• Requirement

    Test the organizational incident response capability.

  • Discussion

    Organizations test incident response capabilities to determine the effectiveness of the capabilities and to identify potential weaknesses or deficiencies. Incident response testing includes the use of checklists, walk-through or tabletop exercises, simulations (both parallel and full interrupt), and comprehensive exercises. Incident response testing can also include a determination of the effects on organizational operations (e.g., reduction in mission capabilities), organizational assets, and individuals due to incident response.

    NIST SP 800-84 provides guidance on testing programs for information technology capabilities.

More Info

  • Title

    Incident Response Testing
  • Domain

    Incident response
  • CMMC Level

  • Related NIST 800-171 ID

  • Related NIST 800-53 ID


  • DoD Scoring Methodology Points


  • Reference Documents

  • Further Discussion

    Testing incident response capability validates existing plans and highlights potential deficiencies. The test should address questions such as what happens during an incident; who is responsible for incident management; what tasks are assigned within the IT organization; what support is needed from legal, public affairs, or other business components; how resources are added if needed during the incident; and how law enforcement is involved. Any negative impacts to the normal day-to-day operations when responding to an incident should also be identified and documented.


    You decide to conduct an incident response table top exercise that simulates an attacker gaining access to the network through a compromised server. You include relevant IT staff such as security, database, network, and system administrators as participants. You also request representatives from legal, human resources, and communications. You provide a scenario to the group and have prepared key questions aligned with the response plans to guide the exercise. During the exercise, you focus on how the team executes the incident response plan. Afterward, you conduct a debrief with everyone that was involved to provide feedback and develop improvements to the incident response plan [a].

    Potential Assessment Considerations

    • Does the incident response policy outline requirements for regular incident response plan testing and reviews of incident response capabilities [a]?

NIST 800-171A Assessment Guidance

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