Network Segmentation Security Best Practices: IT networks of major businesses and industries can grow too vast, complex, and challenging to maintain. If you’d like to have a better shot at maintaining your network, practices like network segmentation can be a lifesaver. At first, network segmentation can seem like a complex process that you can’t ever execute properly, so we’ve compiled this list of best practices to follow if you want to perfect your network segmentation for ultimate security.
Determine important data and assets
When segmenting networks, it’s crucial to determine which data and assets are more important. Not every asset has the same worth in an organization. These significance labels can also be used in different network trust zones.
Check access sources
It is a good idea to verify the source of the access to determine who is authorized to use the credentials and what kind of information they are seeking. Before starting the segmentation process, you should confirm which team or individual requires access to what sort of data. You may have to re-architect the segmentation process in the near future if you don’t check the access’s point of origin.
Use effective endpoint protection
Since mobile devices and other network endpoints are frequently the targets of attacks, you should take extra care to keep them safe. Malicious actors can access your network through these endpoints. Alternately, they acquire entry via hacking an endpoint and obtaining network segment credentials. Therefore, it is a good idea to begin the network segmentation process at the endpoint.
Limit third-party access
Many company networks need third-party access, but doing so comes with a lot of risks. Your network may be affected as well if the third party is breached. Access from third parties continue to be a major weakness for organizations. In fact, a study indicated that 44% of organizations had a breach in the previous 12 months, and 74% of those respondents claimed that granting third parties an excessive amount of privileged access was the main reason behind the breach.
This should be considered while designing network segmentation, and no private information should be accessible to other parties.
Monitor your network regularly
To keep ahead of malicious actors aiming to attack your company network in several ways, it is essential to conduct thorough network audits on a regular basis, along with risk assessments and penetration testing. Before a malicious actor has an opportunity to creep in and cause harm, you can detect vulnerabilities in your network and take steps to address them by auditing it. Audits will also show you whether your old network segmentation plan is still applicable or not. This is particularly crucial when your business develops and expands because as it does, your needs may change and your network design may no longer be adequate.
Converge related network resources
Another best practice for network segmentation is to converge related network resources into separate databases. A network segmentation strategy like this enables you to effectively adopt security regulations and ensure that mission-critical data is kept separate and secure. It might be useful to group the information according to the kind and degree of sensitivity when determining which resources are related.
Consider the scenario where only a very small number of people inside your company need access to specific data. It would be safer to combine all of that data onto a single, well-protected database as opposed to having it scattered over hundreds of workstations.
Even though it is a known fact that network segmentation can help you manage your cybersecurity environment more easily, you should always avoid over-segmenting. When your network is over-segmented, it is divided into an excessive number of little groups. This might seem more organized at first, but it can also lead to problems like less performance, inadequate security measure installation, and as a result, overall system vulnerabilities. Additionally, it might make your operation much more difficult overall, increasing the likelihood of errors and other problems.
Establish access control policies
It is crucial for access control regulations to be followed and intersegment communications to be monitored by the segment gateway. The concept of least privilege, which asserts that an application, device, or user should only have the degree of rights necessary to perform their task, should serve as the foundation for the access control policies you should establish in communication with your team.
Map your traffic flow
You can determine the sort of segmentation required in a given location by keeping track of the traffic flow. Additionally, you will be able to better comprehend how to segment your network if you start mapping your traffic flow.
Automation can be used by organizations to support network security maintenance. Many of the security audit stages can be automated in order to ensure that they are carried out consistently. Automation can be aided by tools built on software-defined technology. Having some of the routine practices automated can ease the workload on your IT team.
Activate low privilege
It’s crucial to make sure that employees only have restricted access to data and assets while segmenting and segregating your network. You may improve your overall security posture by limiting who has access to which areas of the network depending on their roles and requirements. You can monitor and maintain network traffic more easily as a result of this practice.
Unfortunately, inadequate network segmentation is a problem in many organizations. It’s almost certain that your company will face a security issue given the continually changing nature of today’s cybersecurity threats. This means that you need to be ready to prevent an attack from getting through your defenses. The good news is that applying network segmentation best practices can prevent malware from spreading laterally and reduce the impact of a breach.
Network segmentation can be a crucial component of your cybersecurity strategy since it can do anything from slowing down attackers to restricting the scope of a data breach. It can also lead the way and make it easier for you to follow other important cybersecurity practices.