How Microsegmentation Can Improve Network Security

By: Fran Howarth| - Leave a comment

Originally enabled through shared hubs and switches, network segmentation has helped network architectures evolve and mature. Today, virtualization has empowered the use of microsegmentation to divide networks into logical units based on applications or workloads.

Investing in Software-Defined Networking

One of the major driving forces behind microsegmentation adoption is an increased investment in software-defined networking (SDN). According to FireMon, 67 percent of organizations are adopting SDN technology, which works to improve network performance and reduce complexity in fast-changing networks.

With its ability to remove compromised devices instantly from the network before they can cause damage, SDN will likely grow in popularity with the expansion of the Internet of Things.

Improving Security

The primary advantage of microsegmentation is its ability to improve network security. In traditional network environments, securing network segments was dependent on physical hardware such as firewalls. Configuring these devices and keeping them up to date was costly, complex and did little to improve security. Because policies had to be applied to each physical machine, processes quickly became redundant — leaving the door open to gaping security holes.

With microsegmentation, security policies are based on virtual instances and are assigned to virtual connections as applications or other parts of the network are reconfigured. By automatically applying changes, this method removes the need for intensive manual intervention and makes security persistent across network configurations.

With this model, specific policies can be applied to the workload and operating systems according to machine name or user group. These policies can also be changed as the security posture morphs or new regulatory requirements are introduced. Compared to clunky hardware firewalls, virtual firewalls are assigned to all resources that control traffic, provide visibility at the host level, cover private cloud deployments and facilitate security in hybrid environments.

Increasing Resiliency

Microsegmentation makes the network more resilient to threats on a granular level by infusing security into the entire network operating environment. This method provides enhanced protection against threats, wherever they originate from.

Businesses looking to adopt this model should take advantage of network services to help with the strategy, implementation and management of the new topology. Investing in these can provide a headstart as they look to modernize their networks and take advantage of performance gains, improve security and embrace new technology developments.

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About The Author

Fran Howarth

Freelance Writer

Fran Howarth is an industry analyst and writer specializing in cybersecurity. She has worked within the security technology sector for more than 25 years in an advisory capacity as an analyst, consultant and writer. Fran focuses on the business needs for security technologies, with a focus on emerging technology sectors. Current areas of focus include cloud security, data security, identity and access management, network and endpoint security, security intelligence and analytics and security governance and regulations. Fran can be reached at fhowarth@gmail.com.

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