Building Strong Digital Fortresses: How Network Segmentation Bolsters Cyber Defense

Incidents of network breaches are increasing day by day. Hence, it has become essential to
implement stronger cybersecurity strategies to protect sensitive data from malicious attacks.

One such technique is network segmentation. It involves dividing a large computer network
architecture into smaller, isolated independent subnets so that the entire network is not affected
in case an intruder breaks in.

Thereby, the implementation of network segmentation solutions is one of the ways to safeguard
data assets and strengthen the cyber security of an organization’s infrastructure. In this article,
we’ll discuss how network segmentation can add an extra layer of cyber defense to your
network and help you build stronger digital infrastructure.

6 Ways How Network Segmentation Boosts Cyber Security

Network segmentation plays a key role in providing effective protection from inside and outside
attackers. It requires splitting the enterprise network into smaller network regions. Each sub-unit
functions independently because it has its own network resources, security measures, and
access controls, unlike a flat network structure.

This helps to limit the lateral movement of threats and minimize the attack surface. Furthermore,
it reduces network traffic congestion and data breaches. Below, we will discuss some ways in
which network segmentation safeguard the IT network infrastructure of an organization:

1- Provides Access Control
Network segmentation allows the organizations to implement granular access control policies
across their IT infrastructure. In this practice, users are granted role-based access control to
only specific network resources that are relevant to their job functions and responsibilities.

Similarly, the separation of privileges grants users different levels of access within a single
segment. It ensures that they do not have access to data more than their job role requires.

Hence, privileged access in a segmented network minimizes the risk of unauthorized insider
cyber attacks from current or former employees.

2- Reduces Lateral Movement Of Threats
Generally, in a flat network design, all devices are connected to only one segment. This makes it
easier for hackers to gain unauthorized access to the entire network through a single entry
point. However, network segmentation has helped in limiting the lateral movement of threats by
dividing the network into multiple isolated subnetworks.

The segments create a barrier within the network infrastructure, making the attackers feel
restricted within the boundary of a single subnet. They have to face hurdles to move from one
segment to another. Hence, due to threat containment in a segmented network, the digital
infrastructure remains protected from potential breaches.

3- Enhances Monitoring & Intruder Detection
In a standard flat network, there is no segmentation. Hence, it becomes difficult and complex to
track high volumes of network traffic, leading to poor threat detection and weak cyber defense.

However, in a segmented network, every subnet has its own security policies and access
controls. Each segment has security monitoring tools like Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) and
Security Information and Event Management Systems (SIEM). Thus, network segmentation
helps security teams to perform focused monitoring within each segment, instantly identifying
and responding to anomalies. Therefore, by compartmentalizing the network, companies can
strengthen the cybersecurity of their digital organization.

4- Provides Minimal Attack Surface
Network segmentation works on the concept of proactive defense strategy to combat
cyberattacks. It divides the network into smaller logical zones, which reduces the overall attack
surface or vulnerable areas for the hackers.

In case of a data breach, cybercriminals will not be able to access the organization’s critical
resources, systems, and sensitive data of the entire network. It is because the endpoint of each
isolated segment uses stronger firewalls, intrusion prevention mechanisms, and traffic filtering
techniques to block malicious attackers from traversing through the network. Thus, it mitigates
the risk of successful cyber attacks and minimizes the expenditure caused by security incidents.

5- Helps Meet Compliance and Regulatory Requirements
A lot of industries have set compliance requirements to protect the privacy and security of their
user’s data. Network segmentation helps organizations meet these regulatory requirements. It
includes Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), Health Insurance
Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The implementation of a segmented network helps the payment card industry in storing the
credentials of users in an isolated subnetwork. It provides protection from unauthorized inbound
and outbound traffic. Similarly, it helps strengthen the cyber defense of healthcare organizations
by restricting access to segments containing ePHI (Electronic Protected Health Information).
Thus, this security technique bolsters the cyber defense of different industries and helps in the
protection of sensitive data.

6- Offers Easier Network Management and Scalability
A segmented network contains smaller manageable subnets. Each one of these subsets have
their own security policies, access control, resources, and applications. This makes it simpler for
network administrators to configure network devices, monitor network performance metrics, and
detect security incidents. It also allows them to quickly troubleshoot the problems and improve
the cyber defense of the network.

Moreover, it is easier to expand or scale a segmented network as the organization grows. One
can add new network resources, users, and devices and incorporate cyber security measures in
each subnet to protect businesses from outside threats. This significantly improves the future
adaptability of the network. Furthermore, it enhances the cyber defense of the system against
emerging threats.

Why Does Network Segmentation Matter?
In today’s digital landscape, network segmentation is of utmost importance. This is because it
strengthens the overall security posture of an organization and minimizes the impact of an
attack. It plays a crucial role in providing a robust defense mechanism against malicious cyber
attacks that are now much faster and smarter, thank to Artificial Intelligence. In the current
threat-prone environment, a segmented network can serve as an essential network security
measure due to the following reasons:

? Fewer data breaches and unauthorized disclosures are observed in segmented
networks leading to the prevention of financial losses for businesses.

? Network segmentation mitigates the risk of cyber incidents, hence it helps built customer
trust, loyalty, and a positive brand reputation. People feel confident that their data privacy
is respected and their credentials are handled securely.

? Strict network security policies in a segmented network can reduce vulnerabilities to
malicious threats. Thus, it helps in the preservation of business continuity by minimizing
the impact of cyber attacks.

To sum it up, network segmentation is a great security strategy to improve the cyber defense of
an organization due to its multiple benefits. This includes a reduction in the attack surface and
facilitation in meeting regulatory requirements. It also includes providing easy network
monitoring and traffic management and isolating sensitive assets to protect data, networks, and
systems from cyber-attacks. Thus, to build strong digital fortresses in today’s world and to
prevent future costly data breaches, network segmentation should be an essential component of
an organization’s security policy.