Network Segmentation: Enhancing IT Security

Network segmentation is a process of dividing a computer network into smaller parts to improve network performance and security. Other terms that often mean the same thing include network segregation, network partitioning, and network isolation. Segmentation improves security by preventing attacks from spreading across a network and infiltrating unprotected devices. In the event of an attack, segmentation ensures that malware doesn't spread to other business systems.

The main advantage of network segmentation is that it limits the damage caused by a cybersecurity attack. By limiting user access privileges to only those who need them, you are protecting the network against widespread cyberattacks and improving network performance by reducing user density. In addition, segmentation provides a logical way to isolate an active attack before it spreads across the network. For example, segmentation ensures that malware from one segment doesn't affect the systems of another.

Creating segments limits the extent of an attack and reduces the attack surface to the absolute minimum. As for monitoring, security systems can issue alerts when an unauthorized terminal tries to access the system and identify criminals who are trying to spread laterally. Logical segmentation is a more popular way of dividing the network into smaller, easier to manage sections. Traditional technologies, such as VLANs, which improve traffic management, and access control lists, which add a layer of security by acting as a firewall in subnets, help companies segment network traffic.

Microsegmentation uses much more information in segmentation policies, such as application layer information. Communication between segments is controlled at specific locations where security practices can keep the network secure. Microsegmentation creates smaller, more secure areas in a network, allowing the organization to create policies that minimize flows between workloads. For example, a hospital's medical devices can be segmented based on its visitor network so that medical devices are not affected by web browsing.

In addition, by passing different devices through a firewall, organizations can enforce minimum privileges and allow fair access so that users can do their work and inspect devices for potential threats. Assigns roles to users to ensure they have the right level of access to resources and networks, increasing security, providing greater agility and reducing costs. Today's increasingly interconnected world has made network security a top priority for organizations of all sizes. It is recommended to configure routers, switches, and firewalls to send log and event data to security information and event management (SIEM) systems to monitor all segmented network zones, as well as the systems that reside in them.

The zero-trust model adopts the “never trust, always verify” approach to ensure that only the right people have the right level of access to the right resources in the right context. Audits only need to involve the part of the network that processes and stores payment card information. Network segmentation improves overall security policy by limiting user access privileges to only those who need them. This is critical, as trusted users can unknowingly fall victim to a malware attack and provide a network access path for hackers. In recent years, there has been great interest in network segmentation because of its effectiveness in mitigating potential risks and minimizing the severity of security incidents. Everyone who uses internal systems to meet business needs, whether physical or virtualized, should be concerned about network security.

Jacquelyn Hamling
Jacquelyn Hamling

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