The concept of network segmentation has been around for a while. The simplest form of network segmentation is the isolation of an organization’s internal network from the rest of the Internet.
By defining this boundary, it is possible to build a perimeter-focused security policy designed to keep any potential threats outside the network while ensuring that an organization’s sensitive data remains inside. However, organizations can go further by defining additional internal boundaries within their network, which can provide improved security and access control.
Network segmentation can be performed in a few different ways. One common approach is firewall segmentation. In this approach, an organization deploys a firewall at a desired network boundary and architects the network, via physical links or virtual local area networks (VLANs), so that all traffic crossing the boundary is routed through that firewall.
By providing the firewall with complete visibility and control over boundary-crossing traffic, the organization can enforce access controls for that boundary. Based upon predefined rules, the firewall can allow or block different types of traffic. These rules can restrict access to a network segment to certain users or applications, block certain types of traffic from crossing the boundary, etc.
Using software defined networking (SDN), an organization also has the option of implementing microsegmentation. Microsegmentation increases the granularity of segmentation by isolating individual workloads from one another, rather than working on the scale of multiple endpoints like traditional network segmentation. This additional granularity amplifies the benefits of network segmentation by providing the organization with a higher level of network visibility and control.
If all traffic were permitted to enter and leave the enterprise network, the probability of successful cyberattacks would grow exponentially. The organization’s perimeter firewall acts as its first line of defense against external attackers.
However, organizations can also reap significant advantages from implementing internal network segmentation. Examples of some of the major network segmentation benefits include:
Implementing a network segmentation policy is a crucial step toward a zero trust security policy. Zero trust security relies upon the ability to enforce access control policies based upon employee job roles. Network segmentation creates boundaries where traffic can be inspected and these access controls can be applied and enforced.
Check Point’s next-generation firewalls are an ideal solution for implementing network segmentation. They not only provide content inspection and access control enforcement but also incorporate a range of threat detection solutions for identifying and blocking malicious traffic attempting to cross segment boundaries. To learn more about Check Point’s solutions, contact us. Then, request a demo to see Check Point NGFWs’ capabilities for yourself.