By segmenting a computer network, you divide that network into smaller parts. The main purpose of doing so is to improve the security and performance of the network.
Read this article to what is network segmentation, its types, benefits, and how to implement it. Moreover, you will also know about the use cases, best practices, and the benefits of network segmentation here in the article.
Table of Contents
- What is Network Segmentation?
- Benefits of Network Segmentation
- Types of Network Segmentation
- Network Segmentation Best Practices
- How to Test Network Segmentation
- Network Segmentation Use Cases
- Network Micro-segmentation
What is Network Segmentation?
Network segmentation refers to dividing a network into multiple subnets or segments. Each of these segments acts as a small network.
Network Segmentation Examples
An organization can create a separate small network for its printers. Also, it can create a separate subnet for storing data.
Benefits of Network Segmentation
The top benefits are:
It is done to improve monitoring.
2. Performance & Security
It boosts operational performance and enhances security. By segmenting a network, you reduce network congestion. Also, it limits the spread of an attack.
3. Control Traffic Flow Effectively
By doing so, the network administrator can control the traffic flow of small networks based on granular policies.
4. Prevents Malicious Traffic
Network segmentation prevents harmful devices from infecting other devices in the network. This way, it stops malicious internet traffic from getting into your network.
Checkout Difference Between Malware & Spyware
5. Faster Response Rate
It offers a faster response rate, i.e., the admins of the distinct subnet can respond to the network events quickly.
Types of Network Segmentation
The two types of network segmentation are:
1. Physical Segmentation
By segmenting a network physically, you offer separate wiring, connection, and a firewall for each subnet. There are different types of firewalls that filter network traffic.
Although it offers marvelous protection, it is a bit hard to physically segment a large system.
2. Virtual Segmentation
In this affordable segmentation method, the switches manage the VLAN while the segments do the firewall sharing.
Network Segmentation Best Practices
Some of the best practices are:
1. Get Started With Small Steps
Network segmentation gets confusing and complicated quite quickly. Therefore start with small steps and then move ahead with some increments.
2. Avoid Excess Segmentation
No doubt isolating a network is a part of the cybersecurity plan, but you need to make sure you don’t do the excess segmentation or the over-segmentation.
If you segment an enterprise network too much, then it will be quite difficult to control it, and hence it will result in poor performance of the network.
This will also affect the productivity of employees.
3. Protect Endpoints
Network endpoints are vulnerable to cyber threats as the cybercriminals enter into the network by the network endpoints.
They compromise the network endpoint and then steal the segment’s credentials.
Thus you need to secure these endpoints.
4. User Experience
Do consider the user experience in each step of segmentation. If you find any sign-in method opaque, then make it clearer and smooth for the user.
5. Restrict Third Party Access
To meet various needs, organizations have to partner with third-party vendors. Some such vendors require access to the backend system of the organization.
So while segmenting a network, it is better to make separate access portals for each of such vendors.
6. Least Privilege Principle
If a network has no need for communication with another network, then it should not be given those privileges. By minimizing the user privileges, you increase the security of your organization.
7. Whitelist Network Traffic
Only allow the authenticated and authorized traffic into the network instead of blocking the bad traffic.
Recommended Read What is Network Level Authentication?
8. Perform Regular Network Audits
Schedule the network audits in order to identify the exploitable security gaps.
What is Network Segmentation Testing?
By testing the network segment, you make sure it is implemented properly and functioning well.
How to Test Network Segmentation
You can ensure your network segment’s performance and functioning by doing penetration testing.
The three steps involved in doing so are:
Here you identify the data and look for vulnerabilities that could expose your data.
You fix the security gaps and install the required process for protection.
Here assessment documentation is done. The remediations actions are also included in the report.
Network Segmentation Use Cases
Some of the common scenarios that demand you to segment your network are:
A) Guest Wireless Network
You can make a mini segment for the guest to use WiFi, and this way, offer them wireless isolation.
B) Separation of User Group From Services
By creating groups of similar services and users, you ensure that the right people have access to the right data. This way, you can also build business logic around the segments.
C) Voice Network
Voice networks are mostly wired. You can create a separate voice network to prevent VoIP mixing with the data traffic and, this way, have a wonderful calling experience.
Micro-segmentation divides the data centers into distinct segments, whereas network segmentation makes subnet from a big network.
By micro-segmentation, you can easily deploy flexible policies inside a data center.
By network segmentation, you divide a computer network into smaller parts to improve its security and performance.
This way, the network administrators can easily control the traffic flow based on policies. It reduces compliance costs and also prevents cyber threats.
Furthermore, network reliability is improved for users.
By knowing what is network segmentation, its types, and the network segmentation best practices, you can simplify the security policies of your computer network.