For cybersecurity and simplifying threat management, the advantages of network segmentation are tenfold
Network segmentation also provides critical help to organizations on the journey to a zero trust security model.
Advantages of Network Segmentation When Implementing Zero Trust
Network segmentation is the practice of dividing a computer network into smaller subnetworks or segments. Once divided, organizations may use various security controls to isolate each segment from the others. In this post, we’ll articulate the advantages of network segmentation and its benefits to your organization. We’ll also explain how the advantages of network segmentation help organizations create a zero-trust security model, dramatically reduce the risk of a cyberattack, and limit the “blast radius” of a security breach.
Ten Organizational Advantages of Network Segmentation
- Improve overall network security
Network segmentation enhances security by limiting the scope of potential attacks. If an attacker gains access to one segment, they will have a harder time moving laterally to other segments, reducing the overall impact of a breach. Please note that network segmentation only improves your network security if you continually audit your segments for vulnerabilities, tight permissions, and updates. If you know there are no exploitable gaps in your coverage, you’ll be one step ahead of hackers.
- Isolate sensitive data
Security teams can use network segmentation to place personally identifiable information such as financial records, customer information, and intellectual property in separate segments with restricted access. This reduces the risk of unauthorized access or data leaks.
- Easier compliance with regulatory requirements
For industries managing specific data protection and privacy compliance requirements, network segmentation helps organizations satisfy requirements more effectively.
- Optimize network performance
When administrators divide their network into smaller segments, they can reduce traffic, collisions, and congestion. This leads to improved network performance and reduced latency.
- Simplifies network management
For network administrators, segments are easier to manage and monitor. They can assign segment-specific access controls based on the users’ roles and responsibilities, ensuring a principle of least privilege approach to network access. This makes it simpler to isolate potential issues and apply policy updates as necessary.
- Simpler threat containment
If administrators detect malware or malicious activity in one segment, network segmentation helps contain and isolate the threat, preventing it from spreading throughout the entire network.
- Enables flexibility and scalability
As the organization grows, administrators can add or reconfigure individual segments to accommodate changing requirements. This creates an environment where they can scale their networks more efficiently.
- More efficient resource allocation
Administrators can allocate resources to specific segments based on specific needs, optimizing bandwidth and ensuring that essential services operate efficiently.
- Reduces the attack surface
Network segmentation reduces the overall attack surface in the organization’s network. This makes it harder for attackers to find vulnerable systems and exploit them.
- Supports guest and BYOD networks
For organizations allowing guests or employees to bring their own devices (BYOD), network segmentation enables administrators to isolate these devices from the main network and mitigate potential security risks.
How the Advantages of Network Segmentation Help Establish Zero Trust
The advantages of network segmentation contribute significantly to enhancing network security, improving performance, and maintaining compliance with industry regulations. It is an essential component of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy for modern organizations. Moreover, the advantages of network segmentation can also drive the development of a zero-trust security model. The zero-trust security model is an approach to cybersecurity governed by the principle of not trusting any user or device, regardless of whether they are inside or outside the organization’s network perimeter. It assumes that threats exist inside and outside the network; thus, all users, devices, and applications must be verified and authorized before they are granted access to resources. To address the challenges created by the rise of cloud computing, mobile devices, and remote work, the zero-trust security model shifts the focus from perimeter defense to a more granular, fine-grained access control model. The advantages of network segmentation support the principles of the zero-trust security model in several ways:
- Using segmentation, administrators can grant users and devices only the minimum level of access required to perform their tasks and nothing more for each segment. This principle of least privilege reduces the potential damage caused by a compromised user account.
- Network segmentation restricts communications between segments and limits lateral movement of threats to help contain potential breaches.
- Segmentation enables security teams to move beyond reliance on a single authentication event. Each segment can continuously monitor and evaluate user behavior, device health, and other contextual factors to ensure ongoing trustworthiness.
- Administrators can employ Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to each segment for an extra layer of security; requiring users to provide multiple forms of identification before accessing specific resources.
- Segmentation enables access controls and policy enforcement at the application level, ensuring that users can only access the specific resources they are authorized to use.
- Segmentation facilitates monitoring, logging, and analytics at a more granular level to detect and respond to security incidents promptly.
Segmentation is a great (logical) step toward adopting the zero-trust security model. Organizations must also leverage technologies such as Identity and Access Management (IAM) systems, endpoint security solutions, network segmentation, and security analytics to establish a zero-trust security posture.
Let TrueFort help you start the segmentation part of your path to the zero-trust security model. Contact us today to learn about real-time segmentation solutions.