Network segmentation separates parts of a business’ network into smaller, compartmentalized sections that often have their own networking equipment. These segments can then work faster and more efficiently because they cover a smaller area while still providing access to other areas of the network within the same building or work site. These smaller areas also provide a security benefit because access across segments can be monitored, controlled, or even actively prevented in order to stop malicious activity from spreading to other segments of the network. SMBs should develop network segmentation policies that outline how the network should be segmented and the security measures put in place to protect data stored in each segment.
Why Use Network Segmentation?
Once a network has been segmented, traffic between networks can be limited based on its source, destination, or other factors that will help maintain network integrity. For example, in a healthcare setting, it is important for HIPPA compliancy that patient records are stored separately from other data and have reasonable restrictions on who can access that data. With a segmented network, patient files can be encrypted and stored on one segment while access is restricted to only the devices and services healthcare practitioners need to use to provide care to patients. This segmentation and restriction can also work for financial systems and other sensitive data a business needs to keep safe.
Benefits of Network Segmentation
Network segmentation can provide businesses with a wide range of benefits based on the policies put in place to segment and maintain the network. Once segmented, a network will run faster because the number of users sending traffic to each segment’s networking equipment is lower, which will improve internet speeds and on-site data access. Devices and data that are especially sensitive can be stored in network segments that have higher security standards than other segments, and this means a successful cyberattack in one segment will have a harder time gaining access to other areas. Network segmentation can also help with meeting compliance standards as it may limit the standards to relevant network segments.
Network segmentation can be taken one step further with micro-segmentation. This applies the same principles as network segmentation but allows a business to partition the network on even smaller scales. For example, a network can be segmented on the employee workload level and affect specific applications or services that are used to get work done. Micro-segmentation offers businesses a lot of flexibility in their segmentation, but it is often needed primarily by larger businesses or companies that handle highly sensitive data.
Network segmentation is a great option for small and medium businesses that need to separate their network across wide areas to improve efficiency or section off parts of the network that need higher security standards. It requires hardware or tools that can change depending on the segmentation policy the company wants to put in place, so our team recommends working with a specialized IT professional to help plan and implement your network segmentation. With the help of an IT consultant like Robinett Consulting, you can be sure your network is segmented appropriately and that your business’ policies are implemented correctly!
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