What is Purple Teaming?

And Why Your Security Team Should Be Doing It

Much like any other industry, the cybersecurity industry is no stranger to catchy titles and fads that come and go with the seasons. At first, it may seem like purple teaming is one of those fads.

However, Purple Teaming is no gimmick but rather a new way to do cybersecurity. Purple Teaming is an evolution of the traditional Red and Blue Team concept—which is often adversarial—that instead focuses on the collaboration between the two teams in order to maximize your defense against bad actors.

But what actually is Purple Teaming? Why should your security team be implementing Purple Teaming activities? And what are some of the biggest “wins” you can expect to obtain from establishing a Purple Teaming environment?

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What is Purple Teaming?

Traditionally, a Purple Team is considered a penetration testing team collaborating with a subset of the Blue Team to conduct a concrete, point-in-time assessment. The Red Team explains what attacks they are executing in real-time, with a goal of determining whether the Blue Team can either prevent or detect the attack in question.

It’s important to remember that, unlike traditional red teaming, the methods of attack and defense in purple teaming are all predetermined. The goal of a Purple Teaming exercise is to identify a control, test attack tactics and techniques of that control, and collaborate with the Blue Team on ways to remediate and improve the defenses on that control.

There truly is a collaborative aspect to Purple Teaming, which is in stark contrast to the traditional, adversarial nature of your Red and Blue Teams. All too often, Red and Blue Teams are concerned with outsmarting and outperforming one another. Purple Teaming is a reminder that whether you’re red or blue, you’re on the same team in the fight against external threats.

To hear a more thorough explanation on Purple Teaming, the problems with the current status quo in InfoSec, and much more, get a copy of our white paper on Effective Purple Teaming.

Why is Purple Teaming Important?

Like previously discussed, Purple Teaming is the collaborative function performed by Red Teams and Blue Teams to mitigate all of the pains discussed thus far. It’s a new approach to collaborative testing and remediation that seeks to break down cultural barriers, improve communication, and “level up” everyone’s skills. It is also aimed at reducing the mean time to remediation for reported risks and vulnerabilities.

This reduced time to remediation is accomplished by improving the coordination and collaboration between your entire security team, especially focusing on joint training across a spectrum of cybersecurity activities. Sure, you can simply “get the job done” by continuing to cultivate a competitive environment, but doing so prevents your team from truly firing on all cylinders from an efficiency standpoint. 

Note that purple teaming is a role but not a job; there are no dedicated Purple Team members. A team member’s function is either Red or Blue, but everyone’s role is strictly Purple with a common mission of detecting compromise as early as possible within the attack lifecycle.

So what happens when everyone buys into this idea of Purple Teaming? The simple answer is, you win.

Purple Teaming for the Win!

The first and maybe the most important difference you’ll see in a collaborative Purple Teaming environment is improvements to your organization’s detection and response capacity. This enhanced collaboration between teams means you’ll have a ton of shared information for all of your most important assets and controls. So, when something inevitably goes wrong, you’ll be able both to understand and act on the problem in record time.

For example, a collaborative effort between Red and Blue will allow both teams to understand a nefarious attacker’s tactics, techniques, and procedures (or TTPs). Understanding these TTPs allows Red Teamers to conduct exercises mimicking these TTPs and Blue Teamers the opportunity to defend against these TTPs by making informed improvements to their security posture.

Additionally, Purple Teaming gives your entire team a wider field of vision, helping you track signal through the noise. All too often a breach attempt goes undetected by the Blue Team. This isn’t the Blue Team’s fault, though, but rather a byproduct of the fact that security teams have finite time and resources. In a team with finite resources, it’s important to focus on protecting the most important and most vulnerable assets. This is where Purple Teaming comes to the rescue. With an effective Purple Team, your team will be able to identify where you need the most help and prioritize accordingly.

The PlexTrac Solution

It’s no secret that we’re huge fans of Purple Teaming here at PlexTrac, and we are confident that we offer the best platform in the industry for your Purple Teaming exercises (we are the Purple Teaming platform, after all). This is because PlexTrac offers solutions for Red Teamers, Blue Teamers, AND collaborative Purple Teaming efforts.

PlexTrac eliminates the drudgery of reporting so Red Teams can focus on what’s most important—identifying security issues. Reports may be exported to custom Word formats with the click of a button. PlexTrac can even serve as a Purple Teaming client portal by granting Blue Team members access with role-based controls.

PlexTrac offers Blue Teams a platform to consolidate security findings. Findings may be sliced and diced with infinite flexibility. Our status tracker and integrations with ticketing systems mean findings can be reported and remediated in the same interface. No more 500-page penetration test reports. No more copying and pasting, or painful integrations. And no more untracked issues.

Additionally, PlexTrac has taken Purple Teaming to the next level with the release of our new Runbooks module. Runbooks provides a platform to help guide the standardization of your security team, allowing you to script your processes. Once planned, execute on TTPs with checklist precision to ensure complete coverage of the attack surface. Lastly, produce evidence-backed reports with attestation directly from your work in Runbooks.

Simply put, PlexTrac is the ultimate Purple Teaming Platform for every cybersecurity professional. Still don’t believe us? Book a demo with our team and find out for yourself.

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