May 16, 2019 by Siobhan Climer
Network virtualization replicates network and security service components in a software container, allowing you to have the network provisioned and managed independent of your hardware.
Network administrators are the first to celebrate, since provisioning and changing virtual networks takes minutes instead of weeks.
By separating the network layer from the underlying hardware, technologists can deploy microsegmentation to manage data center traffic, optimize hybrid cloud networking, and improve network security.
What Is Microsegmentation?
At a basic level, segmentation is the practice of dividing the network into different tiers and installing a physical firewall or router designed to allow or forbid access to specific segments.
While segmentation isn’t new, microsegmentation divides the data center into logical segments at the individual workload level. Isolating workloads within the data center – or the cloud – helps control traffic and minimize risk.
Controlling Data Center Traffic Through Granularity
Whereas individual physical firewall deployments are limited by cost (installing a firewall at every interconnection would be exorbitant), microsegmentation enables IT to deploy agile security policies inside the data center and across hybrid deployments using network virtualization.
Since microsegmentation works across containers, virtual machines, microservices, and serverless architecture, making it all the more appealing for cloud-migration focused organizations. This is especially important for security-conscious companies. Creating secure zones across the data center and cloud deployments offers that isolated data-centric granularity needed for zero-trust security.
Come talk hybrid computing, data center traffic management, and network security with one of our experts in our weekly whiteboard sessions.
Network Security And Microsegmentation
Isolating traffic, and redirecting traffic, through microsegmentation is key to the zero-trust security model. Policies can follow device attributes, limiting the opportunity for deep infiltration if something makes it into the network.
Microsegmentation decreases the network attack surface area, reducing the risk of an attacker moving inside the network.
The Zero Trust Model And Microsegmentation
Forrester Research developed a concept known as the “zero trust” model of data security. It states that security policies should not simply be applied to the environment as a whole, or large segment groupings, but to everything. Every workload, every application, everything in the network must be protected.
Without this strategy, a network is on some level “trusting” their network traffic to be innocent and benign. Microsegmentation is the process by which this “zero trust” model is achieved, and it drastically increases the number of segments in play in the network.
Microsegmentation effectively makes each virtual machine (VM) on the hypervisor their own individual segment. Therefore, each and every virtual machine is protected by their own firewall. If a malicious file did manage a way through the environment firewall and onto a virtual machine, the file can get no further without having to once more pass through a firewall.
SDN And Microsegmentation
Microsegmentation should not be ignored as a compelling use case for SDN solutions, but it is only one component of a much larger concept. Learn more about software defined networking and all the ways in which it can improve your IT environment in our FREE white paper: Modernizing Your IT Environment With SDN.
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About The Author
Siobhan Climer, Science and Technology Writer for Mindsight, writes about technology trends in education, healthcare, and business. She previously taught STEM programs in elementary classrooms and museums, and writes extensively about cybersecurity, disaster recovery, cloud services, backups, data storage, network infrastructure, and the contact center. When she’s not writing tech, she’s writing fantasy, gardening, and exploring the world with her twin two-year old daughters. Find her on twitter @techtalksio.