The significance of network security has grown in tandem with the increased usage of cloud technologies. Utilizing different network security solutions has become unavoidable as cyberattacks have become critical dangers to businesses.
While no network security solution can provide complete protection against cyberattacks, it can significantly minimize attack surfaces and repercussions. Furthermore, some of these solutions may make it easier for businesses to incorporate other solutions. Also, the increasing proportion of remote employees creates different vulnerabilities obligating enterprises to take action.
More importantly, the business world embraces cloud-based technologies at a fast pace which makes protecting corporate networks with traditional cyber security solutions harder. As cyberattacks get more sophisticated and developed, specific core cyber security measures are now seen as a must.
Network segmentation is one of a company’s most important core measures to protect its growing network. In this post, we will take a look at why this practice plays such an essential role in the modern business world.
What is Network Segmentation?
Network segmentation is the technique of segregating a network infrastructure into independent divisions allowing administrators to define specific and accurate security regulations for each sector. Because networks expand in tandem with enterprises, administration and regulation may become complex.
However, network segmentation decreases administration complexity and gives businesses greater insight and authority over their corporate network. As businesses implement cloud-based technology and remote work practices, network segmentation may be quite helpful.
Moreover, this process allows enterprises to adopt different network security measures since it creates a strong foundation for them. For instance, network partition fits well into the Zero Trust framework, since it permits network operators to regulate access privileges. Or, enterprises can easily implement Identity and Access Management solutions if the system is segregated properly.
The practice of segregation helps companies to identify vulnerabilities and isolate system flaws in a segment. With a well-segregated network, cybersecurity and networking teams can monitor all data flows across their various workloads, allowing them to better understand interconnections and notice any irregularities that may suggest vulnerability or risks.
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With that out of the way, let’s look at the various sorts of this practice:
Types of Network Segmentation
We have, in essence, two forms of segregation practice: Perimeter-based and Logical segregation. Though the first one is thought to be more reliable, it necessitates a substantial amount of effort. It necessitates hardware for each edge gateway, which might be challenging.
The second type, on the contrary, secures the whole network and employs common software and measures. So, it is considerably easier to operate and needs less work to maintain. Also, the former type is more beneficial when implementing a Zero Trust architecture. You may encounter additional sub-forms of the practice, such as:
- Firewalls: Reduces the blast radius, which also reduces the consequences of breaches. Yet, it is a high-cost measure.
- SDN-based Partitioning: Increases flexibility and automates operations.
- Host-based Partitioning: Agents are assigned to each endpoint and all traffic flow is reported to the central manager, providing improved visibility.
- Micro-Segmentation: By splitting the network conceptually into discrete portions, it restricts attackers to certain sections.
- VLAN Segregation: Improves performance of the network by preventing dangers from propagating beyond a VLAN.
Before beginning the partitioning process, enterprises, first and foremost, should analyze their needs and determine if the current security is effective. This method allows businesses to determine if the practice will be helpful or not. The evaluation of capabilities and assets comes next. Analyzing key capabilities effectively aids firms in selecting how to partition their infrastructure. These can reduce the complexity of implementing the segmentation practice.
Identifying individuals, sectors, and endpoints is the first stage in the segregation practice. This assists you in determining which users should be granted which privileges. Furthermore, just the necessary degree of authorization is provided to users using this method. When segregating a network, businesses should cautiously select sections and privileges; otherwise, they may end up with over-segmentation or under-segmentation.
Network Segmentation Benefits
The practice delivers unique granular regulations for each section, giving administrators more control over traffic flow while also delivering protection and efficiency. Network segregation, in essence, enhances security while simultaneously enhancing productivity and manageability. Furthermore, network partitioning has numerous advantages, including:
- Increased Manageability: Permit endpoints to utilize only specific network services.
- Enhanced Performance: Traffic flow decreases as the number of endpoints per partition decreases, and broadcast activity might be localized to a single partition or segment.
- Improved Oversight: Divisions and sections make it simple to identify, analyze, and discover anomalous activity.
- Scalability: Allows companies to make changes easier by allowing you to update only the appropriate subnets rather than the entire network.
- Better Isolation: Network activity may be isolated or controlled, preventing malicious actors from traveling between network subnets.
- Improved Real-time Monitoring: A well-segmented network allows businesses to monitor internal activity.
Because cyberattacks are a common concern in today’s corporate climate, enterprises should prioritize cyber security more than ever. Failure to secure cloud systems and corporate networks may have serious ramifications for enterprises. Network partitioning is a method that may be pretty advantageous to companies.
To give an example, this strategy may enable organizations to work with other enterprises while maintaining security. Furthermore, correctly divided networks improve user performance and user experience. Last but not least, this technique makes it easier for businesses to incorporate other cyber security measures such as Zero Trust, SASE, and IAM solutions.