When it comes to cybersecurity, conducting a thorough assessment of your current environment to identify potential weaknesses in your security network is only the first step toward a stronger security infrastructure. The next step is to segment the network. Segmentation is the process of separating a network into multiple sections, or segments, to better protect information and improve security.
Many organizations continue to function within a flat network, creating an open environment where all information is accessible to everyone. In a flat network, security is only implemented around the perimeter of the system, and sensitive data is freely shared under the assumption that everything inside the network can be trusted. However, the problem with this approach becomes evident when a threat breaches the perimeter, leading to system-wide exposure of sensitive information and a compromised network.
With the increasing frequency of cyberattacks, simply implementing traditional security around the perimeter is no longer sufficient. To keep invaders from infiltrating the entire network, it is necessary to build a segmented network.
The best strategy for proper segmentation of a network is to work backwards from worst-case scenarios. Imagining the most dangerous situations will help teams determine what assets within the network need to be secured and isolated from each other. Taking a defensive approach helps organizations pinpoint essential areas for segmentation.
To identify the best structure for segmentation, it is important to categorize all types of information within the organization, from the most confidential assets to the most public assets. Critical departments, services, and data should be the first areas segmented in the network. The purpose of separating this data is to minimize access to sensitive information for those who don’t need it. Network access between internal departments should be limited so data is accessible only by authorized users. In addition, data should be classified based on its sensitivity and the impact of its disclosure. This will help determine which information should be encrypted. Organizations should establish classification schemes and identify data types to ensure proper segmentation controls are in place.
A segmented network is fundamental when it comes to building a strong security infrastructure. With proper segmentation, critical information and data stay protected. Segmentation is a defensive step towards slowing down and stopping threats before it’s too late. Once you’ve built a segmented network, you have completed the second step to Stopping the Next Massive Cyberattack.
This post is part of a series to encourage organizations to implement security solutions to avoid falling victim to cyberattacks. Cybercriminals can strike any organization at any time. We want to help you be protected. To learn about the Five Steps to avoid being the next data breach read our whitepaper, Stopping the Next Massive Cyberattack.