Wealth Management Firms and Ransomware Tabletop Simulations

No matter what industry you are in, you need to practice emergency procedures to build proficiency and identify glitches in your planning. For example, we all went though fire drills back in grade school, or if you’ve been on a cruise ship, you have received lifeboat drills. These kinds of exercises have proven their worth time and again over the years. For wealth management firms, one such program that needs practice exercises is the incident response program. And tabletop incident response exercises are an effective way to conduct these practices.

We at MSI have had years of experience in developing and conducting tabletop incident response exercises for organizations in a number of industries. In the financial industry, the most prevalent and dangerous attack type currently is ransomware. Ransomware attacks can lead to data breaches, lawsuits, regulatory involvement, loss of reputation and financial loss. Let MSI assist your firm in tabletop exercises designed to test your response preparations and to make adjustments and improvements in your response.

First, we will work with your firm to design a real-world ransomware attack scenario that is relevant to your particular organization. From there we will construct the scenario and set a time with your firm to conduct the exercise. MSI will provide two personnel for the exercise: the exercise moderator and the exercise observer/recorder. It should be noted here that these exercises can be conducted in either the real or virtual world. During these days of pandemic emergency this can be an important consideration.

Once the tabletop begins, the moderator will unfold the details of the exercise one by one, just as they’d come to notice if a real incident were occurring. Your incident response team will then follow your incident response plan, communicate with each other and relate just how they would address each issue as it unfolds. As the exercise continues, the moderator will continue to introduce complexities built into the ransomware exercise scenario. Once the exercise concludes, MSI will help your team conduct a “lessons learned” discussion that points out what worked well during the exercise and what didn’t seem to work well and needs improvement. Finally, your firm will receive a report from MSI recapping the exercise and including suggestions for improving your response techniques and mechanisms.

In our experience, incident response tabletop exercises have never failed to expose flaws in the incident response plan. These exercises also lead to spirited discussion and innovative thinking among the team members. Remember, the key to minimizing the negative effects of any cyber-attack, including ransomware attack, is quick and accurate response.