We may have the best defense against bad actors in town, but we also can help you with your offense.

It might be a hot-topic of conversation thanks to political matters - but know that the security of your company doesn’t rest in the hands of lawmakers, nor should it. Deciding to invest in your business’ security can look different for different companies based on their size, business-type and financial capabilities.

Enlisting the help of an ethical hacker or having internal teams could be the best decision you make for your business. Yes, we want you to be defensively strong, but it’s the offense that really opens up your business to be proactive towards your data security.

Here are some possible offensive solutions you can implement in your security planning:

Start Small

Know that you don’t have to buy everything on the market or the grandest tool all at once. It may be best to start small and put the focus on the seemingly little precautions so that you are proactive in regards to cybercrime. There are some basic security measures you can take – it may not be automated and it may require everyone’s involvement but it’s good to be disciplined in the small things. This could include initiatives like company-wide password resets on a recurring basis or only granting access to those who actually need it to certain critical points in your company. Or maybe it could be just ensuring everyone is applying the appropriate updates to their systems and spend some time each week reading up on the latest breaches in systems they use—awareness is key!

Hire an Ethical Hacker

This could be a consultant that you have come in routinely either once, or several, times a year to emulate that of an actual bad actor by trying to breach and exploit data. What they’ll do is let you know of any gaps or seams in the security coverage of your system. Know that just because you implemented security software that you aren’t completely safe. There are seams between your coverage which will show during a pen-test. Remember, any defense you have in place is often known by the bad actors – still leaving you at risk.

Just like your car, your system needs routine maintenance and check-ups. Find what’s working well and what’s not so you can target your efforts. Ethical hackers will conduct penetration tests to see just how well your system is working—as well as what order you should tackle the risks!

Build Your Teams: Red, Blue and Purple

If you are able to, building out teams to consistently test that your company has the right security measures in place would be a natural next move. What you may come to find is that there are many teams that you want to have in place to ethically hack, defend, and monitor your system. When creating these teams, make sure you have concrete, specific functions for each with no crossover tasks. Not doing so would create conflict of interest and bias in their work. Let’s dive into the three general teams to consider building:

First, a Red-Team. This is a group that’s main objective is to attack your system. These are the ones running the pen-tests and seeing how far into your system they can make it. Normally, this is a team that isn’t part of your internal staff but will routinely act on their main objective set depending on what your priorities are at the time. This team will provide unbiased insights and may think differently than the internal staff in terms of what they are looking to break through. They will pivot between points in your network to see how much data they can exploit. It’s important that the members of this team are only focused on trying to exploit and breach the network.

Alternatively, you will want to have a Blue-Team working in tandem with your Red-Team. The Blue team represents the defense. This would be the team that you have internally whose intent is to defend against the Red-Team and any bad actors. Unlike most security teams in business, this group is constantly focused on being aware of attacks happening and combatting them.

Having a team internally focused on your company is becoming more important as your business’ safety and reputation are often top of mind. Lastly, there should be a team focused on the consistent health posture of your organization, better known as the Purple Team.  This is the team that works to put the findings of both the Red and Blue Teams together. They take the defensive tactics from the Blue Team and the known threats from the Red-Team to put together the best offense – and defense – against threats or bad actors out there.

Though these three teams have different objectives, the overarching goal for each of them is to ensure and improve the security posture of your business. When having a designated group to focus on each piece, you will better explore the full scope of security and what it means for your business.

It Takes a Team

As for which method works best for you – that can vary. Your business model and needs may make the decision for you as to where you should start. However, remember that you can grow into different phases and it might even take some trial and error.

Take what you’ve learned here and start with some basic security initiatives, then hire an ethical hacker and eventually develop an entire team – or multiple teams as discussed.  For more information on getting the most out of penetration testing for your organization, visit “Guide to Successful Pen-Testing” for checklists, guides, tips and more.