Micro-Segmentation For Beginners

Illustration by Aga Jucha-Kasperczyk via Dribbble

Nowadays, many companies allow their employees to work from home or prefer remote work. Remote working has its own advantages and disadvantages. Although remote working facilitates employees, it also increases the risk of cyber attacks. Increasing data breaches and online security threats have resulted from remote working, and anything conducted remotely.

Typically, this occurs when companies use VPNs to connect workers’ devices to the company’s network. According to Accenture’s Cost of Cybercrime Study, cybercriminals are more likely to attack small businesses.

Despite 43% of businesses being attacked by cyber attacks, only 18% are successful in securing themselves.

Therefore, network security is needed to protect against these increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks. Micro-segmentation can be the best solution to control these dynamic cyber attacks.

What Is Micro-Segmentation?

Micro-segmentation is a data center security technique for segmenting large and open system workloads into smaller and safe segments or individual groups within data center environments.

A major goal is to limit access of users and employees to just certain data resources and apps while preventing their access to the whole system.

Thus, it establishes the foundation for the Zero Trust model, which only permits authenticated and authorized traffic to access the software-defined networking infrastructure.

Micro-segmentation and Zero Trust

Zero Trust Network Security architecture is based on the maxim ‘Never Trust, Always Verify’, which implies that no account, software, or endpoint is to be trusted without both validation and identification.

In a dynamic context, micro segmentation helps businesses and organizations deploy Zero Trust Security by enabling security companies and administrators to segment the network and fine-tune access rights. Thus, it ensures gap-free security and fine-grained network visibility.

This reduces the server’s attack surface and improves data protection by preventing unauthorized or unauthenticated users from moving laterally within the network.

Micro-Segmentation – What Are The Major Types?

In the field of cyber-security, micro-segmentation comes in three main forms.

 icon-angle-right Host Agent Micro-segmentation

Micro-segmentation of hosts requires the placement of agents on each endpoint. Using this type of design, a central manager can see all data, processes, software, server communications, and any risks. To be able to view these systems, the administrator must install an agent on every system.

 icon-angle-right Network Micro-segmentation

For determining user access, this micro-segmentation uses Access Control Lists (ACLs) or IP constructs. It is required to divide data center resources into Virtual Local Area Networks (VLANs).

Micro-segmenting a system at the VLAN level,is generally not a fine-grained solution. The downside of this method is that it can cause significant safety gaps and inefficient east-west traffic flow control.

Further, the increasing visibility and control of computer systems can become extremely expensive and complex as managers implement ACLs and IP constructs. However, the user interface is familiar and straightforward, however.

 icon-angle-right Hypervisor Micro-segmentation

Using this setup, all data passes through a hypervisor, which builds a virtualized security environment over the network security architecture. In VMware networks, virtual machines often provide an appropriate segmentation option to emulate Software Defined Networks.

This strategy does not, however, work well with bare metal systems or networks that depend on Cloud services. It is a specialized solution, but in VMware environments, it has great potential.

How does Micro-segmentation work?

According to their communication needs, huge, open groupings of programmes and workloads are divided into smaller parts in micro-segmentation.

The applications will subsequently be able to communicate with each other within their segment but not outside of this segment without authority.

Micro-segmentation is a crucial part of zero trust security in the data center and cloud. It extends perimeter security into the organization’s internal system by imposing regulations there.

For example, applications designed to manage customer data, such as CRM web applications, can communicate with customer data databases, but building management systems cannot.

As system architectures change, micro-segmentation allows security managers to adapt controls accordingly.

It provides total flexibility and edge protection by enabling them to add extra devices or lockdown cloud resources as they are installed. A safety perimeter can be expanded or contracted as needed without hardware-based firewalls.

What Are The Benefits Of Micro-Segmentation?

Micro-segmentation provides excellent advantages for defending dynamic system environments. The following are some ways micro-segmentation can make your IT system more secure.

1. Reduces the attack surface on the network

By isolating workload and dividing network resources into smaller, more manageable zones, micro-segmentation reduces the attack surface for Zero Trust Networks, and checks and authorizes lateral movement.

If you micro-segment your infrastructure perimeter, hackers will be less likely to breach your data and move laterally across your network perimeter even if they gain access and breach your perimeter.

Instead of perimeter-based security techniques like VPNs that only protect the outer perimeter of the IT system, micro-segmentation secures the internal network as well.

It achieves this through precise verification control, the least privilege access, and traffic authorization.

2. Improved regulatory compliance

In addition to meeting compliance requirements and preventing lateral movement, micro-segmentation ensures security policies by minimizing complexity.

It is easier to improve the security posture of your server by segmenting sensitive data on the network and applying strict safety policies and standards only to those segments.

3. Hybrid cloud visibility at the granular level

The use of micro-segmentation reduces the security risks and vulnerabilities of the system by only allowing authorized users access to specific and permitted resources.

This provides granular visibility and enables effective monitoring of the network and users when a suspicious access attempt occurs.

4. Simplified security and policy management

Micro-segmentation simplifies policy management and makes network security policies more dynamic and flexible.

Rather than creating coarse and complicated security policies for the whole network, it allows you to tailor them based on the security level and policy that you want.

Streamlining operations and simplifying security configurations allow your IT team to prioritize and focus on critical business processes.

Conclusion

As remote working becomes more common, the risks of cybersecurity attacks are also becoming more diverse. In order to be effective, a company’s security strategy should be tailored to its threat environment, type of work, and resources.

It is NordLayer’s goal to provide tailored network segmentation solutions for security teams that meet their specific needs. In addition to our security services, we provide micro-segmentation tools that offer unprecedented levels of granularity and control.

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