March 29, 2023

Common Microsegmentation Errors and How to Prevent Them Using a Digital Twin

by Fabrizio Maccioni

Defining and implementing a network microsegmentation strategy is paramount to securing the network and protecting assets. However, it’s also a time-consuming and resource-intensive endeavor. This means it’s vital that enterprises are confident that their zone-to-zone security policy is functioning as intended. In enterprises that rely on microsegmentation (a network security technique that involves dividing a network into smaller segments or zones, allowing organizations to apply security controls and policies at a more granular level to limit the attack surface), ensuring intended connectivity or isolation is being enforced can be extremely challenging. 

If the microsegmentation and security policies are poorly designed or degraded, the network risks could be higher than before the policy was implemented. Ensuring the intended policies are being enforced requires a deep understanding of the network architecture, topology, and security protocols. This data can be challenging to access in a network with tens of thousands of devices running billions of lines of configuration while spanning the globe. Most Fortune 500 companies don’t have this level of detailed information, and if they do, it’s likely out of date, as the network is continually being updated.  

Zone-to-zone security policies must be continuously maintained to ensure efficacy; for most enterprise IT teams, this takes significant time and human resources. Although necessary, it’s a challenging investment, given the current economic climate and labor shortage. In addition, a single configuration change could have a broad-reaching impact on security policy, creating a new level of risk in the network. Non-network assets like workstations, printers, and other devices could make the entire network vulnerable to attacks and significant financial consequences.

Knowing the status of your microsegmentation with mathematical certainty can prevent many headaches by freeing your team to work on other strategic projects and helping with incident response and remediation. For example: 

  • In the event of a security incident, the investigation can focus exclusively on the breached segment, saving time when it counts most. 
  • Documenting and understanding microsegmentation policy adherence over time can help optimize network infrastructure, improve security, and reduce downtime. Additionally, it can help streamline audit responses either due to regulatory inquiry or post-incident forensics.  

Forward Enterprise makes proving and documenting zone-to-zone connectivity easy. The platform collects network device configuration and state data (including firewall policies), providing an always current at-a-glance representation of your policy enforcement. Zones are shown with full, partial, or no connectivity making it easy to identify any unwanted connectivity or blocks. To learn more about our zone-to-zone connectivity matrix, read the use case

For a full demonstration of the technology, meet us at the RSA Conference in San Francisco, April 24 – 27 in booth 4225. Enjoy an energizing cold brew while you talk security with our experts. 

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