Microsegmentation: An Emerging Safeguard to Bulk Up Cybersecurity

Ransomware has emerged as one of network security’s largest specters. Attacks are increasing at a startling rate, and concern has reached the level of national security.

Following a series of notable ransomware attacks last year, the White House issued a warning to business leaders regarding the serious threat these attacks pose and urged further action by organizations to protect themselves. Following an executive order for governments themselves to enact heightened precautions, the federal government released a list of best practices for protecting corporate America.

Network segmentation is listed prominently in the best practices memo, and arguably the most granular approach to segmenting a network is microsegmentation. Here’s an introduction to microsegmentation and why it might be one of the next big safeguards to bulk up your cybersecurity plan.

What is microsegmentation?

Essentially, network microsegmentation is an emerging cybersecurity best practice that can significantly increase security defense. Different from network segmentation and application segmentation, microsegmentation focuses on a very granular division of individual workloads to protect them separately.

How does microsegmentation work?

Typically, cybersecurity setups center around north-south external traffic – attackers moving in and out of a network. By contrast, microsegmentation technology centers on internal east-west network traffic – attackers moving around within a network. Beyond stationing monitoring tools on the edge of a network, this approach adds additional visibility to traffic even within the same subnet for further security. Instead of only deploying firewall rules to a particular IP or network, security policies apply to the virtual machine itself and allow intra-subnet traffic filtering. As a workload migrates from one location to another, that security follows it throughout the entire application lifecycle. In other words, if an intruder gains network access, microsegmentation applies more barriers and safeguards throughout the environment.

What are the benefits of microsegmentation?

There are two notable advantages to a microsegmentation approach. First, it provides extra security to critical application deployments. Additional lateral movement security decreases the network attack surface, making the entire operation safer. Second, the approach creates firewall protocols that are more tailored, with unique security settings for different types of traffic. The additional contextual details added to the security policies also prevent the policy sprawl that is sometimes prevalent in traditional north-south firewall rules.

Who should think about microsegmentation?

The microsegmentation market is most applicable to sectors like energy, government, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail, for a few different reasons. To start, the more granular application of security measures lends itself to organizations with sensitive workloads. Next, the higher visibility afforded by the method is valuable for companies with high regulatory compliance. Finally, the way microsegmentation allows for dynamic and seamless tracking across environments is perfect for those using a hybrid cloud setup.

As networks move beyond traditional segmentation, microsegmentation will be a rising star for network security in months and years to come. To learn more about how microsegmentation and other tools can help your business shore up protection against cybercrime, contact LightEdge’s Security and Compliance Services.