What is the difference between red team and blue team penetration testers?

A red figure among many blue figures

Red team and blue team are terms commonly used to describe the roles and responsibilities of different groups within an organisation that are responsible for cyber security testing and incident response. The terms are often used in the context of larger organisations who have the resources to manage cyber security inhouse. As well as always using 3rd-party penetration testers and auditors. Here is a brief overview of the main differences between these teams: 

  • Red team: A red team is a group of security professionals who simulate the actions of an attacker and attempt to breach an organisation’s defences in order to identify weaknesses and vulnerabilities. The goal of a red team is to test the organisation’s security controls and incident response capabilities in a realistic and adversarial way. 
  • Blue team: A blue team is a group of security professionals who work to identify and mitigate internal threats to an organisation. They may be responsible for monitoring employee activity, detecting insider threats, and implementing controls to prevent unauthorised access to sensitive data. 

In some cases, these teams may work together to simulate complex and realistic attack scenarios to test the organisation’s security posture and incident response capabilities. If the organisation has a more collaborative approach to how these teams work together then sometime the term ‘Purple Team’ is used. The specific roles and responsibilities of these teams can vary depending on the needs and goals of the organisation. 

To read more on the roles and differences between these teams read our latest blog here. 

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