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What Are Purple & Red Team Assessments in Cybersecurity?

No organization wants to find its valuable data in the hands of malicious cybercriminals and hackers. From confidential employee information to supplier payment data to proprietary client data, digital assets require overall protection and security.

Organizations have started seeking reliable cybersecurity and threat assessment services for cost-effective and practical network security testing solutions. These penetration tests identify potential vulnerabilities in an organization’s security posture or practices, and recommend steps to be taken to help remediate the gaps in cybersecurity.

Two of the most common approaches in penetration testing and security evaluations are red and purple team assessments. Let’s get to know about them and their impact on organizational performance and productivity.

How do Cybersecurity Assessments work?

Thanks to modern technology, cybersecurity professionals have designed rapid, robust, and responsive ways to test and monitor IT, AI, and network teams for complete data protection. While some steps of a full test are still manual, time- and cost-efficiency is achieved by automating some of the testing procedures.

A cyber control assessment can be defined as an in-depth, independent, and holistic examination of an organization’s ability to protect its data. The tests involve multiple protocols and steps for reviewing IT performance and compliance with company rules to defend against cybersecurity threats.

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The two effective cybersecurity tests, known as purple and red team assessments, are discussed below:

Cyber codes in different colors on a screen

1.    Purple Team Assessments

A purple team assessment allows concurrent improvement and evaluation of your firm’s cybersecurity capabilities. During a “purple” team test, your “blue” team – the defenders – works alongside the “red” squad – the ethical hackers. (The combination of red and blue teams gives the purple nickname).

While obviously there is no element of surprise when the attackers and defenders consult with one another, it is a more efficient method of conducting testing as it eliminates the trial and error of other methods. A purple team assessment is almost like an audit of your defenses in that manner.

To evaluate and demonstrate the purple team’s efficacy, the red team will advise and coordinate attacks with the blue team’s knowledge. The blue team’s responses and technologies used for cybersecurity should be as close as possible to their behaviour during real data breaches.

While traditional penetration testing also remains a valuable tool for network security assessments, a purple team assessment is more effective for mature organizations. A purple team assessment checks how well all the cybersecurity technologies and strategies fit together for threat identification, response, and remediation.

1.    Red Team Assessments

Red teams consist of security professionals who act as hackers and defense breakers. They simulate attacks against the defenders without providing warning to the defenders. This truly tests the defensive posture of the blue team. A red team test is a way to examine the quality of cyber-threat response. It also keeps your IT team current with evolving threats such as spear-phishing campaigns and social engineering attacks.

Red and Purple Team Assessments Benefits

Here are the five benefits of the above-mentioned team assessments:

  • testing identification and response protocols helps organizations detect real cyber-attacks faster, with a planned and practiced action or response in hand
  • reduces IT hygiene risk by simulating user and hacker behaviour
  • helps companies deploy better prevention plans and a prioritized remediation system to earn high ROI on their cybersecurity investments
  • assess and implement best practices and strategies with timely security reports
  • identifies and verifies security patches and grey areas so they can be implemented before vulnerabilities lead to costly breaches

When was your last penetration test?

If you haven’t conducted a penetration recently – or ever – ISA Cybersecurity can help. With 30 years of experience in the cybersecurity field, we have a reliable and skilled IT security team that can help you assess your current security posture, recommend and prioritize remediation efforts, and help you implement a complete information security solution that can protect your business from financial and reputational risks of security breaches. Contact us today and learn more about how we deliver cybersecurity services and people you can trust.


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