Enhance Digital Resilience with Red Teaming

Red Teaming is crucial for information security and risk management in modern businesses. With evolving threats, establishing preventive measures are not enough. Your ability to detect and respond will determine whether you survive an advanced cyber-attack with minor scratches or suffer a fatal wound. This article covers Red Teaming and the benefits it brings to securing and enhancing the resilience of an organisation’s assets and infrastructure.

Red Teaming, also known as Threat Led Penetration Testing, as referred to in the Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA), is mandatory for all financial institutions under DORA and must be conducted at least once every third year. It is also highly recommended in all other sectors as a means to test your capability to withstand a real attack. 

Red teaming explained

Red Teaming is a proactive security testing method where an independent group of security experts, known as the “red team,” attempt to mimic the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) of real-world adversaries to exploit vulnerabilities in an organisation’s systems, processes, and employees. There are many methodologies for performing these types of tests, the most prevalent in the EU is TIBER. Regardless of the methodology, Red Teaming help you identify weaknesses and potential security threats that might not be discovered through traditional penetration testing, vulnerability assessments, or compliance audits. 

The process also aims at exposing gaps or flaws in the organisation’s passive and active defences, such as security monitoring, incident response, and attack surface monitoring. 

Why should businesses conduct Red Teaming? 

Comprehensive security assessment: Red Teaming provides a holistic approach to security testing, covering not only technical vulnerabilities but also gaps in processes, policies, and employee awareness. By simulating real-world attacks, red teams can reveal areas where an organisation’s defences might fail, allowing businesses to address these issues before they can be exploited by malicious actors. It might even discover unknown assets that belong to the organisation and could pose a security risk if left unattended. 

Improved Incident Response and Recovery: Red team exercises help businesses to identify and assess their ability to detect, respond to, and recover from security incidents. By testing the organisation’s response capabilities in a controlled manner, businesses can identify areas for improvement and develop more effective incident response plans. 

Enhanced security awareness: Employees are often the weakest link in an organisation’s security chain. Red Teaming exercises can help raise awareness among employees by demonstrating the potential consequences of security lapses, such as falling for phishing attacks or inadvertently disclosing sensitive information. Targeted red team exercises can also help create awareness amongst specific groups, such as IT administrators, or physical security. This heightened awareness can lead to a more security-conscious workforce, which in turn can reduce the likelihood of successful attacks. 

Regulatory compliance: Many industries are subject to strict regulatory requirements regarding cybersecurity. For instance, all financial institutions are, as previously mentioned, mandated to conduct red team testing at least once every third year to ensure DORA compliance. Regular Red Teaming exercises help demonstrate compliance with these requirements and identify areas requiring additional controls to meet regulatory standards. 

Competitive advantage: A strong security posture can be a significant differentiator. Organisations that invest in Red Teaming exercises and address the vulnerabilities identified can reduce the likelihood of a successful cyber-attack, safeguarding their reputation and maintaining customer trust. 


Unlike traditional security testing methods, Red Teaming provides an opportunity to simulate the tactics and techniques used by real-world adversaries. This enables organisations to better understand the effectiveness against determined attackers, ensuring they are better prepared for real-world threats, and that their internal frameworks and incident plans function as intended. By not disclosing if, when or how a red team test is going to take place, the organisation is tested more “realistically” versus a pre-announced pentest. 

While there are clear benefits to Red Teaming, it is important to note that the cost of Red Teaming can be prohibitive. This includes higher indirect costs associated, as the business’ internal or external Incident Response Team (IRT) nay need to get activated to respond to the perceived threat. Despite the expenses, this is mostly viewed as a beneficial investment, as it provides invaluable hands-on training for the IRT. 

By investing in regular Red Teaming exercises, businesses can not only demonstrate compliance with industry regulations, but also foster a security-conscious culture, reduce the risk of successful attacks, and maintain a competitive edge in the marketplace. 

Visit our site Cyber & Digital Risk to learn how to stay secure and resilient in today’s ever-changing digital space.

Advisense performs red-team assessments for financial institutions, technology firms and other private and public sector organisations. Get in touch with our experts to get hands-on advice on how we can help protect your business.

Carsten Maartmann-Moe

Head of Cyber & Digital Risk

Joakim Harbitz

Senior Manager

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