The Importance Of Network Segmentation & Network Segregation
Changing technology trends have given cybercriminals more opportunities to develop sophisticated malicious software applications to breach networks and access sensitive databases. In the past few years, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more businesses have experienced one or more forms of attacks on their network systems. This means modern businesses of all sizes are constantly under attack, and the shift to remote and hybrid work has accelerated cyberattacks significantly.
Network Segmentation & Network Segregation plays a critical role in enabling organizations to enhance their network security and alleviate increasing attacks. Although it is never a popular method, a surge in cyber threats and attacks has changed how people perceive network segmentation. But what exactly is network segmentation, and why is it important? Read on to find out.
What Is Network Segmentation?
In a nutshell, network segmentation involves dividing a computer network into multiple zones, also referred to as subsystems or segments. This helps control traffic flow across the extensive network system, separated by routers, bridges, switches, and other elements. Network segmentations enable organizations to have better management of security and compliance, offering more room to integrate extra layers of security against potential attacks.
Network segmentation acts as a framework ideal for data centers and on-premises computer networks to provide security for applications and data in the network. Besides, separating the network into smaller segments lets an organization isolate devices, applications, and servers. Isolating different elements in the network enables network administrators to implement multiple security features that can be difficult for potential attackers to breach.
Why Is Network Segmentation Critical?
Generally, network segmentation improves network security and performance by restricting hackers to a single subset, allowing for minor damage. Without segregating the network, it becomes intricate to locate a breach and stop it. Thus, network segregation effectively prevents attacks within the network, even when the breach takes several days before detection.
Another critical and compelling reason to segregate network systems is routing traffic for Wide Area Network (WAN) designed for different locations. Because setting up a single network for multiple locations involves subsets, network segregation is critical. This helps network admins streamline and enhance data transmission between systems by reducing unnecessary traffic between remote routers.
Network segregation is also crucial for organizations with high traffic volume on a single segment network. A single network segment with large traffic volumes may lead to collisions as outgoing and incoming data packets search the whole range to find assigned destinations. Besides, it may lead to lost packets, as well as minimize overall transmission rates and higher tendencies. Segregating the network reduces nodes to a single packet, allowing the data packets to reach their proper destinations quickly.
Key Benefits of Network Segmentation
Unlike a traditional network where network systems communicate freely, network segmentation limits communication between systems in the network. This restricts cybercriminals from accessing the entire network system if they manage to breach one system. Generally, network segmentation groups different network components and creates individual security, enhancing the protection of each system. That said, here are the benefits of network segmentation.
- Limit cyberattack damage: Segregating the network improves cybersecurity as it limits the extent of an attack. For instance, network segregation reduces the spread of malware from one system to another within the network in case of an attack.
- Protect vulnerable devices: With numerous security protocols within the network system, network segregation stops or limits harmful traffic from accessing unprotected devices with the network.
- Enhance operational performance: Since network segmentation divides the network into different systems, it reduces congestion. As a result, it promotes the transfer of data between different network systems, improving operational performance.
- Limit access privileges: Network segregation allows network admins to restrict unauthorized users from accessing particular subsets within the network. This helps boost network security because sensitive data can only be accessed by trusted personnel within the organization.
Who Needs Network Segregation?
Network segregation is ideal for any organization running internal network systems to facilitate various operations. Whether physical or virtual, it helps businesses enhance network security, especially for organizations with complicated or high-traffic volume networks. If your business relies on Software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions, network segregation is unnecessary, similar to organizations operating without IT services. But for businesses running on flat networks, it is critical to utilize network segregation to limit cybercriminals from breaching data in your network.
Although network segregation is critical in securing network systems, it uses different levels to deliver desired results. Hence, each organization requires a specific type of network segregation to ensure maximum protection of subsets within the network system. Besides, partnering with a reliable IT support company is crucial, ensuring proper network segregation and preventing vulnerabilities to attacks.
Best Practices for Network Segregation
Network segregation offers an effective way to protect network systems against potential attacks. However, there are best practices network admins should consider to maintain subset security within the entire network system.
- Limit access to critical data: Before segregating the network, it is essential to know its users and what they need to access to perform their tasks. Learn specific data that each user requires to avoid desegregating the system later.
- Avoid over-segment and under-segment: Having several network subsections can be complicated while fewer threaten network security. Learning each user’s data requirements enables network administrators to segregate the network adequately.
- Isolate third-party access portals: For third parties, it is crucial to isolate their access points since most breaches occur due to third-party access. This means allowing third parties to access what they need rather than having authentication over the entire network.
- Simplify legitimate paths: When segmenting a network, it is essential to consider the architecture of the subsets. Suppose you give third parties access through several firewalls to specific data, hackers may use the opportunity to access various subsets within the system. Simplifying legitimate paths helps defend other sections in the event of an attack or breach.
- Schedule regular network audit: Maintaining a regular network security audit is crucial to ascertain whether firewalls are effective and secure. This ensures attackers are restricted from accessing other subsegments, unlike leaving them unattended and vulnerable to attacks.
Keeping your network secure from malicious actors is crucial, especially when segregating an extensive network system. At Rea & Associates, we understand the benefits of network segregation and how it can help secure your organizational network against today’s sophisticated attacks. For more information about the importance of network segregation, contact us to learn more today!