Security

How Micro-segmentation Protects Enterprises from Cyberattacks

Integrating a strong security system in your organization ensures growth and safety for your business. The increasing frequency of cyber-attacks constantly serves as a reminder that you need to strengthen your network’s security.

There are multiple techniques and tools that are used for cybersecurity, including Zero Trust VPN, network segmentation, and micro-segmentation.  

Implementing cyber security is a multilayered task. It is equally important to fortify each aspect of a digital network because a possible cyber invasion can occur from any surface.

Micro-segmentation reduces the attack surface by dividing the network into small portions and implementing security policies on each portion separately.

What is Micro-segmentation?

Micro-segmentation is a technique used to improve security in a network by splitting the network into small determinable segments. By doing this, the sideways traffic movement is limited across the network.

After splitting, policies are defined that dictate how and who can access and control the resources and data within those sectors. Inbound as well as outbound threats are tackled with micro-segmentation. 

You can apply it to your on-premises data center as well as on the cloud infrastructure of your organization.

Data sharing between applications or workloads can be dictated by the security teams using micro-segmentation. It enables you to integrate further security/authentication measures and lets you decide the direction in which data will be shared.  

How is Micro-segmentation different from traditional Network Segmentation? 

Micro-segmentation can be thought of as an improved version of network segmentation. To know how both differ from each other, let’s see what traditional network segmentation is. 

What is traditional Network Segmentation? 

In network segmentation, the network is divided into segments that are called subnets. Each subnet acts as an isolated network itself. Network segmentation allows the managers to treat each subnet as a separate attack surface and define policies for each.

This makes detecting any possible digital threats easier for the security team. The tools used for network segmentation are: 

  • IPS (Intrusion Prevention Systems); Traffic is monitored continuously and blocked to indicate a threat. 
  • VLANs (Virtual Local-Area Networks); Local Area Network is divided into smaller sections that offer greater control. 
  • Firewalls; Outbound and inbound traffic is filtered on each subnet. 

The difference between micro-segmentation and traditional Network Segmentation is that inside activities are not monitored in the latter. These activities go unchecked, and a window for inside threats remains open.

Micro-segmentation Protects Enterprises from Cyberattacks

Micro-segmentation and Zero Trust 

Zero Trust security model works on a “trust no one, verify all” formula. This model ensures that only an authorized and authenticated device, application, and user are granted access to the business network.

The Zero Trust model ensures that confidential information, resources, and data are stored with maximum safety. 

Zero Trust security integrates security structures in the workloads and the network. Security policies and properties are kept the same when a workload movement is observed. For instance, the security policies are not compromised if an application is moved to the cloud from an on-premises environment.  

The desired security levels, as mentioned by the Zero Trust model, can be achieved with micro-segmentation.

Micro-segmentation has a strict policy against verifying every request to access data. It can allow the implementation of a strategy to apply specific policies to workloads according to the specification of the workload. 

Micro-segmentation allows designating strong network segments with the ability to apply accurate security policies in whichever environment they are installed in.  

Affinity policies that define traffic according to the respective system and application, can be set using micro-segmentation.

Lateral movement of a potential threat will be stopped by the Affinity policies as they will not be familiar with the assets that the attacker might be trying to access.  

Functions of Micro-segmentation in Enterprise Protection

Micro-segmentation plays a very crucial role in the cybersecurity of any enterprise. The key functions are:

1. Security 

It allocates users and applications only the minimum access that is required for their tasks. Meaning that if attackers manage to bypass your enterprise firewall, they cannot traverse laterally in the network. 

2. Control and Visibility 

All suspicious activities are captured by using micro-segmentation because it is embedded deep in the workloads as well as the network of your enterprise. It controls the threat vectors at a granular level, reducing the blind products from the network security infrastructure. With process level control, any possible breach can be stopped and contained in that specific area.

3. Compliance  

Micro-segmentation is a fundamental part of the Zero Trust model, ensuring compliance with global network and data protection laws. It does so by stopping lateral movements and by making the data segment sensitive. This way, micro-segmentation fortifies the enterprise’s security infrastructure and saves money and time.

Micro-segmentation Best Practices

For a successful implementation of Micro-segmentation, there are certain best practices that you should adopt. These best practices will ensure that your enterprise is protected against cyber threats. 

Network Architecture 

A comprehensive examination of the existing network architecture helps devise and implement security policies and initiate micro-segmentation.

To understand the network architecture completely, documentation and inventory of the present infrastructure hold a critical value.  

Traffic Pattern 

The present state of the network plays a critical role in identifying traffic flow and communication patterns. The security policies that protect the traffic within the data center can be devised once the traffic pattern is known. Correctly applied policies prove vital for removing any security gaps and blind spots. 

Incremental Approach 

If one rushes toward implementing this measure, many blind spots and security gaps can be left unchecked. An incremental or gradual approach toward segmentation can be adopted for ideal results.

The first stage can be zone-based segmentation policies, then application-based policies for segmentation, and lastly, policies for granular-level micro-segmentation. 

Conclusion 

Digital attackers are a constant threat to the sovereignty and sustainability of your enterprise. Micro-segmentation shrinks the possible attack surface and prevents the lateral propagation of an attacker within a network.

This prevents hackers from accessing confidential data and applications. Micro-segmentation is a key technique that is used to maintain a security protocol for the enterprise network.

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