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Micro-segmentation: The Path to More Efficient and Effective Network Security

TechSource Editor


With the cyber security threat landscape getting bigger by the second, every security professional wants to limit their network’s attack surface. Current physical networks and traditional firewalls may prove that task difficult as bad actors find more and more ways to exploit the legacy technology.

Fortunately, if you’re deploying a software-defined network or working with virtual machines, micro-segmentation can make security a lot easier, safer and more efficient. And since the process is virtual, it can be deployed without necessitating new hardware or traditional IT overhead involved in deploying new services in the network.

Virtual Security Provides Greater Network Oversight

Through physical networking, security is implemented through hardware-based firewalls that are typically tied to a specific security boundary in the network. That means if there is any change required or breakdown in that system, the network must be reconfigured putting the security posture at risk due to the complex changes required and potential operator error.

On the other hand, a virtual network is one that is not tied to any hardware, IT managers have the ability to assign security measures that actually follow each connection as it moves throughout the network. Essentially, the virtual connection carries its own security wherever it goes.

Micro-segmentation Gets Granular

Micro-segmentation takes that concept one step further by allowing administrators to assign security measures down to the specific workload. Because of that, security professionals can monitor the most granular parts of the network as well as the traffic passing through.

“Micro-segmentation has many advantages for creating secure virtual networks, enabling security functions to be programmed into the data center infrastructure itself, so that security can be made persistent and ubiquitous,” according to a recent SDXCentral article.

Micro-segmentation is the most efficient way of doing this because it tracks and shuts down breaches moving across the network, rather than just attacks on the perimeter.

“By applying segmentation rules down to the workload or application, IT can reduce the risk of an attacker moving from one compromised workload or application to another,” a January Network World article says.

Virtualization giant VMware offered a similar, but starker view in a blog post on the company’s website: “It is no longer acceptable to utilize the traditional approach to data center network security built around a very strong perimeter defense but virtually no protection inside the perimeter.”

One Size Does Not Fit All

Another benefit of micro-segmentation is that, much like other virtualized services, the technology is modular—it allows IT professionals to tailor security measures quickly and easily depending on the kind of network traffic and the sensitivity of each workload.

Physical network security simply isn’t nimble enough to work in that way.

“Access control lists, routing rules and firewall policies can get unwieldy and introduce a lot of management overhead, making policies difficult to scale in rapidly changing environments,” the Network World article says.

The virtual nature of micro-segmentation also allows for security policies to scale up and down quickly, because all actions are done on the software level and not attached to specific hardware.

At Iron Bow, we can help find the proper micro-segmentation deployment for an agency’s specific needs because of our strong relationships and certifications with some of the biggest innovators in the industry.

This in includes VMware, who has long been a leader in virtualized networks, so it should come as no surprise that they’re tackling the micro-segmentation market as well. Their NSX network suite enables granular firewalling and security policy enforcement for every workload in the data center, independent of the network topology and complexity.

For more information about how we can help protect your networks, visit our new Iron Bow website.


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