Exploring Security Tabletop Exercises: A Cyber Concept Overview 

Security Tabletop Exercises

Security Tabletop Exercises are an important form of organizational training and validation that can help mitigate the impact of cyber-attacks. 

Your business’s Incident Response Plan serves as the blueprint that enables your team to detect, respond to, and recover from security incidents. If your organization has a plan in place, tabletop exercises allow you to practice your response and address any gaps.  

In this post, we will explore what security tabletops are, how the process works, and how it compares to red team testing.  

What is a Security Tabletop Exercise?  

A cybersecurity tabletop session is like a fire drill for a security breach. It is an incident simulation where key stakeholders in an organization come together to practice their incident response plan.  

Some of the key objectives include:  

  • Assigning roles and responsibilities to the right people.  
  • Establishing key outcomes for security response that satisfy all stakeholders.  
  • Outlining if not/when parameters for different scenarios.  
  • Renewing policies and procedures in place. 

The goal is to evaluate your organization’s crisis response processes, tools, and proficiency from both an executive and technical perspective.  

How Does the Process Typically Work? 

A cybersecurity tabletop session simulates an actual security incident. To start, someone, usually an outside security consultant such as those at Difenda, will identify objectives and present a scenario outlining the initial indicator of compromise.  

During the tabletop session, the team will work together to mitigate the impact of the breach and execute key response initiatives. Such as legal intervention, stakeholder communications, security remediation, marketing efforts and more.  

Throughout the discussion, the consultant will walk through different scenarios and point out holes in your resolution so you can create innovative solutions. In this roundtable environment, the team will review different actions until they have an agreed-upon approach and believe the desired outcome has occurred.

Once you have completed the exercise, a report is formulated and presented to the group at a later time. Changes can then be made to your formalized incident response plan.  

Why Run Security Tabletop Exercises?

Tabletop exercises help businesses assess the efficacy of their current policies and procedures. They identify strengths and weaknesses in crisis response plans and define the roles and responsibilities of the crisis team. These exercises are used to prepare critical business leaders for a breach and educate board members about incident response protocol.  

With the continued increase in cyber breaches, tabletop exercises are a necessary tool to provide businesses with peace of mind when an incident does occur. It is typically recommended that organizations run cyber breach tabletop exercises annually, at minimum.  

Comparing Security Tabletop sessions to Red Team Testing

Tabletop sessions and red team testing are both ways of assessing your business’ security preparedness. However, the methods of assessment are significantly different.  

Red team testing is a simulated attack on your security software. It is designed to establish the effectiveness of your technical security programs and tools. Simulated attacks deployed by Red Teams are multi-layered and designed to gauge how well a company’s people, processes and technologies detect and respond to a legitimate attack. 

Put simply, red team testing is the execution of the scenario outlined in a tabletop session. And for an effective incident response plan, you need both.  

Types of Firms that Should Consider Security Tabletops

Tabletop exercises are crucial in the cybersecurity industry. Any organization that has an in-house security team or is working with a managed security service provider (MSSP), should be assessing its incident response plan annually. These roundtables are designed to discover organizations’ weaknesses and ensure that organizations implement best practices and protocols for cybersecurity. 

However, if you do not have an incident response plan in place, it’s a good idea to establish one first so you can get the most out of your time.  

Looking to ensure your business is prepared for a breach? Contact us!

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Ken Perkins

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Megan Miller

Megan Miller’s energy and passion for learning flow into all aspects of her work. As the Growth Manager, North America, she brings a background in sciences which she has transitioned to the tech sector in her role at Difenda.

With a Bachelors of Science in Geology, Megan is a lifelong learner who is voracious about learning anything she can get her hands on about cybersecurity. Her positive energy has built a sales strategy with a focus on expanding in the United States while nurturing the Canadian presence. She is responsible for recruiting and training the sales team. Together with the company’s leadership, she creates the sales process and the company’s product strategy in order to better serve the customer base. This ensures that our customers have a highly trained and highly motivated team to help them every step of the way, Megan has completed Microsoft SC-900 training and working towards mastering Microsoft.

Whether at work or play, Megan is fully committed. She took her love of hockey all the way to the semi-professional level as a competitive hockey player. Megan loves all things sports including water skiing, scuba diving, cycling, and snowboarding. She also enjoys time with family and reading about alternative energy, innovation, and cybersecurity.

Natasha Phanor

As the Microsoft Partner Manager at Difenda, Natasha Phanor is responsible for driving growth within our Microsoft Partnership. With six years in the industry, she offers a fresh, energetic approach, and the ability to focus on our customer’s needs throughout the entire process. Natasha has the innate ability to foresee customer needs and solve problems before they arise, which creates a smooth road for each customer she encounters.

As the recipient of the Outstanding Services Partner of the Year Award in 2018, it is clear that Natasha responds quickly to customer needs, creates a platform for understanding a customer’s business requirements, and walks them through the process to ensure their complete satisfaction.

In her spare time, Natasha is as energetic and passionate as she is on the job. A self-proclaimed foodie-extraordinaire, she enjoys dinner parties, traveling, downhill skiing, hiking, biking, and reading. Natasha has a Bachelor of Fine Arts, specializing in Dance, from Ryerson University.

Lisa Templeton

Lisa Templeton is the perfect combination of human empathy and technological prowess. In her role as People Services Manager, she takes care of our team members to support them in their daily work, as well as on their personal life paths. Happy employees make for happy customers, and Lisa excels in giving our employees the tools they need for success in order to become the best possible versions of themselves. Along with employee formation, she shines in the service delivery support domain to continuously improve the process. Her 24 years of experience in IT Operations and Service Management help her create quality and efficiency at Difenda.

Having attended the Information Systems Management certificate program at Ryerson University, and with various other certifications to her credit, Lisa is perceptive and innovative when it comes to information technology, but also sensitive to the needs of her human constituents. Responsible for achieving the first privately owned company HDI Support Center certification in Canada, she has also designed and implemented Service Management excellence programs and 24×7 IT Operations departments for multiple IT organizations, and has created corporate rewards and recognition programs to keep her employees engaged and motivated.

On the personal side, Lisa passionately supports the cause of breast cancer research, having lost her mother to the disease. She reads voraciously in her spare time, and enjoys the art of home renovation. The summer months also bring time on her boat and exploring new hiking trails.

Miranda McCurdy

Miranda McCurdy uses her myriad super powers in all aspects of her job and personal life. As the Marketing Director at Difenda, Miranda McCurdy brings over a decade of experience to the table, which includes expertise in all facets of operations, brand management, and content marketing, as well as a multitude of successful strategies for the ever-expanding digital world. She is an expert at simplifying the message the company is trying to send, filling in gaps in the information, and strengthening the content in order to create compelling narratives that strengthen the brand and developing programs that bring teams together.

With several Addy Awards issued by the American Advertising Federation Cleveland to her credit, and her never say die attitude, Miranda understands both the broader picture and the minute details that are needed to successfully market a product. With her abilities to harness both the talent needed to spread the message, as well as to create the message itself, she is an integral cog in the company’s ability to communicate with customers and other stakeholders.

When she is not building a brand, she shares her ability to fill the gaps in her community by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, the Special Olympics, and the Charleston Food Bank. In her spare time, Miranda spends time with her family, enjoys fitness and health, paddle boarding, reading, and arts and crafts.

Juliana Zaremba

Connections are the name of the game for Juliana Zaremba. As Strategic Partnerships Director, she is responsible for Difenda’s channel partnerships and the development and ownership of the channel partner program. She is also responsible for the global Microsoft Partnership, including the creation of strategic plans with MSFT contacts that will facilitate the continued growth of the business and establish certification and training protocols in all security technologies. Her role is multifaceted, as she acquires partners, manages relationships with them, and develops strategies that will provide cutting edge security solutions to our customer base. Another integral aspect of her job is to facilitate growth.

With a Bachelor’s in Math from the University of Waterloo and 14 years of experience from her previous roles at Herjavec Group and CDW, her cutting edge focus and ability to develop long-lasting relationships and strategies provides world class security solutions to our customer base.

Juliana thrives on connections outside of work as well. She is a philanthropist and contributor with Women4Change based in Hamilton. This group of local women is passionate about supporting local causes, and she focuses her efforts around Women in STEM. She is also a member of Club Italia in Niagara Falls and supports their youth events throughout the year.

When not managing the Microsoft Global partnership, Juliana enjoys reading, often reading several books at once. Juliana enjoys exploring the Niagara Escarpment with her family, as well as sharing meals and experiences with her extended family. Juliana’s competitive nature has her always trying new things, like Whoop band challenges and Peloton.

Jeffry Jacob

Biography Coming Soon