Purple Teaming: Role of Purple Team in Cybersecurity

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17th Jan, 2023
Purple Teaming: Role of Purple Team in Cybersecurity

In the internet world, many people are familiar with the terms red teaming and blue teaming, but a few are familiar with purple teaming. Red teaming refers to attackers, blue teaming refers to defenders, while the purple team in cybersecurity lies in between. Purple teaming cybersecurity plays an important role in understanding threat tactics. Let us understand what a purple team, its role in an organization, and its scope in this field is. To boost your cybersecurity knowledge, go for Ethical Hacking training online

What is Purple Teaming in Cybersecurity?

Before understanding purple teaming, it is important to know about red and blue teaming. “Red teaming is the practice of testing the security of an organization’s system by emulating networks, applications, firewalls, and even employees.” In simple words, the red team refers to the team which has the intention of identifying and accessing vulnerabilities in an organization by hacking into their servers, not with the intention of doing any harm.

According to Wikipedia, “Blue teaming is the practice of evaluating and protecting the security of an organization’s system from red team and other threat actors.” In simple words, blue team refers to team that tries to defend an organization's infrastructure from red team and other real threat actors. A purple team is a large team consisting of people who are good with anyone, i.e., red teaming or blue teaming, with a mindset of treating the red and blue team as symbiotic and focus on improving security.

What does a Purple Team Do?

Purple team in security has one or more of the following goals: 

  • Identifying the gaps in organization’s defenses and measuring its coverage 
  • Boosts security of organizations without increasing the budget 
  • Enhances the security knowledge of the members of the team 
  • Brings collaborative culture that promotes continuous security improvements 

Need of Purple Teaming

As we know in purple teaming, members of both red team and blue team comes together with an intention of improving the security of level of an organization. In purple teaming, member of both red team and blue team are present, the red team members help the team in understanding the threat actor’s tactics, techniques and procedures, and blue team members on the basis of the information given by red team configures and improve its detection and response capabilities. By working together, they create a strong team who is ready to respond and fight a real time attack efficiently with no delay time. 

How does Purple Teaming Work?

Ethical hackers and red teamers test the security of an organization by launching cyber-attacks in a controlled environment. Red teams and blue teams oppose each other as they both work to improve organization security but in their own ways. Red teams perform attacks and try to breach the security while blue team tries to prevent the red team attacks and breaches.  

The role of purple team is important but less known as compared to red team and blue team. Purple team can be in a several ways like it can be a team of outside security professionals, who performs the function of both red and blue team, or an organization can make its own purple team and have the staff filled with both red team and blue team. In both the scenarios, the purple team staff is divided into red and blue team and sometimes they also keep changing their roles to keep their skills flexible.

As both, red teams and blue teams are opposing identities, to ensure that both are working in collaboration, a purple team is needed to analyse their work from a distance. In this way, purple team act as a mediator and helps in improving organization's security.

Types of Purple Teaming

As the purple team is a collaboration between red team and blue team with various security professionals with different skill sets, it can be made in various ways depending on the situation and objectives. Some organizations make a dedicated purple team, while others keep them separated and use purple teaming as a functional team, apart from this, an organization can also hire a purple team for a period of time. Go for Cyber Security certifications to increase your chances of bagging a good job offer. 

Purple Team Maturity Model

A purple team maturity model encourages the creation of a permanent team who share common goals and objectives. These newly made teams are measured through threat understanding and detection understanding. Purple team framework helps in understanding deployment, integration, and creation.

  • Level 1 (Deployment) – This is where the journey begins. In the first level of maturity, teams deploy tools developed by someone else. These tools can include vendor platforms or open-source projects. 
  • Level 2 (Integration) – In this second level of maturity, teams pair the tools and resources together to achieve better results.  
  • Level 3 (Creation) – In this final level of maturity, teams add novel tools to the capabilities developed in previous levels.

By utilizing this model, purple team programs can chart a strategic map around building internal capability for purple team activities. 

Benefits of Purple Team Security

As we have understood what purple teaming is, how it works, now let us take a look at how it will benefit your organization: 

1. Enhance Security Knowledge

As a part of purple team, they would get to know about the attacks, methodology used in those attacks, and other in-depth knowledge that will surely help them in better understanding of attacks and hence boosts the security of the organization. 

2. Boosts Performance Without Increasing Budget

As purple team is a combination of red team and blue team, combining this allows an organization to improve their security infrastructure and threat monitoring speed at a lower cost. 

3. Streamline Security Improvements

Purple teaming will bring a collaborative culture in the organization that promotes continuous improvements in the organization’s security and also the knowledge of the team members. 

4. Gain Critical Insights

Purple team gives a detailed view of the gaps in the security and helps the internal team to identify the areas where improvement is needed. 

5. Time Management

In purple team, members of both, red and blue team will be working together in the same environment and same place, then it will save time in establishing a communication environment. 

6. Better Communication and Collaboration

In purple team, members of both, red and blue team works together which improves the communication gaps and also provides a collaborative environment for upgrading their skills. 

Purple Team Exercise

A purple team exercise is an open engagement where red and blue teams come together for a pre-planned exercise for an open discussion on attack technique and Défense expectations to improve people, processes, and technology in real time. 

In purple teaming exercise, attackers expose their attack activities and give an explanation for the same, while defenders also show how they detect these types of attacks and how they respond. Purple team activities are done in the following steps: 

Purple Team Activities


In this step, scope and target scenarios are identified and discussed among other members. 


In this step, red team performs different attacks on the target chosen in above step while blue team tries to identify the activities and tries to defend. 


Once blue team is successful in identifying the red team activities, it responds to the attack, red team then increases the attack level. Once the objectives are achieved, red team stops and both teams discuss their findings.  


The above steps will provide high level insights into how detective capabilities have been increased. All improvements as well as detections are evaluated.  


Both the teams sit together and discuss their finding and presents their views on how they can improve. Now SOC team is informed about this exercise and used attack path and they start taking actions to improve the organizations security.

Purple Team Exercise Tools

The below list is a compilation of purple team tools that are most widely used in purple teaming exercises. 

Some other commercial tools are: 

Purple Teaming Assessment and Mitigation Cycle

The key to protect your organizations against critical threats is preparation, your team may have all the certifications, and best tools but it is difficult to know how well this works without testing them. Purple team assessments help you drive your capabilities forward, evaluating new processes, policies, tools and get better value from your technological investments. 

The main features of purple team assessments are: 

  1. Improving your teams’ capabilities at every stage 
  2. Testing with industry standard MITRE ATTACK framework 
  3. Simulate tools, techniques and procedures from threat groups that are most active in the industry 
  4. Receives tactical and strategic guidance on critical processes, technology and operational improvements. 
  5. Refine and mature your attack responses 

Steps for Building a Successful Purple Team

Building a successful purple team that boosts your organization's security requires following a good plan that are explained in following steps: 

  1. Develop a Plan: Using MITRE ATTACK framework, create a comprehensive purple team plan. Developing a plan helps you set up your organization for success. 
  2. Leverage Automation: Automation tools have become an integral part of the purple teaming methodology. Automation provides continuous testing and evaluation and ensure no security gaps left behind. Automation also provides your security team with real time data tracking. 
  3. Set Goals: Without setting your goals, it’s difficult for a team to complete their mission. Give the team details of the objectives to help them find the problem and develop solutions.  
  4. Execute your Plan: Following a structured plan helps teams manage all security incidents effectively and ensures that they are on the right track to achieving their goals and objectives. 
  5. Measure Exercise Results: On completion of the purple team exercise, document all the results so that it helps your team identify what the organization needs now and in the future. 

Purple Team Tactics

To improve the security of your organization’s infrastructure, you need to implement some purple teaming strategies, some of the important ones that you need to keep in your mind are following: 

  1. Understand organizations culture 
  2. Operationalize the MITRE framework 
  3. Understand your team's strengths and weakness 
  4. Create a good and healthy environment for communication 
  5. Have a strategy implementation for 24/7 testing 

Purple Teaming Strategy Implementing Challenges

The main challenges in implementing purple teaming strategies are lack of communication and not having a clear understanding of your team's strengths and weaknesses.  

How to Become a Certified Purple Team Analyst?

Becoming a certified purple team analyst is not a difficult task, but finding and following a right path for this is a challenging task. Before you start learning about purple team analyst, it must to have some prerequisite knowledge that are as follows:  

  • Experience with Linux and Windows from the command line (including PowerShell) 
  • Familiarity with Windows Active Directory concepts 
  • A baseline understanding of cyber security topics 
  • A solid understanding of TCP/IP and networking concepts 

To gain these skills, we provide the best courses that not only give the knowledge of above-mentioned topics, but a lot more that will help you in learning other skills in cyber. The following purple team certification will fulfil the pre requisite that is required in becoming purple team analyst: 

  1. Ethical Hacking Training Online 
  2. Cybersecurity Certifications 

Upon receiving the foundational knowledge, you can go for purple teaming certifications which will not give you the complete knowledge of purple team testing and practical implementation.


To conclude, know that purple teaming is a security method in which red and blue team work together to maximize and enhance capabilities. Purple team in cybersecurity works in favor of both the red and blue team. The four questions of purple teaming are was red team detected on each escalation? How could red team have been prevented from each escalation? What are the root causes for each lapse that resulted? Could the red team have been detected/prevented faster? You can take KnowledgeHut Ethical Hacking training online to gain more knowledge and certification. 


Dheeraj Yadav

Blog Author

A 19y/o self-learned ethical hacker, mainly interested in bug hunting, malware analysis, and digital forensics. Currently expertise in SEO, OSINT, ethical hacking, SOC, Shopify, and front-end web.

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