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How to evaluate a cybersecurity exercise

Exercises can reveal hidden vulnerabilities and gaps. These may include communication challenges, procedural bottlenecks, or resource limitations.

Evaluating the exercise helps you pinpoint these important improvement areas, enabling targeted enhancements.

To achieve this, consider adopting a systematic approach. This ensures that your efforts are well-organized and that you can make informed decisions based on the data you collect. By following a structured method, you can also compare exercise results, identify trends, track improvements, and measure progress over time. 

Key steps in the evaluation process

Collect data and feedback

Collect the data relevant to the goals and objectives you had for the exercise. If your organisation have conducted the exercise yourselves, you can collect and review the metrics direct from our exercise tool. Gather feedback from all participants and stakeholders involved in the exercise. Use surveys, interviews, or focus groups to collect their opinions, experiences, and suggestions.

Analyze the results

Analyze the feedback and the data collected from the exercise. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your incident management processes. Compare the results with your objectives and expectations. 

Create an improvement plan

Based on the analysis, create an improvement plan that outlines the actions, responsibilities, and timelines for addressing the gaps and enhancing your incident management capabilities. Prioritize the most critical and urgent issues and assign resources accordingly.

Implement and monitor the plan

Implement the improvement plan and monitor the progress and outcomes. Communicate the plan and the results to the relevant stakeholders and seek their support and feedback. Review and adjust the plan as needed.

Practice makes perfect

Remember that preparedness is an ongoing journey, which means that exercises should be conducted regularly and not just be a one-time activity. This is particularly important because a contingency plan only has value if it works as intended.