Connecting all network elements without segmentation is like leaving valuables scattered in an open room—it’s risky and disorganized. Network segmentation helps businesses avoid such vulnerabilities by organizing and securing different network parts.
In this blog, we explain what network segmentation is, and why is it important for businesses.
Network Segmentation Explained
Network segmentation divides a network into secure, manageable segments, much like splitting a large organization into smaller teams with specific rules. It differs from micro-segmentation, which focuses on even smaller units for more precise security. Both methods have unique benefits: network segmentation offers broader control, while micro-segmentation provides finer security.
Enhancing Security via Network Segmentation
An IBM report states that by the end of 2023, the average cost of cybersecurity breaches will skyrocket to a staggering USD 4.45 million. This marks a notable 2.3% increase from the previous year, and a significant 15% surge over the course of last three years. In light of these concerning stats, the significance of network segmentation as a pivotal strategy for security, cannot be emphasized enough.
So, what makes network segmentation such a crucial strategy for enhancing security? There are several compelling reasons, such as:-
- Your enterprise can leverage network segmentation to create multiple layers of defense, and as a result, this can significantly reduce the risk of lateral movement, in the event of a network breach. This way, even if bad actors manage to get their hands on your digital assets, they would find themselves “confined” within the specific network segment that they were able to breach or infiltrate.
- With network segmentation, when you divide your network into well-defined segments, you can simplify the process of spotting and isolating security incidents. This way, you will be able to swiftly identity and contain any such incidents, and help thwart potential breaches before they escalate.
- Network segmentation also facilitates compliance management, by separating regulated data from other network systems. It streamlines compliance monitoring and makes it easier to enforce specific policies for sensitive data. This way, each department within your organization adheres to its unique set of rules, ensuring that everything runs smoothly and securely.
Operational Efficiency via Network Segmentation
Network segmentation boosts operational efficiency by enabling precise access control and improving security. It allows only authorized users to access critical data and makes monitoring more efficient. Additionally, it enhances network performance by reducing host numbers in each subnet and alleviating traffic congestion, especially in high-traffic networks.
Best Practices for Network Segmentation
In the following points, we highlight some of the critical steps that you can adopt to maximize the benefits of network segmentation:-
- You can start off by implementing least privilege and role-based access controls (RBAC), to restrict un-necessary network access. This can help enhance security, and simplify traffic monitoring.
- Third-party access must also be limited to isolated portals, as this will minimize any vulnerabilities associated with privileged access.
- You must also continually monitor your network. This will help you identify weaknesses or security gaps that could later cause problems.
- Regular audits are also crucial, especially with the evolution of your business. They help identify areas where your network architecture might no longer fit your needs, allowing for adjustments that improve both performance and security.
- When it comes to designing your network, always make it a point to prioritize easy and secure access for all the legitimate users. Also, think about how bad actors might try to get in. If your security measures cannot stop them, rethink your design or network architecture. Develop it such that access for legitimate users is clear and simple, while the wrong way is tough.
- You should also categorize dissimilar network resources into separate databases, based on their type and sensitivity levels. This segmentation enables quicker and more consistent application of security policies.
- Avoiding over-segmentation is equally important to prevent excessive complexity and management overheads. This approach also adversely impacts employee experiences.
- For effective segmentation planning, you can better visualize your network with diagrams, to better understand user relationships, network components and data access requirements.
In a landscape of rising cyber threats, investing in robust cybersecurity like network segmentation is crucial to prevent breaches and protect your reputation. ATSG offers award-winning Managed Network Services to simplify network management and ensure 24/7 security. Our tailored solutions and top-notch micro-segmentation create a secure “virtual fortress” for your network. Contact ATSG for comprehensive IT services that unlock your technology’s full potential.