The key to achieving a complete, real-time picture of security posture is to use a purple teaming paradigm for continuous assessment.
The cybersecurity industry is at a critical juncture. The last decade has laid a solid foundation of security operations and compliance concepts. But it is becoming obvious that despite this robust foundation, businesses are still getting infiltrated and teams still struggle with what tasks to prioritize. Furthermore, security programs are being bombarded with new tools and vendors promoting the latest technology, all while suffering a skills shortage. Essentially, the security program’s objective can quickly be lost in the jumble of technology options, time constraints, and data overload.
In the end, every company must answer the question, “How do adversaries breach the environment and how quickly can they stop them?” Organizations become vulnerable when the focus of the task shifts too far away from this core question.
Purple teaming can help keep everyone focused on that crucial question, but only if it is utilized as a mindset, a method of addressing and prioritizing the never-ending demands that security teams face.
Purple teaming is an exciting concept in cybersecurity, but it’s easy to misunderstand it and dismiss it without fully exploring it. Purple teaming, when implemented carefully, can transform the way security work is done and how the C-suite understands and communicates an organization’s security posture.
The Need for Purple Teaming
Purple teaming aims to break down cultural barriers, increase communication, and upgrade everyone’s skills and capabilities. This approach can significantly shorten the mean time to remediation for reported vulnerabilities and risks, as well as swiftly uncover important security shortfalls.
A purple team does not mean a mix of red and blue responsibilities – it is a function of those independent entities that ensures clear communication between them. For both red and blue team members, communication should be a fundamental aspect of the job. Teams are fractured if they don’t share knowledge for the common goal of upgrading defences.
Purple teaming is already an important job function for both offensive and defensive security specialists. Regrettably, what should happen and what really happens do not always coincide. It’s all too easy for offensive and defensive specialists to compartmentalize into separate and sometimes warring viewpoints. Collaboration is critical for discovering risks and proactively remediating them, but it can get lost in a jumble of goals and reports.
Furthermore, the purple team is in charge of delivering a full picture of actual security holes. The purple team benefits greatly from using a framework like MITRE ATT&CK since it can explain what vulnerabilities exist at different stages of the breach and attack life cycle. By focusing on certain metrics, the company may have a better understanding of how their security measures up. A methodology of continual evaluation and correction is the key to gaining this visibility.
Continuous Assessment Mindset
Purple teaming is, at its core, a collaborative process of constant assessment. Short iteration cycles with defined and transparent goals are ideal for the paradigm. These cycles should occur on a regular basis and should be planned and collaborative. Limiting scope is a novel strategy for teams that are accustomed to preparing for long, drawn-out assessments that last weeks or months.
By collaborating to test something specific, the teams can learn from each other and act on the results quickly. As a result, the team is able to detect and close important security gaps more quickly, resulting in a real-time trend view of the security posture.
This model can be difficult to implement. However, purple teaming as a paradigm, can provide enterprises a complete picture of their security posture and allow everyone, regardless of which teams they are in, to focus on getting the necessary task done with the right attitude, support, and partnership.