Microsegmentation: Reduce Breaches and Improve Visibility

Posted by Marbenz Antonio on February 2, 2023

How microsegmentation can limit the damage that hackers do | Network World

Organizations face numerous difficulties from various market factors including digital transformation, cloud adoption, hybrid work setups, microsegmentation, and geopolitical and economic issues. These forces are particularly visible in the form of heightened security risks and a growing IT attack surface.

Containing data breaches is crucial, and implementing zero-trust security principles can help prevent attacks across IT environments, reducing the potential for business disruption. Microsegmentation has become a useful solution due to its ability to continuously monitor workload and device communications and create policies that determine allowed communication. By doing so, it restricts the spread of breaches, isolates them, and helps prevent attacks.

With the increased attention on the effects of breaches across different industries and regions, how can segmentation tackle the evolving security landscape and meet the needs of clients? IBM and its partners offer assistance in this area.

Microsegmentation in Breach Landscape and Impact of Ransomware

Recently, security solutions primarily centered around data centers, but as companies move to the cloud and adopt technologies such as containerization and serverless computing, new targets for attacks have emerged. Breaches are not only happening more frequently but are also becoming easier to spread. Conventional prevention and detection tools offered a superficial view of traffic flow among connected devices, applications, and systems across the network, but they were not designed to stop the spread of breaches or contain them.

Ransomware is a major challenge and presents a serious risk to cyber resilience and financial stability. A successful ransomware attack can shut down a company’s network for several days or more, resulting in the loss of valuable data to malicious actors. The “Cost of a Data Breach 2022” report by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by IBM Security shows that the average cost of a ransomware attack is $4.54 million, excluding the ransom payment.

Furthermore, a recent study by IDC indicates that ransomware attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated and lucrative. Attackers are extracting sensitive data at a higher rate and targeting the most valuable targets for maximum benefit. The end result is that the cost of a ransomware attack can be substantial, causing harm to a company’s reputation, loss of productivity, and potential non-compliance with regulations.

Organizations Want Visibility, Control, and Consistency

With a concentration on breach containment, microsegmentation, and prevention, as well as security for hybrid cloud infrastructure and applications, security teams are increasingly concerned. Three objectives have become critical to them.

The first objective for organizations is to achieve visibility. Obtaining visibility gives teams the ability to comprehend their applications and data flows, regardless of the network and computing architecture.

The second priority for organizations is consistency. Fragmented and inconsistent segmentation methods result in increased complexity, risk, and cost. Implementing a consistent policy creation and strategy helps align teams across diverse environments and makes the transition to the cloud smoother by minimizing the need to revise security policies.

Lastly, organizations desire to control. Solutions that enable teams to secure their most critical assets provide the greatest benefits. Organizations want to regulate communications by implementing selectively enforced policies that can be enhanced and improved as their security posture moves towards zero trust security.

Microsegmentation Restricts Lateral Movement to Mitigate Threats

Microsegmentation (or simply segmentation) involves combining techniques, policies, and software to allow user access where necessary and restrict access everywhere else. Segmentation limits the spread of breaches across the hybrid attack surface by continuously monitoring the communication between workloads and devices. In doing so, it creates fine-grained policies that only permit necessary communication, and isolate breaches by proactively restricting lateral movement during an attack.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) considers micro-segmentation as one of the three crucial technologies required for building a zero-trust architecture, which is a framework for evolving cybersecurity principles that shift defense from static network-based perimeters to users, assets, and resources.

If current detection solutions are ineffective and security teams lack detailed segmentation, malicious software can infiltrate the environment, spread laterally, access important applications, and steal critical data, resulting in disastrous consequences.

In the end, segmentation assists clients in responding by implementing zero trust principles like “assume a breach,” enabling them to be ready in case of any eventuality.

IBM Launches Segmentation Security Services

To address the increasing demand for segmentation solutions, IBM has enlarged its security services offerings through the IBM Security Application Visibility and Segmentation Services (AVS). AVS is a comprehensive solution that brings together software with IBM consulting and managed services to address the segmentation requirements of organizations. Irrespective of the location of applications, data, and users across the enterprise, AVS is intended to provide clients with insights into their application network and the capability to prevent ransomware attacks and secure their critical assets.

IBM has introduced IBM Security Application Visibility and Segmentation Services (AVS), an end-to-end solution designed to meet organizations’ segmentation needs. AVS combines software with IBM’s consulting and managed services and provides visibility into clients’ application networks and the ability to contain ransomware and protect their valuable assets. AVS offers a guided experience to align stakeholders on strategy, define the schema for visualizing workloads and devices, and create segmentation policies to govern network communication and secure critical applications from unauthorized access. Ongoing management of clients’ environments includes health and maintenance, policy and configuration management, service governance, and vendor management.

IBM has partnered with Illumio, a leading company in zero-trust segmentation, to offer its security solution. Illumio’s software platform offers visibility into communication and traffic between all workloads and devices across an organization’s hybrid attack surface. It enables security teams to create automated, detailed, and adaptable segmentation policies that regulate communication between devices and workloads, only allowing what is necessary to flow through the network. This helps organizations quickly isolate infected systems and protect valuable assets, stopping the progression of an ongoing attack.

With IBM’s Security Application Visibility and Segmentation Services (AVS), clients can enhance the security of their computing nodes in data centers, clouds, and edge environments, ensuring the protection of their essential enterprise assets.

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