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Cybersecurity Tip – Network Segmentation

IT Security strategies need to evolve with the ever-changing online landscape. Cyber-attacks are increasing, new methods are surfacing each year and the frequency with which they are attacking is escalating.

According to Verizons 2020 Data Breach Investigation Report, 70% of data breaches this year were caused by outsiders. This is contrary to what many business leaders today believe, that the majority of data breaches arise because of internal actors.

It is critical that you implement a cybersecurity strategy that focuses on protecting your internal IT infrastructure from being breached by external malicious attempts. The bulk of your security should focus on credential theft, social attacks and errors which cause upwards of 67% of malicious tactics. These include phishing and business email compromise, and they’re so popular because they are effective, relying on user error from the end-user.

If your networks security is a concern of yours, one of the leading safety measures quickly gaining popularity is implementing network segmentation. Network segmentation is a large security project that monopolizes a lot of assets, but is effective in deterring hackers.

Flat Network Vs. Segmented Network

Commonly used flat networks are a single system protected on the outside, with vulnerable internal components. Business networks are most commonly protected with a firewall perimeter, allowing only specified traffic through. A second layer of network protection implemented is often Intrusion Detection System (IDS) or Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) which monitors your network for suspicious traffic.

Every network needs to have a firewall perimeter and a traffic monitoring system; however, having a flat or segmented network will often determine whether or not a malicious user can access your sensitive data during a breach. 

A flat network is easy to manage but could lead to devastating consequences including sensitive data encryption or theft. This is because all parts of the network are able to communicate with each other, making it easy for an unwanted user to navigate all areas of your network.

Segmenting your network is advantageous to your network security because it does not allow unnecessary parts of your network to communicate or trust each other.

Let’s say for instance a nosey user of your administration department wants to see some employee personal data. That administration team would be able to look at the data in a flat network because there is no firewall keeping them out. Where as if the network were segmented, the employee personal data would be located on the human resources network. With a segmented network that data wouldn’t be accessible by the administration network and vice versa.

Network segmenting limits communication within your network, whether implemented physically or virtually. If there is less surface of vulnerability, your network is more secure. Hacker’s can’t access what they can’t see.

Advantages of Network Segmentation

Increased Network Security

Your entire network is limited from communicating or trusting all of its segments. The network will optimally be designed so that all divisions within your company are segmented onto their own individual network with their own customized end-user rules. This allows your data to be secure both internally and externally since an end-user can’t freely pivot from one network to another.

Improved End-User Access Control

A proper segmented network implementation will have created specific rules for specific end-users, allowing resource data to be easily and readily accessible by designated users. Network segmentation makes it possible to more effectively control who has access to what.

Improved Network Performance

Data packets can collide on a high traffic network leading to a slow end-user experience. By limiting the number of end-users on each network performance will increase due to the reduction in traffic.

Improved Network Monitoring

Segmenting your network gives you the opportunity to monitor and log activities performed and denied entries and internal connections. If a breach does occur, this allows the IT staff to investigate where further vulnerabilities are located.

Improve Issue Containment

When an issue occurs, it cannot spread from one sub-net to the other due to the lack of communication or trust. This results in your IT team having a much easier time segmenting, diagnosing, and fixing the issue.

If you are considering making the transition from a flat network to a segmented network understand that it will take time and resources to properly design, implement and maintain. As a business leader you are responsible for balancing business strategy with business security. Segmenting your network is an investment, but the security benefits are great in a world where cyber security threats are increasing yearly.

If you are looking for the next step, AlphaKOR can help. We have staff who specializes in network consultation, design, implementation and training. Allow our team of cybersecurity experts to assist you through every step your business security investment needs.

We also offer tips and tricks to take your security knowledge to the next level with our Free eBook “10 things your IT technician wants you to know”. You can never be too safe in this digital era, and by being proactive with your digital security you can prevent emergency situations that would cost your company time and money.

source: tylercybersecurity.com, solarwindsmsp.com

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