What is Cybersecurity Color Wheel? Detailed Explanation

Written By Sambita Panigrahy  
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh 
Published On May 1st, 2023
Reading Time 5 Minutes Reading

Summary: In this blog post, we’ll cover the cybersecurity color wheel, what colors are associated with it and what’s its functionality. Without further ado, let’s have an in-depth discussion.

It’s hard to imagine that cybersecurity can be associated with colors, but, it is true. There are some color-inspired terms that are being labeled based on the different functionalities of different teams. April C. Wright wrote a paper related to the color wheel in 2017. 

A Brief Introduction to Cybersecurity Color Wheel

This is also referred to as an information security color wheel. It’s nothing but a multicolored circle that describes various fields of cybersecurity. The operation of cybersecurity teams is identified and defined by the colors. 

Basically, the color codes are categorized into two teams.

  1. Primary Color Team: It consists of the colors red, blue, and yellow.
  2. Secondary Color Team: These colors are a combination of primary colors and are purple, orange, and green. For instance, red+blue = purple; yellow+red = orange; yellow+blue= green.

cybersecurity color wheel

Just like colors blend, their team functionalities also blend in the case of secondary colors. 

Now, let’s look into the working operation of each team category-wise.

Cybersecurity Color Wheel – Know the Work Responsibility of the Primary Color Team

The red and blue teams are well-known terms in the field of cybersecurity. Anyway, here we’ll discuss all three colors i.e. red, blue, & yellow teams, and their associated role.

Red Team

The red team is often called an offensive team and is recognized as “the breakers” of the IT security world. As the name suggests, the role of the team is to break into any system or network to identify potential vulnerabilities and risks. The team executes mock cyberattacks and finds out & computes the vulnerabilities before an outside hacker finds them. Since they act like real-life cybercriminals, their color band is identified as red.

Commonly, the red team members are referred to as ethical hackers and threat analysts who analyze the potential threats and send the detected vulnerabilities to the defense team for further action.

Blue Team

As mentioned earlier, after receiving reports from the red team, the blue team responds to work on the vulnerabilities and defend the organization. That’s why the members of the blue team are called “the defenders”. 

They are accountable for defending and protecting the digital assets of organizations. Their main motive is to keep a clear track and defensive strategy so that they can be ready to protect the organizations from unauthorized access or any cyberattack. 

Other than that, the team works on improving the defensive techniques, secures systems, configures networks, and also performs risk assessments.

Yellow Team

This team is referred to as “the builders” and it plays a crucial part in the cybersecurity color wheel. They are responsible for building and making sure the system, networks, websites, and apps are secure before the red and blue team hack or defend or carry out their function.

Mostly, security testers, systems admins, and architects are members of the yellow team. They build the security systems and work on rectifications identified by other teams.

Cybersecurity Color Wheel – Know the Work Responsibility of the Secondary Color Team

Let’s get familiar with the working operation of the purple, orange, and green teams.

Purple Team

Since the digital environment is growing day by day, a vast amount of data is making its way to the cloud. This opens the path to various security breaches. Therefore a more efficient and time-effective approach to cybersecurity is required to protect your sensitive data. That’s when the purple team comes into the picture.

As discussed earlier, the purple team is the combination of red & blue teams i.e. offensive and defensive cybersecurity teams. They work as a single unit, and as a result, the efficiency of the task increases.

Orange Team

The orange team is the result of the collective effect of both the red and yellow teams i.e. the breakers & builders. So, primarily, the role of the orange team is to educate and facilitate interaction between the two teams. 

The member of the orange team trains the organization’s staff on best security practices and defending against cyberattacks.

Green Team

Since the green team of the cybersecurity color wheel is a combination of the yellow and blue teams, their (green team’s) responsibility is to ensure applications are deployed and integrated securely. Mainly DevSecOps engineers are part of this team. And, their main objective is to bridge the gap between the builders and defenders.

What is the End Goal of the Cybersecurity Color Wheel Concept?

Long story short, the main motivation behind the information security color wheel is to promote the idea of collaboration to align the goals and objectives of different teams.

From April C Wright’s point of view, The Builders, The Defenders, and The Breakers tend to have poor interaction with each other. 

For example, the yellow team appears to be too concerned with their time to market, accuracy, optimization, and the reduction of errors. They frequently delegate the construction of security defenses to the blue team. Similarly, the yellow team has the propensity to overlook the red team’s viewpoint. That’s why security specialist Wright came up with the security color wheel where two teams work together and put in collaborative efforts to mitigate cyber risk.


Deploying a cybersecurity color wheel improves the safety condition of an organization. It boosts the ability to not only respond but also prevent cyber attacks that cannot be attained by a single team. Most organizations deploy only blue teams and red teams. But, for a healthy IT infrastructure – all teams of the security circle must be present to perform their operation.