Purple Team Exercises

Due to the constant evolvement of the cybersecurity industry, certain jargons and terminology are also evolving constantly. For instance, you may have heard an increase mention of Blue Teams and Red Teams inside IT departments and boardrooms. 

For a person who is new to the field, these terminologies can be rather confusing sometimes. This is primarily because their definitions are quite broad and sometimes confusing. At times, they are also interchangeable with terms that are not otherwise applicable. For instance, staff members may use the ‘red team’ to refer to internal teams in an organization.

Among all the terms that are becoming popular, the ‘Purple Team’ is a common one. While this term can also be used to refer to a staff organization in a company, it is more often used to describe a cybersecurity exercise.

Essentially, a purple team’s function is to increase the flow of information between the Blue and Red team in an organization. This also includes increasing the effectiveness of this information transfer. In this regard, we can say that it is a combination of the blue and red teams. 

In other words, a purple team enhances the capabilities of the existing blue and red teams, rather than filling the roles of blue and reds. 

In this regard, a purple team is more than just a way of organizing the staff. Rather, it carries the responsibility of: 

  1. Reviewing the reports of the red team 
  2. Analyzing the records and applicable logs that correlate with campaigns 
  3. Creates a remediation plan and executes it 
  4. Notifies the red team about remediation steps 

The above-mentioned methodology is the standard exercise of a purple team. However, usually, it may rely on multiple back and forth rounds between the teams. In case there is a remediation failure, the purple team may have to document and complete more rounds. As a result of this, there can sometimes be a delay in the defensive implementations. 

One of the most effective ways of improving the effectiveness of Purple Team exercises is to limit its size. According to a number of experts, Purple Teams does not require a big staff. However, there is certainly a need for mature people in it.

A purple team can be run efficiently by two or three people only (provided that the team is experienced and mature). After all, Purple Team exercises are primarily executed to test the process of the blue team, technologies, and people. Hence, its purpose is more about testing the gaps and assumptions rather than having a big staff. 

Another important tip would be to understand the importance of the exercise. This may require a plan, to begin with, and just like everything else, planning brings the most effective results. In other words, we can also say that planning beforehand will bring a big bang for the buck. 

So before setting up the exercise of a Purple Team, it is very important to consider the goals of the particular exercise. These may vary depending on the situation at hand.