What is micro-segmentation?
Micro-segmentation method provides vital security by splitting your network into sections. It is a branch of traditional network segmentation that eliminates many problems of previous approaches while adding higher granularity and more robust security. In addition, these separated, isolated portions are monitored and regulated independently to ensure that each segment receives the most attention.
This security practice aims to minimize the attack surface and prevent malicious lateral movement. Security managers and engineers can use this strategy to isolate the ecosystem, services, and hybrid networks with unique secure zones. In today’s world, where security breaches are numerous and extensive at the perimeter, it is critical to apply micro-segmentation. According to the cost of data report, the average time to notice a data breach is 279 days, costing $3.92 million.
Network segmentation has been in existence for a long time. It separates networks into smaller portions known as VLANs or subnets, allowing managers to monitor information flows and application usage while limiting unwanted access to personal resources. Without Segmentation, any user who connects to a network can move between services and applications, presenting a significant security risk.
While traditional network segmentation generates safe VLANs and subnets, micro-segmentation can provide the same level of security at the virtual machine or network level. In addition, it enables administrators to strictly control lateral network mobility, while attackers find it more difficult to walk freely and access essential data.
What are the essential types of micro-segmentation?
There are mainly three types of micro-segmentation.
1. Network micro-segmentation:
This micro-segmentation variant, also known as infrastructure segmentation, is the most equivalent to previous kinds of network segmentation. It often separates data center services into Virtual Local Area Networks (VLANs) and determines user access using Access Control Lists (ACLs) or IP structures.
Generally, standard network micro-segmentation is not a good solution because it only applies at the VLAN level. However, network micro-segmentation is well-known and straightforward to implement. On the other hand, this strategy can result in severe security vulnerabilities and inefficient traffic control.
If leaders want to improve network visibility and control, ACL or IP structures might become prohibitively complicated and expensive, resulting in communication problems. Due to these shortcomings, various micro-segmentation techniques that balance management, performance, and cost have emerged.
2. Virtualization technologies of Micro-segmentation:
In this configuration, all data travels through a visor, which creates a simulated security environment and covers the information security architecture. Virtual machines replicate Software Defined Networks and are an excellent segmentation solution for networks that rely on virtualized infrastructure.
This method is inappropriate for networks that rely on Cloud services and do not perform well with physical hardware systems. As a result, it is a specialized solution, but it can be considered valuable for VMware situations.
3. Micro-segmentation of Host Agents:
This feature locates Software Defined Networking agents in networking devices and hosts. These agents provide input to centralized management tools and device-level access control and enable managers to monitor data flows across the network.
Agents can be installed on metal surfaces in hybrid or cloud environments. Each host requires one to ensure total protection. In addition, managers can configure access privileges for different jobs when this agent is installed, segmenting networks as they see fit.
The growth of host agents can complicate host agent segmentation and lead to network slowdown as device counts increase. Therefore, managers should also ensure agents are kept up-to-date as systems evolve. However, when remote working devices are involved, host agents are a realistic choice that can readily integrate with existing security technologies on those machines.
What is the process of micro-segmentation?
There is no single type of micro-segmentation, but the various varieties tend to act in similar ways.
For example, most virtualization or host-based solutions use software-defined networking controllers. These controllers are located in the core data center, generating specific segments distributed throughout the network.
A software-defined network builds a virtual network or interface replicating physical networks and distributes security policies to every endpoint, piece of equipment, and service. In addition, VPN technologies provide secure connections between hosts and the data center within a virtualized environment.
Multi-factor authentication manages access control to data center resources, while customized security protocols limit user freedom within the network. Will notify managers immediately if users break specific security regulations.
Micro-segmentation occurs at the task level. As a result, security breaches can easily and quickly contain any security problems, limiting possible damage. It also means that managers can safeguard remote workstations and data centers, an essential concern as home working grows in popularity.
Security managers can modify protections with software-based micro-segmentation to learn better network architecture. They can add additional devices or take down cloud resources as they are installed, giving them complete flexibility and edge security. Hardware-based firewalls are often unnecessary, and the security perimeter can be expanded or contracted as needed.
What are the Benefits of Micro-Segmentation?
Micro-segmentation is a feasible and valuable security technique for many organizations, but it is not always the best solution. Every security system has costs and benefits that must be considered when developing a macro or micro-segmentation implementation.
- Enhanced network traffic control:
Micro-segmentation limits network movement in ways that previous VLAN-based systems could not. For example, SDNs can control which resources are available to specific users. In addition, managers can provide privileges to roles or groups, making it difficult for attackers to migrate radially from vulnerable endpoints to sensitive databases.
- Breach containment:
When attackers access private networks, they find it more difficult to access sensitive data. In addition, managers can identify, locate, and control malicious agents as soon as they violate security regulations.
- Minimize the attack surface.
Micro-segmentation reduces the probability of a successful cyber-attack by keeping threat surfaces as narrow as feasible. In addition, software agents installed within data centers and disseminated to all endpoints are a cost-effective alternative to firewalls and VLANs.
Software-based Segmentation is appropriate for enterprises that rely on remote work and cloud settings. Networks may be expanded or restructured without impacting internal security, whether you use virtualization or host-based Segmentation.
- Regulations with Cooperation:
Cybersecurity regulation is becoming increasingly important as data breaches grow in size, cost, and regularity. If you want to comply with PCI-DSS standards, granular Segmentation could be a suitable risk management choice.
Which organizations should separate their networks?
Organizations can use micro-segmentation in various situations and ways, but it is not appropriate for all business circumstances. Standard Segmentation may be beneficial in some cases, whereas other networks may not require Segmentation. Micro-segmentation would be an efficient security choice for firms that rely on cloud resources or centralized data centers and have many remote working devices.
Micro-segmentation is also recommended for organizations in highly regulated industries where security is a primary issue. For example, HIPAA-compliant health care organizations could divide client data from marketing, accounting, and research organizations.
Micro-segmentation is well-suited to any firm looking to establish a Zero Trust Security Model based on the least privileged principle. In addition, SDN-based Segmentation is helpful if you need to create detailed access lists for roles or individuals and want complete visibility into user behavior.
However, implementing micro-segmentation across big enterprises can be costly, mainly when dealing with limited network traffic. On the other hand, smaller businesses with a limited budget for complex software-based Segmentation can still attain adequate perimeter security using traditional approaches.
What are the top five steps for building an effective micro-segmentation?
Step 1: Identifying the Most Valuable Assets
We need to evaluate which assets are more valuable in terms of security. These could be high-performance databases or systems. Identifying the high-priority assets can help narrow your focus on where your security efforts should be directed. Segmentation for high-priority assets should be enabled to achieve maximum security for these investments. Selective access control can successfully manage this.
Step 2: End-to-end connection navigation and vulnerability assessment
This step includes visualizing or navigating the link structure across remote connections, locations, payloads, and applications. Assessing the full link would also result in data security testing.
These will assist you in detecting gaps and assessing the areas of your connections most exposed to potential data breaches. Once you’ve determined which part is the most vulnerable, you may modify your Segmentation accordingly.
Step 3: Utilizing Correct Types of Segmentation
Depending on your security requirements, numerous types of segmentation schemes may exist. One should grasp their needs and select the most likely alternative for their security segmentation. The various forms of Segmentation available include:
- Vulnerability-based Segmentation
This sort of Segmentation emphasizes real-time vulnerability evaluation and management. This Segmentation could minimize the breaches by limiting the exposure of sensitive data.
- Application-based Segmentation
Security sectors separate individual applications in this Segmentation and can isolate the most valuable apps with a high-security segment that prioritizes and monitors them.
- User-based segmentation
This Segmentation ensures the highest level of protection for a particular user logging into a specific task. The user is assigned a job that is only permitted to contact servers to which the user has access.
Step 4: Create your segmentation approach based on your operational security requirements.
To carry out this stage, you must first define the regions of your operating context. Then, you must examine the necessity for Segmentation in areas requiring high security and, of course, in this case, Segmentation requiring low protection.
These will assist you in analyzing the exposed regions of your operational environment and the places that demand special attention. Following that, you can establish timetables and determine the level of Segmentation required for high-risk and low-risk operational contexts.
Step 5: Explore and Deploy
Once you determine the segmentation technique, you [avoid “‘ll”] will use, test, and try it out to ensure everything is precisely aligned. We must carefully handle the alignment with the functions because the segmentation process may alter how the regions work.
For example, suppose you are deploying a location-based segmentation to a specific data center. In that case, you should ensure that your security segmentation is fully compatible with the operational capabilities of the data center. It allows you to maintain maximum segmented security while not affecting your active run.
The concept and implementation of micro-segmentation may offer numerous advantages for your system and the environment. For example, it may enable you to gain complete control over your locations, settings, information, users, and other aspects of your organization’s structure.
Not only Segmentation but efficient security measures such as zero-trust security and behavioral biometrics could make your system more resistant to cyber and virtual attacks.
Why is micro-segmentation important?
Micro-segmentation helps deliver consistent security across private and public clouds. At the cost of three principles: visibility, comprehensive protection, and dynamic response, A micro-segmentation solution should provide visibility into all network traffic within data centers and clouds.
What is NSX micro-segmentation?
Micro-segmentation is a means of generating zones in data centers and cloud environments to isolate and secure workflows individually. It allows enterprises to logically separate their data centers into distinct security segments and deliver services to each.
What is micro-segmentation in Illumio?
Micro-segmentation is a security approach that divides data centers and cloud environments into segments that are as small as individual activities. Organizations use micro-segmentation to limit security vulnerabilities, comply with regulations, and contain breaches.