The Cyber Readiness Center Exercise Program: Objectives
  1. Serve as expert developers of exercises meeting the needs and objectives of the client.
  2. Develop unique scenarios and injects that promote thought and communication.
  3. Serve as expert facilitators encouraging the discussion of issues and guiding the decision-making process.
  4. Maintain client confidentiality with the information collected beforehand and the dialogue discussed during the exercise.
What are cybersecurity exercises?

An exercise brings together stakeholders to practice how they would react to a given cybersecurity scenario. Participants can be from one organization, a collection of organizations, or an entire jurisdiction represented by various disciplines. Specific goals are obtained through a carefully developed set of objectives, a relevant and thought-provoking scenario, and a list of injects to challenge the participants and focus the results. The scenario and injects are meant to simulate an actual cyber attack involving pertinent threats and exploits which lead to the development of decisions through controlled-paced problem solving. The exercise can be discussion-based, action-based, or a combination of both. Facilitators are charged with moving the exercise forward and in a direction that will satisfy the objectives. Decisions and next steps are recorded in contribution to an After Action Report. The Cyber Readiness Center can deliver Department of Homeland Security HSEEP compliant exercises with the appropriate evaluation component.

Why are exercises needed?

Exercises allow stakeholders to test and validate plans, training, capabilities, and communication in a low-risk environment. The desired outcome is the identification of capability gaps and areas for improvement in all aspects of the overarching cybersecurity program. An exercise is the culmination of all the resiliency efforts up to that point through the application of the established plans, policies, procedures, processes, and training. They are a cost-effective way to familiarize personnel with their roles and responsibilities during an incident, and foster meaningful communication and collaboration within and across organizations. While exercises help identify resource and capacity shortfalls, they also help identify solutions. Exercises are a good way to establish relationships and information sharing avenues with the other stakeholders, as well as raise awareness within the community.

Who should participate in exercises?

Exercise participants need to include anyone who has been involved in the cybersecurity planning efforts and all those expected to respond to and recover from a cyber incident. Senior officials and other executive decision-makers are encouraged to attend to better understand the seriousness of the possibilities and establish expectations.

Where are exercises delivered?

The exercises are delivered at the location designated by the exercise host. The Cyber Readiness Center facilitators travel to you with all the materials needed to conduct the exercise.

How much does the training cost?

There is no fixed cost as the price is based on the unique scope and size of each exercise. As part of the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, we operate on a complete cost recovery basis. As preliminary discussions make clear the amount of time and travel required, a proposal with the statement of work, price, and timeframe will be presented for consideration.

How do we get started?

To learn more and discuss the parameters of your needs contact:
Scott Terry
Program Director

Types of Exercise

The experts at the Cyber Readiness Center are capable of custom developing and facilitating any kind of exercise in order to best accomplish your goal. The typical format is the Tabletop Exercise where all activity is discussion-based and paper-driven. These are less complicated, and are effective at validating plans, procedures, and training. A Full-Scale Exercise is action-based and utilizes the actual tools that would be employed in a real situation. These exercises are much more complex, but the outcomes and lessons learned are more valuable. A Functional Exercise is in the middle with a combination of discussion-based and action-based events. These exercises are useful in testing specific aspects of the overall cybersecurity program.

Technical Approach for Exercises

The development process begins with a remote planning meeting with the exercise organizers to establish the goals, expected outcomes, and parameters. The Cyber Readiness team then analyzes the organization’s plans, policies, and procedures to guide the exercise development. Depending on which is most appropriate, either an extensive scenario with a number of injects, or a series of smaller scenarios covering a variety of topics and situations can be created. The type of exercise will dictate the presentation, materials, scripts, etc. Communication with the exercise organizers occurs regularly to ensure the objectives will be met. After the facilitation team delivers the exercise at your location, assistance can be provided to develop the important After Action Report.

To conduct a customized exercise:

Step 1

  • null

    Contact our specialist to discuss scope and schedule

Step 2

  • null

    Proposal is delivered and contract executed

Step 3

  • null

    Conduct planning meetings

Step 4

  • null

    Develop objectives and scenarios

Step 5

  • null

    Conduct exercise

Step 6

  • null

    If requested, provide After Action Report assistance

Contact the Cyber Readiness Center team of experienced developers and facilitators to help you achieve your cybersecurity exercise goals.

Scott Terry