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4 tabletop exercises every security team should practice

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The importance of protecting enterprises from vulnerabilities is essential for security teams, cyber insurance vendors, and meeting compliance requirements. One common method of evaluating preparedness is through tabletop exercises, where security teams and corporate management can choose a threat scenario to simulate containing and remediating the threat.

During a tabletop exercise, team members discuss their roles and responses in an emergency situation under various scenarios, usually with a facilitator guiding the discussion. While it’s not a full-scale drill, these exercises provide a valuable opportunity for stakeholders to engage in discussions about simulated crises.

When deciding which threats to test in tabletop exercises, experts recommend running them throughout the year and rotating scenarios based on the company’s risk profile. Although there are countless vulnerabilities to consider, there are four common threats that security teams should prioritize in tabletop exercises.

Ransomware is a prevalent threat that affects organizations of all sizes, with cybercriminals targeting victims indiscriminately. Beyond the initial ransom demands, attackers may also attempt to extort the victim, their business partners, and customers. Research shows that companies that pay ransom demands are often targeted again, either with the same attack or follow-up extortion attempts.

Despite a decrease in ransomware attacks in 2022 due to global events, ransomware claims increased by 50% in 2023 compared to the previous year. Experts predict that the frequency of ransomware attacks will continue to rise in the coming years. In the face of this growing threat, it is crucial for enterprises to evaluate their defenses against ransomware and extortion attacks during tabletop exercises.

Stakeholders from various departments, including legal, communications, finance, compliance, and marketing, should participate in these exercises to address regulatory reporting requirements and potential legal and financial implications. By discussing and strategizing responses to ransomware attacks in a simulated crisis, organizations can better prepare for real-life scenarios and strengthen their overall security posture.

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