One of the most overlooked topics in IT today is the need for network segmentation. Here’s what firms should know about this important topic and how it can help them make significant improvements in security.
What Is Network Segmentation?
Network segmentation is essentially the practice of splitting up larger networks into smaller ones. Doing this can be especially advantageous in large offices where it would be particularly unwise or impractical to bundle too many departments under one network.
Why Network Segmentation Is Important
One of the dangers of not segmenting networks is an internal threat. There are many strong and evident reasons as to why employees from specific departments should not be privy to those of other departments with more sensitive information. Information that can be accessed through interdepartmental networks can be used to cripple entire organizations when used malignantly by the wrong person.
Models where networks are largely unsegmented are out of date and becoming a danger to many companies around the world. Businesses simply cannot afford to sustain the extensive damages that data breaches and other cyber-attacks incur without proper protections. Taking a serious look at assets and weighing whether the company could withstand a data breach can be sobering. Do the right thing and partner with a managed service provider that can implement security strategies such as network segmentation.
Advantages of Network Segmentation
Effective network security is at the forefront of preventing hacking and ensuring business continues to run smoothly. Some advantages of an efficient network are optimized communication systems, cleaner, more efficient networks, and improved network security.
Facilitating shared resources in specific departments is made easier with network segmentation. It works by allowing printers, scanners, server resources, and even internet bandwidth to be shared more effectively. Doing this can save money and centralizes resources in a way that can make businesses more competitive at the departmental level.
Seeing all of the devices that are connected to a network—including every single printer, scanner, phone, and PC—is inefficient and confusing. Through network segmentation, we can reduce clutter by limiting network devices to specific segments consisting of only related devices (those within a single department, desk cluster, facility, and so on). Network segmentation ensures that employees can only see the devices that are available to them in their network segment.
With a properly segmented network, even if an attacker or virus is successful in compromising a certain segment of a network, the damage will hopefully be limited just to that segment. In order to penetrate other segments of the network, the attacker or malicious program will have to break through additional layers of protection, allowing security software and your IT team time to track down and ultimately eliminate the source of the threat.
How Network Segmentation Improves Security
One of the most significant advantages of segmented networks is that in the event of a major attack such as a data breach, the damage will be contained by being restricted to only the particular segment of the network that’s been compromised.
An excellent analogy for this that will resonate with savvy managers is the fact that ships are designed to survive different types of damage without sinking by sealing off impacted compartments. The same logic applies to business and office networks. Segmenting these networks keeps potential threats contained and can reduce the cost of these attacks considerably.
This aspect of network segmentation supports the advantages in security mentioned above. By compartmentalizing networks through segmentation, any damage that is done by hackers or malware is contained rather than jeopardizing each node on the entire network.
Virtual Segregation vs. Physical Hardware Segregation
Here are the differences between virtual segregation and physical/hardware segregation.
- VLANs (virtual local area networks) are a means of virtual segregation
- Physical/hardware segregation has many levels, even down to completely isolated systems each with their own cables running side by side with no intercommunication. An example of this would be security cameras with their wiring separate from the other systems.
Both are important and work together in keeping sensitive data assets segregated properly and dramatically reduces overall risk. Implementing these segregation practices are essential to averting potentially disastrous costs incurred from data breaches and are an essential part of network security and preventing attacks.
A common example of network segregation is the use of a “guest network.” It is imperative that guest networks be isolated from all internal network devices and endpoints. Visitors and even employees with personal devices such as tablets, phones, or laptops should all be restricted to using the guest network.
Companies that accept payments via credit card are subject to regulations and responsibilities of PCI compliance. Part of maintaining PCI compliance and reducing PCI scope is keeping credit card transaction data isolated from other data and devices through segmentation. If you’re concerned about your company’s PCI compliance, schedule a network assessment with us to find out how and where you may be vulnerable!
High-quality, professional services—such as those offered by CDS Office Technologies—help to ensure that credit card processing is properly segmented as per compliance regulations. Access to credit card processing functions is kept secure on a private, segmented network that cannot be accessed by those without appropriate clearance.
Partner with CDS Office Technologies
CDS Office Technologies is the best choice for clever businesses that recognize the importance of network segmentation and the staggering losses that can come from data breaches and other threats. Segmenting networks through CDS Office Technologies gives businesses key advantages.
Talk to CDS Office Technologies today and see what they can do to improve security through managed network solutions like network segmentation.