How To Prepare For A Red Team Attack

If you’re unsure how your organisation handles a cybersecurity attack, perhaps because you’ve never experienced one, then you may have already reached out for some red team services. It has become one of the most sought-after ways to identify vulnerabilities within a company’s security. But, in order to get the most out of it, it’s important to prepare correctly.

Understanding Red Team Attacks

A red team attack is a controlled attack conducted by a group of ethical hackers to evaluate an organisation’s security measures. Unlike penetration testing, which focuses on specific systems or applications, red teaming takes a more holistic approach by considering the entire organisation.

Before engaging in a red team exercise, there are some preparations to consider. These are important regardless of whether you’re conducting the attack in-house or using red team services, though, the latter will help you with the post-attack analysis.

Key Preparations Before the Attack

Assessment of Current Security Measures

Organisations should thoroughly assess their existing security protocols and systems before starting with red team services. A comprehensive security audit helps identify potential vulnerabilities and provides a baseline for measuring the effectiveness of the red team attack. Otherwise, many of the vulnerabilities that will be spotted will be more obvious things you could have spotted yourself. This assessment should cover network infrastructure, access controls, data protection measures, and so on.

Employee Training and Awareness

Employees are often the weakest link in an organisation’s security chain. Therefore, it is essential to train staff to recognise phishing attempts, social engineering tactics, and other techniques commonly used by attackers. As it’s becoming obvious, your cybersecurity efforts should come before a red teaming exercise, not just after. 

Implementing Incident Response Plans

Having a well-defined incident response plan is crucial for effectively managing a red team attack. The plan should outline clear communication roles and responsibilities for team members during and after an attack. It should also include procedures for isolating affected systems and containing the attack. But, to really get the most out of the red team attack, you should also train for preserving evidence for analysis post-attack too.

During the Attack: Monitoring and Response

Real-Time Monitoring

During a red team attack, designated teams must actively monitor for unusual activity. This includes monitoring network traffic and user behaviour to detect any suspicious or unauthorised actions. Real-time monitoring enables quick identification and response to potential breaches.

Adaptive Response Strategies

As the red team attack unfolds, response strategies may need to adapt based on the attacker’s tactics and the evolving nature of the threat. Teams should be prepared to isolate affected systems, contain the attack, and implement contingency plans to minimise the impact on business operations.

Post-Attack: Learning and Strengthening

Analysing the Results

After the red team attack concludes, a thorough analysis of the findings is essential, and this is where the preserving evidence step will come in handy. This analysis should identify security gaps, which vulnerabilities were exploited by the red team, and areas for improvement. The results essentially point out what needs improving, and much of this analysis will be done by the company you’re using, though you should also assess internally to sharpen these strategies, too.

Implementing Improvements

Based on the lessons learned from the red team attack, organisations should implement targeted improvements to their security measures, like updating incident response plans and investing in additional security technologies. 


Red team attacks serve as valuable tools for organisations to proactively identify security threats. But, in order to get the most out of them, the company should try their best to prepare. Otherwise, a lot of the post-analysis will be things that are already known by the company.

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