When it comes to information security, you often hear about the Blue Team, which refers to a group of defensive security professionals that have an inside view of an organization and are tasked with maintaining internal defenses against any incoming cyber attacks. Blue Teams do a number of things including DNS audits to help prevent phishing attacks, ensuring firewalls are properly secured, analyzing network activity to pick up any unusual activity, and a number of other activities to best secure networks and systems. 

And as essential as Blue Teams are for an organization’s cybersecurity, their job is only part of the security work needed within any given entity. So, in this article, we’ll have a look at exactly why Blue Teams alone are not enough to properly secure your organization and what other teams and factors should come into play.

Developing a Holistic Security Approach

When it comes to real-world cybersecurity, as many attack vectors as possible need to be considered and addressed. Especially in an environment where the threat landscape is ever expanding, having intelligence from a number of different angles becomes increasingly important. That’s why implementing a Blue Team is only part of a holistic security approach. 

On the other side of the Blue Team’s defensive approach comes the Red Team’s offensive security approach. Red Teams consist of security professionals, including ethical hackers, who try to overcome an organization’s cybersecurity controls. They do this by trying to find weaknesses in processes, people, and systems in order to gain unauthorized access to assets and information.

In short, you can think of the Blue Team as the defensive side of security, and the Red Team as the offensive side. Each team gives an organization valuable security intelligence to better equip their systems for any potential cyber attacks. Developing effective defenses becomes much more difficult without the help of the Red Team, because they do everything from penetration testing, social engineering to see if there are weak links within the people on your team, intercepting communication tools and much more. Without the work of the Red Team it’s difficult to know how your organization could be attacked from the outside, which is where a majority of the real world attacks come from. 

Using Offensive Security Techniques to Improve Cyber Defense

While the range of offensive security techniques may be diverse, the two most common ones are penetration testing and threat hunting. 

Penetration testing, also known as pen testing, is the use of simulated attacks on an organization’s system by its own security personnel in order to evaluate the system’s defensive robustness. Using penetration testing, cyber security professionals create and apply various test scenarios aimed at penetrating the defensive barrier of the system.

Threat hunting involves proactive and continual monitoring of systems for any existing threats that have penetrated the systems and are either actively exploiting them or waiting for an opportunity to exploit. While pen testing is aimed at identifying potential security threats, threat hunting deals with the existing threats on a network or system. 

Blue Team, Red Team…Purple Team?

In addition to the Blue Team and Red Team, the Purple Team is used to coordinate the actions of and enable efficient communication between the security teams. This is important because in many cases the Red and Blue teams are not incentivized to help each other, although they both have a common shared goal of strengthening an organization’s security. So the Purple Team can act as an intermediary that encourages both teams to share insights and create a strong line of communication, and ultimately improve an organization’s overall cyber security program.

Blue, Red, and Purple Teams are all important factors in your security, so if you’d like to learn more about how to use these approaches to safeguard your organization and its assets, reach out to our cybersecurity experts at halborn@protonmail.com

Cybersecurity: Why Blue Team Alone Isn’t Enough 
Rob Behnke
02.28.2022