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3 Essential Lessons To Learn From Incident Response Tabletops

  • deepti

  • March 16, 2020, 5:25 a.m.

To build an exceptional security posture, organizations cannot just implement a case management platform and let it rust. With the evolving threat landscape, security tools and systems need to be checked periodically to test their relevance and to bring the employees up to speed with its functionalities. When a disaster hits, people and processes should be ready to tackle the threat head-on. This makes planning and testing the plan a key element towards the right incident response strategy.

Did you know that 42% of businesses fail to review and update their incident response plans on a regular basis?

In one of our previous articles, we had discussed the processes and the best practices related to examining the Incident Response Plan. We talked about the three steps of testing Incident Response and SOAR Capabilities. They are listed below:

  1. Paper Tests
  2. Tabletop Exercises
  3. Simulated Attacks

To learn more about the tests and how to perform them, read the article here - How to Test Your Incident Response Plan.

What is a SOAR Platform?

SOAR solutions offer the most effective incident response plan to organizations. It enables organizations to collect vast amounts of security data, analyze them accurately and automate manual repetitive processes. Doing so, the SOAR products help to address issues of alert fatigue and the growing cybersecurity skill gaps.

In the incident response and case management scenario, the SOAR workflow helps CISOs build a better and more informed strategy across people, processes and technologies to strengthen the cybersecurity landscape of the enterprise.

In this post, we are going to dive deep into the practice of Tabletop exercises and what enterprises can learn from this method of testing the incident response plan.

What are Tabletop Exercises?

To test the efficacy of the SOAR solutions and the overall preparedness of the employees and teams in the event of an incident, tabletop exercises are performed. The concept is to bring all stakeholders, security teams and other relevant personnel on board and run drills to test how such cross-functional entities can work together to deal with the breach if such an event arises.

The mock-event that ultimately helps the teams to understand the SOAR workflow better while running through the response process and troubleshooting issues that arise with all hands on deck. At this juncture of the security scenario, there are certain tools available in the market that enables companies to carry out tabletop drills easily.

Lessons from a Case Management Tabletop Exercise

Conducting the drill is not the end of the testing plan. Organizations should learn important lessons from the exercise and build strategies towards solving the issues before the next test. What are the most vital lessons to learn from the testing of soar capabilities:

1. Understanding that Incident Response is a Team Effort

Teams should not operate in silos when it comes to testing and planning their incident response efforts. When testing the efficiency of the teams regarding SOAR products, different teams seem to work in isolation, thus developing processes and systems that are either incompatible with other teams or are way ahead of them.

The SOAR workflow testing and assigning exact roles to different teams during an incident is important. This means that separate departments need to work in tandem with one another to ensure a smooth flow of information and cohesive decision-making processes.

2. Including Non-security Staff Can be a Good Approach

Most tabletop exercises include the key stakeholders of the company and the security analysts who are responsible for the overall cybersecurity stability of the organization. This approach is wrong. We have discussed before that most security breaches and incidents occur due to the lack of awareness among general employees.

For examining the SOAR products incident response plan, companies should start including the staff who are not directly associated with the security arena of the enterprise. This not only helps them understand the practical scenario of a breach but also trains them on how to act in the event of its occurrence.

3. Recognizing the Importance of Documentation

Tabletop drills are not performed just for the sake of it. Understanding how the incident response process works with the help of SOAR solutions and being prepared to carry out the next steps diligently during a real breach is important. This means that in-depth documentation of the process and the workflows of troubleshooting issues becomes critical.

What should you document? When the tabletop exercises are going on, try the following:

  • Identify the processes conducted and the issues that have risen
  • Document all such findings with as much detailing as possible
  • Post-exercise, analyze the efficacy of the process and the solutions used to resolve the issues that were seen
  • Store the documents in a way that it can be accessed by all key stakeholders and analysts in the event of a breach

With proper documentation of the exercise workflow and the SOAR capabilities, organizations can make informed decisions during future incidents.

SporactⓇ - Intelligent SOAR Platform

SporactⓇ from Anlyz offers a 360-degree view of enterprise risks and threats. Its analytical abilities enable security operations teams to get a deeper view of the security landscape, analyze the data collected and make informed decisions about security processes going forward. With SporactⓇ:

  • Identify skill and process gaps
  • Get access to real-time data and learnings with deep insights into the security landscape
  • Integrate the tool with diverse security systems

Learn more about SporactⓇ and its capabilities here - Case Management Tool for CISOs

Parting Words

In the current scenario, when threat elements are quickly evolving and breaking past security frameworks, organizations need to be extra careful when choosing their SOAR products. Intelligent SOAR capabilities can be leveraged by SOCs to track, analyze and terminate threats swiftly while providing a birds-eye view into the issue with the help of data insights.

Implementing the right SOAR solutions, maintaining its relevance while also training the staff to respond to incidents makes the organization capable of proactive case management and security orchestration. It is important for businesses to learn from tabletop exercises and implement them during future incidents.

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