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Cybersecurity Best Practice #6: Network Segmentation

In honor of Cybersecurity Awareness month, let's deep dive into a previous post: The Top Best Cybersecurity Practices Your Organization Should Implement.

Network segmentation involves dividing your network into smaller, isolated segments to enhance security and limit the spread of cyberattacks. Here's a more detailed explanation:

  • Purpose: Network segmentation is primarily used to contain threats. If an attacker gains access to one segment, they're less likely to move laterally to other parts of the network.

  • Types of Segmentation:

    • Physical Segmentation: Physically separate network segments using different network hardware, such as routers and switches.

    • Virtual Segmentation: Achieve segmentation through software-defined network (SDN) techniques, creating isolated virtual networks within a physical network.

  • Segmentation Criteria: Segments can be based on various criteria, including department, function, sensitivity level, or user roles. For example, HR data might be in a different segment from manufacturing data.

  • Access Control: Implement strict access controls and firewalls between segments. Only allow necessary traffic to pass between segments, and monitor for any suspicious activities.

  • Monitoring and Logging: Continuously monitor and log traffic within and between segments. This helps in identifying abnormal behavior or potential threats.

  • Zero Trust Network: Consider adopting a Zero Trust network architecture, where trust is never assumed, and strict access controls are enforced even within trusted segments.

  • Incident Response: Develop incident response plans specific to each segment, so that in the event of a breach or incident, containment and remediation can be swift and targeted.

  • Regular Audits: Conduct regular security audits and penetration tests to ensure that segmentation controls are working effectively and there are no vulnerabilities.

Effective network segmentation can significantly reduce the attack surface and limit the potential damage of a cyberattack by containing it within a specific network segment. It's an important practice for organizations of all sizes.

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