How Network Segmentation Improves Security

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Although network segmentation hasn’t always been the most popular strategy, it is an effective and powerful deterrent for hackers. It is now being deployed as part of a defense-in-depth approach and a fundamental component of cybersecurity. Let’s take a look at what network segmentation means and some of the pros of taking on this project.

What is Network Segmentation?

Network segmentation means partitioning a network into smaller ones, by splitting groups of systems or applications. In a traditional flat network, all servers are on the same Local Area Network (LAN). If the servers or systems communicate among them, it creates an opportunity for a hacker to move from one system to another or for a piece a malware to propagate across your network. With segmentation, communication throughout the network is limited, thus narrowing the attack options.

Why Network Segmentation is Important

Many organizations have a firewall with Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) or Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) to monitor traffic coming in.

However, if someone gets through that firewall, they’ll find a flat network infrastructure. A flat network infrastructure, while easy to manage, provides a favorable opportunity for unwelcome guests to perpetrate an attack.

Breaches happen almost every day. Network segmentation makes it difficult for a hacker to execute an attack throughout the entire system. It is also an impediment for insiders because sensitive data and systems from “curious” insiders are isolated.

5 Benefits of Network Segmentation

1. Improved Access Control. Users can only access particular network resources.

2. Enhanced Monitoring. Users can log events, control granted and rejected internal connections, and detect suspicious behavior.

3. Greater Containment. If a network breach happens, its impact is only limited to the local subnet.

4. Advanced Performance. With fewer hosts per subnet, local traffic is reduced. Broadcast traffic can be isolated to the local subnet.

5. Strengthened Security. Network traffic can be isolated to limit and prevent access between network segments.

Usability Considerations

Segmenting your network is a significant project that takes up time and effort. You will be managing your system in an entirely different way: moving from a flat network infrastructure to a network that requires firewall rules, routing, and switching, etc. To achieve the craved result, which is a network difficult to attack, you need careful planning.

Verizon’s latest Data Breach Investigations Report found that two-thirds of malware-related data breaches occurred because of malicious email attachments. As perimeter defenses are so good, this is the simplest way for intruders to get in. Segmentation gives insight into what’s going on in the network, giving an extra layer of defense to stop hackers.

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