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Traditional Network Infrastructure

Why Organizations Can’t Rely on Traditional Network Infrastructure

Organizations that want to stay secure can no longer rely on traditional network infrastructure and must look to granular segmentation

Network security is understandably a paramount concern for businesses and organizations. Unfortunately, traditional network infrastructure, while often robust by nature, often falls short in addressing sophisticated and evolving threats.

Any advantage is a welcome addition to a robust and multi-layered defense stack in the current and ever-shifting terrain of digital security. Microsegmentation, a method of creating secure zones in data centers and cloud environments, and its cousin nano-segmentation, offer a more granular approach to network security and a superior strategy compared to relying on existing traditional network infrastructure and its in-build and predictable feature set.

“By 2026, 60% of enterprises working toward zero trust architecture will use more than one deployment form of microsegmentation, up from less than 5% in 2023″​​ [Gartner]

This significant increase highlights the growing recognition of microsegmentation’s role in advanced security architectures in relation to microsegmentation vs. network segmentation. The report further highlights that traditional perimeter-based security, while effective between network sites, fails to segment traffic between workloads, and network firewalls struggle to match the scale and speed of modern infrastructure.

Understanding Microsegmentation

Microsegmentation involves dividing a network into distinct security segments down to the individual workload level. Each segment can have its own security policies and controls, allowing for more precise security management.

This approach contrasts with traditional, perimeter-based security models, which only protect the network’s outer layer.

The Benefits of Microsegmentation

Enhanced Security Posture:

  • Fine-Grained Control: Microsegmentation allows for detailed control over network traffic. This granularity enhances the overall security posture by providing specific protection measures for different segments.
  • Reduction of Attack Surface: By segmenting networks, the attack surface is significantly reduced. Attackers breaching one segment find it more challenging to move laterally across the network, significantly lowering the risk of exposure and ensuring breach containment.
  • Zero-day Protection: Microsegmentation enhances protection against zero-day attacks by isolating network segments, limiting an attacker’s ability to move laterally and access sensitive areas in the event of a breach, and flagging any deviation from approved activity for automated action and immediate investigation.

Improved Compliance Management:

  • Regulatory Compliance: Microsegmentation helps in meeting compliance standards by protecting sensitive data in isolated environments.
  • Audit and Reporting: It simplifies compliance reporting, as monitoring and logging can be more targeted and efficient.

Operational Efficiency:

  • Automated Policy Enforcement: Microsegmentation allows for automated and dynamic policy enforcement, which adapts to changes in the network or applications.
  • Reduced Complexity: Despite its granularity, microsegmentation simplifies overall network management compared to traditional, complex network setups.

Flexibility and Scalability:

  • Adaptable to Various Environments: Microsegmentation is suitable for both on-premises data centers and cloud environments.
  • Scalability: It scales easily with the network, making it ideal for growing businesses.

Enhanced Incident Response:

  • Rapid Isolation of Threats: In the event of a breach, microsegmentation allows for the quick isolation of compromised segments.
  • Easier Identification of Anomalies: Segmenting network traffic helps in identifying unusual patterns, aiding in faster threat detection.

And more:

  • Eliminate the requirement for expensive, infrastructure-reliant hardware or software firewalls, offering outstanding cybersecurity ROI.
  • Boost operational efficiency with context-sensitive, uniform, and adaptive security policies that scale with the organization’s growth.
  • Streamline design decisions, ensuring uniformity in monitoring and controlling lateral movement in hybrid setups.

Microsegmentation vs. Doing Nothing:

Failing to update or enhance traditional network security methods leaves organizations vulnerable to modern cyber threats. Microsegmentation, on the other hand, offers a proactive approach, ensuring that security keeps pace with the evolving threat landscape.

Microsegmentation vs. Leveraging Existing Network Infrastructure:

While leveraging existing network infrastructure is seemingly cost-effective, it often cannot match the advanced security capabilities of micro-segmentation. Traditional infrastructures typically lack the granularity and flexibility that microsegmentation provides, making them less effective against sophisticated cyber threats.

Recent years of rapid digital transformation and shifts to remote work and cloud migration have led to more complex environments with fragmented perimeters. Implementing detailed security policies at the workload level enables security teams to safeguard against the risks associated with these fragmented perimeters, without depending on inconsistent IP addresses.

Regulatory Compliance Mandates Change

Micro-segmentation’s granular approach aligns more closely with contemporary compliance mandates that increasingly call for stringent data protection and restricted access controls within complex network environments. Regulatory frameworks, such as NIST standards, HIPAA, and PCI DSS 4.0, now demand more detailed oversight of data access and movement within networks. The precise, workload-level security controls offered by micro-segmentation enable organizations to meet these enhanced compliance requirements more effectively. This shift to a more segmented network structure not only bolsters security but also provides clearer audit trails and data flow mapping, which is essential for demonstrating compliance with evolving regulatory cybersecurity standards.

Challenges in Implementing Microsegmentation:

  • Initial Setup Complexity: There is a misconception that the initial setup of microsegmentation can be complex and resource-intensive, but this is not true with modern security platforms.
  • Need for Skilled Personnel: Effective implementation requires skilled IT professionals knowledgeable in network security and microsegmentation techniques.

Overcoming Implementation Challenges:

  • Phased Implementation: Gradually implementing microsegmentation can help in managing the complexity.
  • Training and Education: Investing in training for IT staff can equip them with the necessary skills for effective implementation.
  • Professional Support: Getting the right support from the right platform during implementation can be an important component of success if the relevant skills don’t exist within the organization.

Future of Microsegmentation:

The future of microsegmentation looks promising, with advancements in machine learning enhancing its effectiveness and ease of management even further.

As networks continue to grow in complexity and size, network security segmentation will become an integral part of network security strategies, with a multitude of benefits over traditional network security methods or (heaven forbid) doing nothing. Its ability to provide granular control, enhance security posture, ensure compliance, and offer operational efficiency makes it a compelling choice for modern organizations.

With far fewer challenges in implementation through modern security platforms, the long-term benefits far outweigh any initial hurdles—which are now a thing of the past. As cyber threats continue to evolve, adopting advanced security measures like microsegmentation is not just beneficial but essential for protecting critical business assets against the ever-growing challenge of modern cybersecurity threats.

Next Steps

We’re always happy to help, and if you’d like to learn more about how the TrueFort Platform can help smooth your organization’s journey to granular segmentation and discuss its advantages over traditional network infrastructure, please contact us to arrange a no-obligation chat or a demonstration with one of our specialist sales engineers.

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