What Is a Purple Team in Cybersecurity?

Organizations always have to pay huge attention to their security. You might have heard of red and blue teams in security departments. But do you know what a purple team is and how it works? What role does a purple team play in improving the security of a company and protecting it from threats? And which is better; one purple team, or red and blue teams?


What Are Red and Blue Teams in Cybersecurity?

To understand what a purple team is and how it works, it is important to know what red and blue teams are. The terms “red team” and “blue team” originated from the military lingo, where they were divided into two teams; the red team on offense and the blue team on defense. Although they work together for the security of the organization, the red and blue teams are inherently different.

The red team in cybersecurity is a group of offensive security professionals whose job it is to find weaknesses and vulnerabilities in an organization’s security by simulating real-world attacks on it. A blue team is a group of cybersecurity professionals who defend the company from cyberattacks. They carry out vulnerability scans, create security patches, and analyze the systems and implement security measures.

What Is a Purple Team?

A purple team is the amalgamation of the red and blue teams. A purple team is the combination of both offensive and defensive cybersecurity professionals, who perform their responsibilities as a single unit.

The security departments of most organizations are made up of a red and blue team. And although these groups have the same aim—to strengthen the security of that business—they work independently and towards different, smaller goals in order to achieve the larger goal.

The red team seeks out vulnerabilities and weaknesses in the system and tries to do that without being detected by the blue team. The blue team’s aim is to ensure that the security is near-perfect and that the red team doesn’t find any vulnerabilities. It is only after their independent exercises that they are able to present their findings and work on the reports and feedback. This is not particularly efficient.

In the purple team, the offensive and defensive professionals work in sync. For instance, a purple team might decide to work on a particular security section; say, broken authentication. The offensive security professionals don’t just start scouting for vulnerabilities. They work together with the defense to find out weak points and patch the vulnerabilities that might arise.

What Does a Purple Team Do?

A purple team performs both red team and blue team tasks. This means that they carry out penetration tests, vulnerability testing, adversary emulation, threat intelligence, forensic analysis, responding to cyber-threats and breaches, system and DNS audits, Security Operations Center (SOC) functions, security automation, reverse engineering, and more.

What Are the Advantages of a Purple Team?

The purple team has many advantages when compared to the conventional red and blue teams.

Better Communication and Collaboration

When the security of an organization is controlled by one team instead of two divisions, it is easier for them to communicate and collaborate effectively. There will be no need for the unnecessary back and forth and gaps in communication that a red and blue team might face. And it is easier for them to work on projects since they are a single unit.

Effective Security

With purple teams, the security and vulnerability detection of an organization improves greatly. Instead of working independently, the purple team works together and constantly shares their knowledge and expertise with each other, helping one another improve security.

Time Management

Not only is the security improved, but it is also more efficient and faster. Time is a valuable asset in cybersecurity. Because in a purple team the offensive and defensive professionals work together, they save a lot of time and detect and patch vulnerabilities faster.

Purple Teams Improve Your Company’s Security

The main aim of combining the blue and red teams into a purple team is to improve your organization’s security posture. With effective collaboration and timely vulnerability management and patching, among the other responsibilities of the purple team, the likelihood of cyberattacks is very low. And in the event that one occurs, the purple team responds to it in a timely and effective manner.

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