Network Segmentation: The Secret to Keeping Attackers at Bay
When it comes to setting up an office network, most organizations think that adding a general firewall to cover your entire network can be enough. However, with data breaches now becoming commonplace, it’s more important than ever to add solid security features to your network – this applies regardless of what industry you’re in. After all, whether you’re in banking, healthcare, or even retail, you will end up handling sensitive data that needs to be protected.
One way to beef up your network security is by implementing network segmentation, especially if you’re working with a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN). While segmentation can be a bit tricky to set up, here’s why you should still consider it:
- Managing Data Breaches
As the name suggests, network segmentation means dividing your current SD-WAN setup into smaller, different zones. This means that even if a breach happens, it will be confined to that specific network segment. The attacker would have a harder time getting to the other segments, as you can have additional control layers at each level.
On top of that, the attacker won’t be able to see the whole internal network structure from the outside. That way, they cannot plan the breach well in advance; they may end up being caught unaware by some security policies and their attack ends up getting foiled.
- Manage Access Better
Unfortunately, not all security threats come outside your company or organization. There may be some unscrupulous employees who’d want to steal company secrets, such as the case filed against Uber by Waymo, Google’s self-driving car unit. In that case, an engineer at Google was said to have downloaded 14,000 confidential files before resigning to set up his own startup. After that startup was bought by Uber, he passed on all those files to the ride-sharing service.
Hence, as this example shows, it’s extremely important to manage the access of people in your network – whether employee or client. This is possible through network segmentation. By implementing virtual local access networks (VLANs) to create divisions between segments, you can prevent persons from accessing the restricted parts of an SD-WAN. By doing this, you get to manage who can get to specific parts of your network better.
Just a tip when setting up access rules, however: make sure to apply the rule of least privilege. For example, don’t offer your employees additional access to a segment that has data they won’t necessarily need to accomplish essential tasks. The rule of thumb here is to give access carefully and sparingly.
- Meet Recognized Standards.
Several industry standards such as PCI-DSS require the use of network segmentation. This standard necessitates the separation of cardholder data from other parts of the network to ensure that sensitive information is kept away from potential attacks.
As these three reasons show, investing time and money to set up network segmentation on your SD-WAN is worth it. After all, it’s cheaper and easier to get this up and running, instead of bearing with the aftermath of a data breach or dealing with a case in court over patent infringement.