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The Importance Of Segmenting Your Computer Network

The concept of network segmentation as a way to increase the security of a network is not a new concept. However, it is a significant concept, and with IT and security teams often having a long list of priorities, network segmentation has not always been a popular strategy. The rising increase of cyber threats and cyberattacks is beginning to change the view of network segmentation. Network segmentation can be an effective deterrent for cybercriminals, and it is being implemented as a part of a defense strategy for businesses and organizations across the globe. What does it mean to segment your network?

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What Is Network Segmentation?

Network segmentation is when different parts of a computer network are separated by devices. Network segmentation can be beneficial to businesses and organizations where it would be challenging to bundle multiple departments under one network. Network segmentation is a framework that can be applied in the data center and on-premises at your business or organization.

When you segment your network, you are breaking down the network into smaller network segments. Essentially, you are separating groups of systems or applications from each other.

In a traditional network, every server and workstation can be found on the same Local Area Network (LAN). Unfortunately, this is not always necessary. Why? In many cases, these traditional systems do not have a reason to trust each other.  Allowing the systems to communicate creates more opportunities for cybercriminals to move from one system to another, or allows forms of malware to generate across a network.

Network segmentation can be completed virtually or physically, but the end results will be similar. Your business or organization will limit communication throughout the network, ultimately limiting opportunities for cybercriminals to carry out an attack. If a cybercriminal cannot see anything to attack, no attack will take place.

Benefits of Network Segmentation

Here are a few key benefits of network segmentation:

  • Placing a limit on access privileges to only those who need it
  • Acts a shield of protection for networks from widespread cyberattacks
  • Enhancing network performance by limiting the number of users in specific zones
  • Isolates or filters network traffic to limit and prevent access between network segments.
  • Allows users to only have access to specific network resources
  • Provides an opportunity to log events and detect suspicious behavior
  • Improves performance because there will be fewer hosts per subnet, resulting in the minimization of local traffic
  • Ensures that when an issue with a network takes place, the local subnet will be the only impacted area

Why Is Network Segmentation Important?

One of the perils of not properly segmenting networks or failing to segment a network at all is an internal threat. There are various reasons why some employees from one department should not be aware of the sensitive information that is being shared across another department. If employees can gain access to information through interdepartmental networks, it can be detrimental to a business or organization when the information lands in the hands of the wrong person.

In cases where networks are unsegmented and out of date, there can be increasing dangers to businesses and organizations. Businesses and organizations cannot afford to withstand the damages that can be caused by data breaches and cyberattacks, especially when there is no proper protection. Taking some time to perform an overview of your assets and trying to determine whether the business or organization could withstand a data breach can be difficult to face.

How Does Network Segmentation Improve Security?

One of the most important advantages of network segmentation is that if a cyber threat or a cyberattack such as a data breach occurs, the damage can be contained by limiting the attack to only the network that has been affected. This aspect of network segmentation supports the advantages in security previously mentioned. When networks are compartmentalized through segmentation, any damage that is caused by cybercriminals or different types of malware can be contained instead of having an entire network jeopardized.

Segmentation allows your business or organization to add multiple points of network monitoring. When you perform multiple network checks, it will make it easier to spot any behavior that may seem suspicious. Advanced network monitoring will also help locate the source of the problem and the impact the problem is having on the business or organization. When log events and internal connections are enabled, administrators are able to look for patterns in suspicious behavior. Knowing how cybercriminals behave allows your business or organization to take proactive measures to security, and ultimately help admins take steps that will protect high-risk areas.

While network segmentation is not anything new or highly popular, this does not mean it is out-of-date. Network segmentation remains one of the best among stopping data breaches and other cyberattacks. Trends in industries with frequent cyberattacks suggest that network segmentation could become one of the security measures that may eventually become mandatory. Whether this becomes the case or not, there will be a demand for subnets that will indeed speak volumes about network segmentation and the advantages it can provide.

Who Needs Network Segmentation?

Any business or organization that runs an internal system (physical or virtualized) to fulfill the needs of its network security system needs network segmentation. If the network architecture is complicated, it will become even more important to segment the network. On the other hand, if your business or organization relies solely on SaaS solutions, you may not need network segmentation. Alternatively, if a business or organization is currently operating without IT services, there may not be a need for network segmentation.

If your business or organization is running a flat network to make the number of switches the network has a little more simplified, you will limit the chances of your organization becoming a target for cybercriminals. A flat network can save you a significant amount of time and money in the beginning, but you can leave the back door open for cybercriminals to enter. That type of movement across a network will allow the bad actors to gain access to whatever they want when they want it.

Every business or organization will require a different level of network segmentation. What type of network segmentation will your business or organization require? Contact Colorado Computer Support today to schedule a consultation.

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