November 22, 2023
How network segmentation can improve security
Modern business networks have become more complex as technology has advanced, supporting the diverse applications and services that help companies achieve their goals. In 2023, approximately 82% of businesses set out to increase their investment in network infrastructure.
However, with increased complexity comes an increase in cyber threats, which can jeopardise network security. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the global cost of cybercrime will reach R198 trillion per year by 2025. As a result, businesses must take proactive measures to ensure network security. Network segmentation is one of the most effective measures.
What is network segmentation?
The process of dividing a network into smaller sections, each isolated from the others and designated to support specific functions, services, or user groups is referred to as network segmentation. This helps with the management of network traffic and the containment of threats in the event of a cyber attack.
Network segmentation aids in the isolation of information resources and networks from both external and internal threats. One of the most significant advantages of this process is that it restricts the scope of any attack and prevents hackers and malware from moving throughout the network.
Without segmentation, attackers can gain access to entire networks; however, with segmentation, the network becomes much more difficult to penetrate and the scope of the damage is limited. Furthermore, network segmentation improves compliance because many regulatory agencies require businesses to keep sensitive data in specific network areas. As a result, a network segmentation strategy can aid in the management of compliance obligations.
Best practices for network segmentation
The following processes should always be followed when segmenting a network as they will ensure maximum security and improve the value of the exercise:
1) Set clear objectives - Network segmentation involves breaking down a network into several subnetworks, so it is critical to understand what needs to be accomplished by implementing the segmentation. Despite the obvious benefits of segmentation, an enterprise may experience increased network complexity and visibility. As a result, the company's network segmentation objectives must be well-defined.
2) Adopt zero-trust principles - The zero-trust model is based on the premise that no user or device should be automatically trusted and granted access, even if it is on the internal network. This model necessitates the continuous authentication and verification of all users and devices before granting them access, which helps to reduce the attack surface. Implementing a zero-trust approach in a segmented network means that each network segment will operate independently. Devices and users within each segment should only have access to the resources they require to carry out their duties.
3) Separate all digital assets within the network - Consider isolating digital assets in different network segments based on their level of risk. Due to their vulnerability to a cyber attack, high-value assets, such as servers that host critical applications, should be placed in a separate, highly secure network segment. This procedure restricts access to sensitive information.
4) Avoid over-segmentation - It is critical to strike the right balance. Over-segmentation can increase network complexity, complicate management and reduce network visibility. Over-segmentation can also leave security gaps open for cyber criminals to exploit.
5) Network monitoring and logging - Different levels of monitoring are required for a segmented network. Such networks are more complex and can allow attackers to exploit visibility gaps. As a result, monitoring and logging are critical. These enable proactive detection and effective response to any anomalous network activity.
6) Conduct regular reviews and audits - In complex networks, network segmentation can increase complexity and configurations can drift over time. Consider conducting regular network reviews and audits to ensure proper network configuration and policy compliance at all times.
7) Create an incident response plan - Despite the implementation of the recommended network segmentation security measures, there is still the possibility of a security breach. Companies should create an incident response plan outlining the steps to take when dealing with cyber security attempts. Incident response plans should take into account the current security landscape and be reviewed, tested and updated on a regular basis.
8) Educate employees - It is critical to educate company employees on network security in order to reduce the risk of human error. Employees should be aware of their roles and responsibilities when it comes to network security. Employees of all levels should undergo user awareness training to keep security top-of-mind.
Networking services at SEACOM
SEACOM is a leading provider of ICT and cyber security services for enterprises in South Africa. Our offerings include an array of networking and connectivity services. We assist companies in designing, implementing and managing robust networks that make use of industry-standard security measures and best practices.
SEACOM offers tailored networking solutions that meet business objectives while maintaining expected uptime and availability. We have the expertise to manage various network infrastructures.
In complex environments, network segmentation can improve network security. It assists companies in managing network complexity and can protect against both internal and external cyber threats. To ensure compliance and effective security, businesses must work with a knowledgeable networking and cyber security services provider. For more information about our various services or to get a quote, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave us a message.
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