practitioner with years of experience on board. It has to be someone whose opinion and feedback will be valued by all and not be perceived as shrouded in bias or departmental agendas.  
  1. Documentation – Make sure you appoint someone to document (or record) the entire exercise for later reference. It is easy to forget the vital points that emerge out of this adrenaline-filled workshop once it’s over. Be prepared with the right person and the right tools for recording all of it in advance.

At Cyber Management Alliance, we are highly experienced in facilitating cyber table-top exercises that deliver real results in times of a crisis. Apart from our globally-respected trainer and facilitator, we also have an edge in the market as we help our clients in planning for, creating scenarios, producing the scripts and artefacts and running the actual workshop.

We can also run a complete cyber tabletop exercise virtually using Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Meet (previously known as Hangout)

Importantly, we will present you a formal audit report of the exercise that provides you with important data including a cyber breach-readiness score that provides a good indication about how ready you are to respond to a specific cyber-attack scenario.      

Cyber Crisis Tabletop Exercise Brochure Download

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If you’d like more information on our Cyber Crisis Table-top Exercises click here or call us on +44 (0) 203 189 1422 or email us here. 

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