5 key elements of cyber simulation exercises to boost cyber resilience

Steve Durbin
Published 07 - June - 2024
Read the full article on Security Magazine
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There are two main objectives that organizations typically focus on while reducing cyber risk. First, reducing the frequency of cyber incidents materializing, which usually comprises traditional cybersecurity measures and risk mitigation activities. Second, reducing financial loss and other impacts to the organization when they occur, which is where cyber resilience comes in. In achieving both these objectives, cyber simulation exercises play a central role because people have a major role to play in preventing, detecting, responding and remediating cyber incidents.

In certain high-risk environments, organizations may find it impractical to solely prioritize prevention and detection. In such cases, it is beneficial to shift focus towards building resilience, including response, containment and recovery of incidents. Equipping all stakeholders in the organization to handle these challenging situations should be a priority, and allocating time efforts, and resources towards this strategy is advisable. Now, let’s delve into the key elements required to design simulation exercises aimed at enhancing cyber resilience.

1. Preparedness

The element of preparedness is similar to the French culinary concept of “mise en place,” which describes the notion of being well prepared in advance for a hostile and dynamic work environment: the setup, the ingredients, the tools needed for cooking. This can also apply to cyber exercises — understanding the organization’s systems, processes, security approaches, and vulnerabilities; designing realistic scenarios based on specific security concerns (i.e., ransomware, supply chain attacks, DDoS, advanced persistent threats) and measuring how various stakeholders respond and react to different situations.

2. Relevance

The scenarios and tests being conducted must be relevant and contextual for the audience that is participating and must be tailored to the organizational objectives. For example, while dealing with the security team, simulations should be more focused on individuals that are operating a SOC (security operations center) or security analysts responsible for managing endpoints and cloud environments. Ensure that the exercise aligns with the organization’s culture, technology, and security expectations. The exercise should be designed in a way that supports the organization’s technology and security strategies, ultimately meeting the desired objectives by the end of the exercise.

3. Immersion

Simulation exercises must be immersive enough so that participants believe they are dealing with a real-life incident. To create a scenario that’s more realistic, facilitators can seek participation from key internal and external stakeholders. Internal stakeholders are basically employees while external stakeholders can include customers, suppliers, business partners and insurers.

5 key elements of cyber simulation exercises to boost cyber resilience
Read the full article on Security Magazine