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The Importance of Micro Segmentation for Zero Trust Networks

The benefits of the Zero Trust Network Access system are beginning to catch the eyes of IT security professionals every day. But since this security system is relatively a new concept to most, there are some points that are still missed out.

One of the most significant ones of these points is the importance of micro segmentation. Zero Trust is fundamentally designed to allow the IT teams to have granular security and control over their networks, and micro segmentation is a big part of this whole goal. Let’s see what is Zero Trust and see the importance of micro segmentation in its adoption.

What is Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA)?

Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) is a popular yet recent security model designed by John Kindervag in 2010. The main goal of this security system was to replace implicit trust in private networks with constant and repetitious verification.

Traditional security systems usually have implicit trust towards the entities within a private network. They don’t ask for further identity and authorization verification of the actions taken in the network. However, this is a huge security gap as it can cause internal security breaches and unauthorized access to sensitive data.

That’s why ZTNA put verification in multiple checkpoints and adopts the principle of “trust none, verify all.” This means that users and tools within the network continue to verify their identity and access permissions throughout their actions. If they are not cleared access for a specific network component or to do a particular activity, they will not be verified and access will be blocked.

This great security model allows granular security in private networks and significantly increases visibility. Zero Trust is the today and future of fully controlled private networks.

Micro Segmentation and its importance for Zero Trust

Because of its nature, micro segmentation is a practice to limit the damage in case of a cyberattack. This practice follows the least-privilege approach to limit user access to only the things they really need.

You can use network micro segmentation to break down your network into categories, applications, tools, and components. You can then put certain protocols and procedures to access these components and have only the authorized users access them. Therefore, individuals would have only the very necessary access and wouldn’t be able to see highly confidential information.

Let’s see the importance of this practice for Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) and understand its benefits in detail.

1-) Granular security

If you micro segment your network into smaller components and categories, you can easily decide who can reach a specific data and the procedures they need to follow to access that component. This would increase visibility on your network as well as ensure no one except the highly authorized users is accessing sensitive data.

This granular security opportunity would also prevent a possible cyberattack from becoming even more painful. If one of the accounts of the users within a network is compromised, they would still not be able to see some components as they wouldn’t have clearance. This can drastically limit the damage done.

2-) Improved access management

Access management is one of the most crucial things about Zero Trust. As this system enforces continuous verification within the network, it is mainly concerned with access management and authorization. You need to set up proper policies for this to operate without any flaws.

By micro segmenting your networks, you will have a much more straightforward yet secure access management system. Your security system would know the exact policies to apply where, when, and from who an access request is happening.

3-) Advanced compliance with regulations

Cybersecurity compliance is a big deal for business continuity, brand reputation, and avoiding legal issues. One of the common rules in these regulations is to isolate the highly protected systems. This will make your company network look more robust in the eyes of the governments and other authorities.

Micro segmentation will ensure isolated network components and if you put harsh security controls on these components, your compliance status will be improved instantly.

4-) Reduced software vulnerabilities

There is not a network without any flaws or vulnerabilities. But if your network system is not micro segmented, these vulnerabilities will threaten much more of your network than you can imagine.

Network micro segmentation is a great way to limit the information exchange between a flawless component to a vulnerable part of your network. This means that you can easily correct and get rid of that vulnerability without it affecting the other parts.

Conclusion

Zero Trust Network Access is gaining popularity as it proved to be incredibly beneficial for private network security. But a Zero Trust model consists of several important principles and policies one of which is micro segmentation.

Make sure to implement micro segmentation to unlock the key benefits of Zero Trust such as granular security, better access management, advanced compliance, and reduced vulnerabilities.

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