What Is Network Segmentation & Why Use It?

What Is Network Segmentation & Why Use It?

Networks for mission-critical facilities can be quite complex. Some areas of the network carry more sensitive data. Others carry information that’s vital to timely operations and response. 

Yet, other areas of a facility network are used for more day-to-day office activities that may not be as time-sensitive as others. 

Treating all these systems the same can mean higher risk or less efficiency. Should you need more stringent security controls for one area of your network, applying them to all areas can cause unnecessary slowdowns or barriers. 

One way to help deliver more targeted network security and controls is through network segmentation.

What is Network Segmentation?

Network segmentation is the tactic of dividing a network into multiple, isolated segments. This allows each segment to have its own security policies and requirements. All applications and endpoints in that network segment then are held to the same trust level.

Segmentation also gives you the ability to better control traffic flow between the network segments. For example, in the case of malware infection in one segment of the network, you could easily cut off the flow of data from that segment to others.

Types of Network Segmentation

There are two types of network segmentation:

  • Physical: This includes subnets having their own wiring, connections, and firewall type. It can be more difficult to apply to a network that is large but offers high reliability.
  • Virtual: More affordable than physical segmentation. The segments share a common firewall, and switches are used to handle the virtual local area network (VLAN)

Benefits of Using Network Segmentation

While having one set of security policies and controls for your entire network may sound easier, it puts your organization at a much higher risk. Data breaches can expose more than if they were contained in a single segment. Malware can also spread unchecked throughout an unsegmented network.

96% of surveyed security decision-makers agree that not segmenting networks leaves them at a higher risk. 49% say that attacks spread more quickly than in segmented networks. 

Here are several of the benefits of using network segmentation in your organization.

Improves Protection from Insider Attacks

Insider attacks can come from rogue employees with access to your business applications and data. But they also often come from cyberattacks that target employee login credentials.

Credential theft is now the number one cause of data breaches globally. 

You limit the access someone with a login credential has by segmenting your network. Instead of being able to go everywhere, they are contained to only one network segment.

Better Data Security

The ability to apply unique security policies across a network segment gives you more control over data security. For example, you can apply strict policies that don’t allow copying and those that restrict access.

Doing this for all data in an organization, would not be feasible in many cases. However, when segmenting, you can silo very sensitive data and systems and give them the most restrictive policies without impacting less sensitive information.

Easier to Contain Threats

Ransomware, spyware, and other types of malware are designed to spread quickly throughout a network. They look for any endpoint or syncing cloud system to infect and continue moving on like wildfire.

Network segmentation puts up barriers between your network segments. This makes it easier to contain a threat that has attacked one part of your network and stop it from spreading.

Better Threat Monitoring & Detection

You have more points of network monitoring when using segmentation. This makes it easier to spot suspicious behavior in the network quickly and shut it down.

When trying to identify the source of an infection or breach, it’s easier to track down when you have log events and monitoring at the network segment level.

Better Endpoint Protection

The endpoints connected to a network segment can be protected through the security policies applied to that segment. This helps reduce the risk of endpoint breach, especially when it comes to IoT devices, which are notorious for being less secure than other devices. 

Faster Attack Response Times

Network administrators don’t have to look over an entire network to respond to events. They can zero in on distinct network segments, which makes threat response times much faster. 

Whether an attack or system error, it’s easy to isolate which segment it’s coming from, and time isn’t wasted troubleshooting other non-impacted areas.

Get Help Doing Network Segmentation Right

Network segmentation is a great security protocol to have in place. Unfortunately, many companies don’t do it correctly. The WizNucleus team can help your organization with the right number of segments for your facility and ensure each is configured properly.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation! Call +1 (646) 558-5577 (New York, NY) or +1 (469) 481-1726 (Carrollton, TX) or reach out online.

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