Leading in the Security Industry

How Red Teams Validate Your Security

Sitting alone at a picnic table, within feet of a secure employee entrance, an unassuming male appears to be checking his tablet – all the while observing the activity and movement of those around him. He waits and watches without concern, as no one is paying any attention to him. Within a short time, an employee who seems more focused on a phone call than her surroundings casually walks past him to the entrance. She waves her ID card at the access pad, hears the beep, and pulls the handle. Seconds later, the man is on his feet and catches the door before it can close. The employee didn’t even look back to see who was there. Soon he was walking the corridors and sending photos of staff, documents, and details of the facility, as fast as he could take them, to an accomplice in the parking lot. For nearly 30-minutes, the man walked through the building, unchallenged, before exiting, returning to the car, and quietly leaving the area.

Sound like a spy novel? It could be, but it was just a small part of an actual Red Team operation conducted by The North Group (TNG).

Red teaming is how an organization validates its security protocols’ actual effectiveness against real-world adversaries. By identifying gaps and weaknesses before an incident occurs, TNG Red Teams can help your business improve its overall security capabilities.

For example, our teams can:

  1. Validate the effectiveness of access control and security systems;
  2. Test situational awareness and vulnerability to adversarial surveillance;
  3. Test response time to a perpetrator or attack;
  4. Test personnel susceptibility to influence or coercion;
  5. Test network security systems and protocols;
  6. Help satisfy industry or client requirements.

These skilled and carefully planned activities quickly identify and classify security risks. Our teams recognize social engineering vulnerabilities, exploit weaknesses, and showcase the impacts of exposure – all helping to reduce stakeholder liability through analytical reporting. We can’t say red teaming will stop all threats, but what can it do?

Physically testing your organization’s susceptibility can mitigate the targeting of facilities, employees, or systems by a competitor, or other rivals, by providing you the information needed to make improvements before it’s too late.

However, it’s not always about finding the negative. Red teams can also identify your organization’s positive security aspects and show you your strengths. Although not everyone is a fan of this approach.

A common misconception is that red teams damage property, compromise systems, or physically engage employees. While they can (if you really want them to), this is rarely the case. TNG Red Teams operate under strict rules of engagement identified by you, the client. They will not take any aspect of the operation further than needed to meet your intent. Anyone can break a window, but an effective red team will plan their approach, collect information, and exploit your vulnerabilities with barely a notice – similar to the opening story. Covertness is the most likely course of action that any true adversary will take.

Understandably, third-party validation can cause additional concerns, especially when intellectual property and internal processes are at risk of exposure. However, organizations can protect themselves by performing their due diligence and adequately vetting any outside service provider.

Security-conscious organizations understand the value of third-party validation. Don’t just “check the box” on your own to satisfy a directive or requirement. Doing so is nothing more than grading your own test – and how productive can that be?

About The North Group

The North Group is an intelligence-driven, global risk management firm that provides security services customized from inception to resolution. We deliver protective services, risk management consultation, and intelligence reporting at both the individual and organizational levels. Our success capitalizes on our 100+ combined years of military, law enforcement, and private sector experience.

To find out more about how The North Group can help your organization before, during, and after a crisis, visit our website at www.TNGdefense.com, email us at solutions@TNGdefense.com or call us at 1 (844) 750-9222.