So, how do you realize those benefits? The specifics are going to look different depending on your industry, regulatory obligations, and more, but a few general best practices should be part of any successful microsegmentation plan:
Create detailed, granular least-privileged access policies based on application-level awareness, user identities, and device attributes, limiting access to resources to only what each user or entity requires to do their work.
Integrate with identity and access management (IAM) systems to ensure your policies align with user roles and permissions.
Implement real-time, continuous monitoringand auditing of network traffic and policy enforcement to detect anomalies or policy violations.
Utilize automated tools to deploy and adjust policies in response to changes in your network configuration or security posture.
Conduct regular security audits and penetration testing, and keep thorough documentation, to ensure your policies remain effective as well as support compliance reporting and troubleshooting.
A workload is a process, resource, or group of these (e.g., communications, processing, management, execution) related to an application and its use. In the cloud, workloads also encompass applications themselves. Understanding and managing workloads is a key part of finding and resolving vulnerabilities, securing data and access points, implementing authentication and encryption, and monitoring and mitigating potential threats.
What Is an Example of Microsegmentation?
As a simple example of microsegmentation, suppose a company were to microsegment its hybrid cloud architecture to isolate and protect critical assets (e.g., databases, servers, workstations). Each segment has its own access controls, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems, limiting lateral movement and reducing the blast radius of a breach. A hacker who compromised a user endpoint would have access only to that endpoint’s segment, not to sensitive data or critical infrastructure.
What Are the Disadvantages of Microsegmentation?
Implementing and managing microsegmentation can be complex, especially in large and dynamic networks. Moreover, routing complexity and traffic inspection at segment boundaries can impact performance if your network and security architecture aren’t able to sufficiently scale. To overcome these issues, it’s crucial to invest in the right tools, and the right vendor, for your workloads and their needs.
Why Do We Need Microsegmentation?
Organizations need microsegmentation to protect critical assets in today’s complex digital landscape. Isolated microsegments in a broader network and security infrastructure allow for granular control over communication between network segments, helping to limit lateral movement, reduce the attack surface, and keep breaches contained. With the proliferation of remote work, IoT, and the cloud, microsegmentation offers control and stronger security posture where traditional perimeter-based security falls short.
Who Needs to Segment Networks or Environments?
Microsegmentation is especially important for organizations that deal with sensitive data or operate critical infrastructure, or are subject to regulations like HIPAA and GDPR—including healthcare, finance, government, e-commerce, and many others—but organizations of any size, in any industry, can benefit. Microsegmentation helps them can strengthen security, reinforce data integrity, and minimize the blast radius of breaches.
Will Microsegmentation Reduce Costs?
Microsegmentation can help organizations reduce both capex and opex. By making your infrastructure more secure, it helps prevent data breaches and downtime, ultimately saving on potential financial losses associated with security incidents. Moreover, it can streamline network management, reduce the need for extensive hardware investments, and lower administrative overhead, resulting in operational cost savings.
Why Is Getting Microsegmentation Right Key to Zero Trust?
Effective microsegmentation lets you enforce granular least-privileged access—a key component of a zero trust approach—limiting the potential for lateral movement of threats and reduces the overall attack surface. Because each connection must be verified before it’s allowed, it’s far more difficult for attackers to escalate privileges. This approach aligns with zero trust, strengthening security in a way traditional “assumed trust” perimeter defenses simply aren’t built to do.
What's the Difference Between Firewalls and Microsegmentation?
At the highest level, firewalls are a perimeter security technology, while microsegmentation is an internal security strategy. Firewalls focus on controlling traffic going into or out of a network. Microsegmentation divides the network into isolated segments and enforces granular security policies, often at the individual workload or device level. Microsegmentation controls traffic between these segments, limiting lateral movement and providing fine-grained control over access to resources, especially in complex, cloud-centric environments.