Each month, we see new security breaches that compromise sensitive data. With each case, it is becoming increasingly clear that regardless of industry or location, bad actors are capable of not only accessing critical assets, but also traversing undetected across workloads to expand their foothold. Unfortunately, companies that rely on outdated cybersecurity solutions that can’t keep up with growing IT environments are even more vulnerable to these threats.
Micro-segmentation, a security practice that divides the network into isolated segments so that the traffic can be more easily monitored and controlled, has big benefits when it comes to defending against advanced cyber threats. By providing security at a granular level, micro-segmentation brings the advantage of definition through abstractions and not by IP addresses or VLAN memberships alone. This enables enhanced security and simplicity as environment separations adapt to dynamic application environments.
Top Benefits of Micro-Segmentation
1. Cloud Workload Protection
According to IDG, 73% of organizations have at least one application on the cloud, and 42% use multi-cloud infrastructure. Micro-segmentation works by reducing the attack surface and providing much-needed granular visibility into workload connections. It also protects workloads and applications distributed across multi-cloud data centers. The solution further enables real-time visibility into any suspicious activity, ensuring that security professionals are able to catch suspicious activity in time and act on it.
The other advantages include ease of use with deployment across multi-vendor cloud infrastructure without additional operational complexity, and automated security policies that move with the resources across clouds.
2. Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) Defense
Threats come in a variety of forms, many of which aren’t readily detectable. These can debilitate organizations that hold sensitive information, making them prime targets for data exfiltration. Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) are orchestrated by a human or software laterally moving through the network, and are carefully planned with the aim of attacking a specific entity.
It is possible to reduce dwell time by preventing the malware’s migration beyond the initial attack surface to other adjacent networks or resources. Micro-segmentation goes well beyond this by escalating security, which in turn makes resources inaccessible to the threat. By stopping any CNC communication, data exfiltration is stopped, resulting in on-time containment and expedited remediation.
3. Effortless Compliance
Even with all system and protection protocols in place, ensuring compliance can be challenging. This is another area where micro-segmentation can help. It simplifies mandatory compliance regulations, whether it’s PCI-DSS (including the expected release of PCI-DSS 4.0 in the coming months), HIPAA, or region-specific requirements like GDPR.
Micro-segmentation’s ability to define the scope and prevent lateral movement helps companies meets an array of compliance standards. For example, in achieving HIPAA compliance, it provides protection of ePHI data, risk analysis, and management, as well as the ability to limit the scope of an audit. For PCI-DSS, it enables automated and auditable processes for policies that can be created, enforced, monitored, and refined across all locations and platforms.
4. Easy Environment Separation
Data breaches can arise due to unwanted or unmonitored movement of production data into a development environment. But historically, environment separation to limit access to sensitive data has been time-consuming and challenging, often requiring several stakeholders in distributed and hybrid data center environments.
A micro-segmentation solution enables easy environment separation for modern data centers. Instead of using IP addresses and VLAN memberships, it segments the network by tagging resources hosting workloads or applications. This makes environment separation adapt to dynamic application environments, providing unparalleled operational ease and security.
With micro-segmentation, you get the advantages of reusable server role, environment and application tags, reusable security policy templates, platform-agnostic separation, automatic audit trail for every action, and a zero-trust network with full visibility and control.
5. Security Simplicity
A top-notch micro-segmentation product makes it possible to create reusable security policy templates that dictate user access to applications and databases, as well as communication between workloads across different environments. This can provide significant time savings. Instead of spending hours doing tedious manual configuration work, companies can apply templates for uniform security and compliance on every environment created or modified.
6. Visibility in Hybrid Environments
The right micro-segmentation solutions can be compared to having a single pane of glass which provides in-depth views into every resource and cross-segment traffic in data centers — removing the need for multiple visualization and monitoring tools. Bare-metal servers and hybrid-cloud environments need constant assessment, which can sometimes mean significant remediation time. Centralized visibility into every segment of the data center reduces this time and helps maintain a positive security posture.
7. Secure Application Access
Digital transformation has wrought great change, presenting new challenges to security teams. One of these is gaining full visibility. This is especially true when it comes to visibility into remote access of networks and applications.
With micro-segmentation, it is possible to secure access to applications — enabling a process of relevant access to relevant functions or resources. The ability to provide visibility across all remote access points is especially critical for enterprises that are spread across multiple geographies. A level two micro-segmentation approach enables security teams to create flexible policy controls that adapt to the users’ location, identity, and role. This empowers businesses to protect micro-segmented application access from campus users and remote users.
Adoption to Implementation – Getting it Right
As with just about any system, process, or solution within a business large or small, defining the right policies and ensuring their implementation is critical. This is especially true when it comes to something as crucial as data security. See how a top-tier micro-segmentation solution can help your company mitigate risk, prove protection, and fill security gaps. Get started with a free demo of ColorTokens’ award-winning micro-segmentation product Xshield today!