Cyber Security Exercises for SMEs

We're really passionate about helping organisations prepare for a cyber security incident. Its one of the main reasons that we specialise in cyber security exercises - because we truly believe that they are one of the best ways to help train your incident response teams, so that they will know exactly what to do when an incident does happen. But, that also means that we spend the majority of our time working with large, enterprise organisations that have a dedicated cyber security function. It means that a large portion of the Australian market misses out on access to some of the fundamentals of cyber security and incident response preparedness, like cyber exercises.

Ryan delivering a cyber security exercise to the wonderful SMEs

Recognising this, we've partnered with the Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre to ensure that small to medium sized enterprises have access to the tools and knowledge that will help them get ready for - and respond to - a cyber security incident. We recently ran a pilot workshop at the Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre in Adelaide, with 15 SMEs attending. We heard from Alex Woerndle, cybersecurity consultant, and previously a founder of DistributeIT which was the target of a major cyber-attack in 2011. Alex's story was very well received by the audience, and his story is a pretty sobering wake up call that every business, no matter how big or small, needs to take cyber security more seriously.

I’ve spent the last 10+ years working with clients of all shapes and sizes with the sole focus of ensuring no one experiences a catastrophic event like what happened to DistributeIT. Seeing business leaders recognise the connection between business and technology risk, and then building their resilience, is what drives me every day. In particular, having an established and tested incident response plan that brings all elements of effective incident response together is critical to ensure your business can recover effectively when the inevitable incident occurs.

Alex Woerndle, Co Managing Director, MyEmpire Group

After hearing from Alex, the participants were put through their paces as we worked our way through an exercise, based on a realistic incident affecting a fictitious organisation. Participants took on the role of assisting the fictious organisation, thinking about all of the different elements they would have to consider to respond effectively to an incident. We had a lot of varied discussion - which was excellent to be apart of! It was great that even though these participants were not cyber-mature, they were really engaged and asking some seriously smart questions. We talked about who they would call to help them with the technical aspects of the response, what role law enforcement and other government agencies might play, the pros and cons of paying a ransom, how to handle media enquiries and talking to customers and suppliers, and even got onto the subject of cyber insurance!

This was the first session of many to come! We are proud to partner with organisations like the Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre to facilitate the delivery of exercises to SME organisations, who otherwise wouldn't be able to access this kind of content and readiness training. Going forward, the Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre will be leveraging their partnership base to continue to routinely conduct these exercises especially for SMEs, with some of their experts coming in to lead the sessions. We will continue to provide content and power them through our cyber security exercise platform, Gauntlet, but we think this is a great community approach to ensure everyone has access to cyber security exercises, regardless of your organisation's size.

We know SMEs are more vulnerable than larger organisations to malicious cyber adversaries and understand that initiating and implementing a cyber resilient process can be a daunting experience. The Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre welcomes the opportunity to partner with Retrospect Labs to facilitate the pilot session of the Incident Readiness and Response training as a part the continuous support we are delivering SMEs in becoming cyber resilient.

Paula Oliver, Interim CEO, Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre

Cyber exercises are one of the critical things organisations need to do to be ready for an incident. And we are excited to an important part of delivering them to all parts of the Australian economy.

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