December 8, 2021

Why Your Business Should Execute Red Teaming for Tougher Cyber Defenses

Cyber attacks are getting more sophisticated.

That’s why it’s important to take a more proactive approach to fortify your company’s defenses against cyber threats.

You’ll need to ensure you have the right policies, protocols, and procedures to keep your data and infrastructure secure, including taking the right steps to enhance your website security.

An excellent solution is to execute red teaming.

Red teaming is a multi-level attack simulation intended to measure how well your cyber defenses can hold up against real-world attacks.

Its objective is to optimize your business’s security posture ultimately.

If you’re still on the fence about adopting red teaming into your cybersecurity strategies, then read on about its benefits and how it can strengthen your cyber defenses.

Red teaming: A quick overview

Red teaming is a full-scope attack simulation designed to measure how your company can withstand attacks from real-life attackers.

Essentially, red teaming is a form of ethical hacking that allows independent security teams to test your current cybersecurity posture and infrastructure, exposing risks and vulnerabilities.

This includes testing your:

  • Information security and technology, such as applications, networks, switches, routers, sensitive data, phishing, and appliances.
  • Physical infrastructures, such as substations, buildings, offices, warehouses, and data centers.
  • The people within or working with your company, such as your employees, business partners, independent contractors, and departments.

Red teaming leverages social engineering, penetration testing, and the MITRE ATTACK framework (among others) to find ways to reinforce your defenses.

How red teaming works

The critical steps involved in red teaming include the following.

1. Objective setting

Start with Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely (SMART) goals to shape and guide your red teaming execution.

The SMART goals can also help you measure your red team’s progress, monitor your attack objectives, and determine if your team can accomplish said goals.

Provide focus and guidance for red teams attacking your system, whether you have simple or complex goals.

2. Information gathering

Red teams must gather information on the attack target. This is crucial to your red team’s targeting efforts when uncovering vulnerable vectors to penetrate your systems.

The gathered attack target information can vary — from your company employees’ personal information to your system’s technical specifics.

This also includes documenting anything and everything that red teams can use in the attack simulation.

3. Attack simulation

Red teams use all the information and tools in their arsenal to simulate an attack. This includes exploiting vulnerabilities and compromising your company’s systems and networks.

The attack simulation will put your blue team and defenses to the test, and all the identified vulnerabilities by your red team are documented for reporting.

4. Reporting

Sort and prioritize the importance of each vulnerability for your business after running the attack simulation.

Your red team should consolidate all the findings, document each attack vector’s vulnerabilities and risks, and report the information to your cyber security team for resolution and patching in the future.

5 Benefits of red teaming for your business cybersecurity

Red teaming offers several benefits — from thoroughly finding and exposing your preventive capabilities to supercharging your defensive cybersecurity protocols.

Some of the other advantages of red teaming include the following.

1. Uncover your development and testing process weaknesses

Testing is one of the critical aspects of developing online-based systems and apps.

During the testing phase, you’ll need to evaluate the app or system based on its ability to withstand external and internal threats.

Executing red teaming on external threats allows you to expose your product to simulated attacks and test out its defenses.

This helps ensure your product is safe from cyber threats before fully deploying and implementing it.

2. Catch your network vulnerabilities

Red teams perform thorough attack simulations that help you uncover previously unknown vulnerabilities and risks in your network.

This helps you take a proactive and preventive approach to address exploitable gaps in your security posture and infrastructure.

As such, you can strengthen your cyber defense protocols and systems and be better prepared to face potential threats and attacks in the future.

3. Perform in-depth security performance level assessments

Red teaming activities allow you to comprehensively assess your existing people and processes in place intended to protect your business against cyber threats.

This helps you determine your current security posture’s health and establish more strategic controls and policies in place.

For instance, overly successful red teaming activities can mean that your existing cybersecurity processes and people might be weak.

This can help lead you to the best ways to overhaul your defensive structures or improve and fortify the weak areas.

4. Understand better the impact of security breaches

If your company has not been on the receiving end of a damaging cyber-attack, you and your employees might not quite understand the impact of security breaches.

This can lead to lax cybersecurity measures, poor security practices, and unchecked vulnerabilities and risks.

The simulated attacks from red teaming activities can open your eyes and give you a real-life example of what could happen if you don’t “tighten” your cyber defenses.

Red teaming can bring better awareness and insights about cyber attacks and their potential impact on your company.

This helps facilitate stronger cyber security measures and controls for your business and assets.

5. Provide solid evidence to justify your security spending

Investing in your security systems and infrastructure isn’t exactly cheap.

This makes it crucial to ensure you don’t waste your budget while optimizing your security controls and processes.

Red teaming helps you determine whether you’re spending your money on the right cybersecurity initiatives since you can see if your current security systems and controls are working or not.

Red teaming reports and findings can also allow you to justify spending on, let’s say, better network security.

For example, if your red teaming activities successfully knocked down your company’s core infrastructure, you could use the findings to justify spending on reinforcing your defensive structures.

Fortify your cyber defensive measures with red teaming

Red teaming can be a long and tedious process, but it’s also comprehensive and highly effective in uncovering your system and infrastructure risks and vulnerabilities.

Work with reliable cybersecurity experts and service providers to seamlessly execute red teaming and toughen up your cyber defenses.

This helps you plan the right strategies and better prepare and protect your business against future cyber-attacks.

About the author 

Peter Hatch

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