Why Visibility is Essential for Micro-Segmentation Success



Read Time

3 Minutes

Last Updated

Mar 28, 2024

table of contents

The 2019 Cost of a Data Breach Study by the Ponemon Institute found that it took businesses an average of over 6.5 months (206 days) to detect a data breach. It is obvious that there is a huge gap in visibility, which is allowing attackers to not only infiltrate the network, but expand their footprint and also stay undetected for a significant period. To add to the current security woes, it is estimated that network traffic is bound to increase with the rise in east-west traffic – which will represent 85 percent of the total data center traffic by 2021.

As perimeters blur and an increasing number of workloads are distributed across data centers and the cloud, it becomes crucial that security teams be able to segment applications and workloads to reduce the attack surface. This is why software-defined microsegmentation is emerging as the way forward for enterprises to adopt a proactive security posture. A software-defined framework enables the segmentation of applications, dynamic workloads, and VMs, making security consistent across hybrid environments.

Getting the Right Visibility for Microsegmentation

Establishing and enforcing security policies at a very granular level around individuals or groups of applications within on-premise and multi-cloud environments has emerged as a best practice, best achieved through microsegmentation. However, to ensure that their microsegmentation journey is a success, businesses will have to gain the right level of visibility.  

Multi-Layer Visibility Across Hybrid Environments

To close the visibility gap, organizations need visibility at multiple levels: the network level, application level, workload level, and process level. Businesses also need visibility into the assets that are distributed across geographies and are in multi-clouds or on-premises data centers. While traditionally network taps or probes were used, 360-degree visibility with granularity can only be achieved with agents that collect telemetry data and use a centralized dashboard, which provides accurate visualization of all managed resources in a single window. 

Visibility in Cross-Segment Traffic

For security management to be effective, enterprises need to have the ability to customize the visibility of subnets, endpoints, applications, and other managed resources. Views based on location and environment can enable quick containment of possible threats. Additionally, by grouping managed resources by subnets and discovering other resources, security and risk teams can tag and group resources for greater visibility and control.

Visibility into the Threat Trail

For incident response to be faster, enterprises need enhanced visibility into the threat trail that is independent of the vendor or location of the resource. Thus, the solution must be simple, with no need for resource-related specialized training to facilitate faster incident response.

Visibility of Assets

Visibility into assets is equally vital. This is possible only with a centralized view and control of all assets across on-premise and cloud environments. The solution must have provision for detailed information into hardware utilization, application, running services, and users and provide for integration with third-party solutions such as CMDBs, Azure, AWS, and VMware.

Visibility into Misconfigurations

Misconfiguration of the operating system, applications, ACLs, and VLANs can leave the networks vulnerable. Security and risk teams should be empowered with on-demand vulnerability scans which can provide them with reports of vulnerable ports.

Visibility into Compliance Violations

Enterprises must meet legal compliance standards such as CCPA, HIPAA privacy standards, and PCI standards. Maintaining this compliance posture is only possible with accurate visibility that enables enterprises to stay ahead of industry requirements and face audits with confidence.

How to Solve Visibility Challenges

Businesses should consider visibility solutions that offer these features to ensure a successful microsegmentation journey.

A Host-Based Approach for Granular Visibility and Control

The host-based approach can collect a large volume of telemetry data, which can then initiate analysis to provide insights and help define micro-perimeters. A host-based solution like microsegmentation can be applied to individual workloads for greater attack and threat resistance.

Enhanced Understanding into the Impact of Security Policies

Policy simulation helps security teams gain an understanding of the impact of the policy before enforcing them. Using a visual policy editor helps configure an access policy using visual elements, while the built-in policy template eases out policy definition.

ColorTokens Xshield is an advanced visibility offering, equipped with the right features, that enables enterprises to make an informed decision—ensuring a successful microsegmentation journey. Learn more about it here.