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How to succeed with cybersecurity exercises

Preparation is everything

Before you commence with the exercise, it's wise to make a series of preparations. The extent of these preparations depends on the scope of the scenario used in the exercise, but some of these actions might be relevant.

Have a clear vision for the exercise

Clearly outline the objectives and define the scope of the exercise. Make sure to have a overview of the systems, personnel, and processes to be involved. Also involve key stakeholders from different departments, including IT, security, legal, communication, and management. This ensures a holistic approach to the exercise.

Create a scenario

There's two ways to create a scenario:

  • Either create a scenario based on risk scenarios that aligns with your organizations unique risk profile.

  • Or you can use more general threat scenarios such as natural events and cyber attacks.

Either way, we got you covered with our exercise tool, where you can choose between premade templates and adjust them to your needs - or even create your own!

Have the response plan ready

Review and update your organization's incident response plan. Ensure that participants are familiar with the plan and can execute it effectively during the exercise. Clearly define the communication channels and protocols to be used during the exercise. With the exercise tool, you make it realistic by customizing SMS, email and telephone calls to engage the participants.

Brief the participants

It is usually wise to prepare participants before the exercise to ensure they understand their roles and responsibilities. 

As a fasilitator you should prepare documentation for the exercise, including the storyboard, an overview of roles and responsibilities, and evaluation criteria.

PS: You might want to inform about the exercise across the organization to minimize disruptions during the event, or to not raise any false alarms!

During the exercise

Execute the exercise according to the defined scenario. Observe and evaluate the participants' responses to identify strengths and areas for improvement.

After the exercise

Conduct a thorough debriefing session after the exercise to discuss what went well, what could be improved, and lessons learned.

Document and analyze the findings to enhance your organization's cyber preparedness. Use the insights gained from the exercise to update policies, procedures, and response plans.

A never-ending story

Remember that cyber preparedness is an ongoing process, and exercises help ensure that your organization stays resilient in the face of evolving cyber threats. Regularly schedule and conduct follow-up exercises to continuously improve your organization's cyber preparedness.