What is microsegmentation? Our definitive guide

Published July 22, 2022 by Benny Lakunishok

About Microsegmentation

Microsegmentation (or Micro Segmentation) is a cybersecurity concept. It refers to the practice of dividing a network into very small regions called microsegments, usually up to a segment per machine.

The goal of microsegmentation is to reduce the attack surface of a network by isolating every element—all clients, workloads, applications, virtual machines, and operating systems—into its own protective barrier that cannot be penetrated by attackers. Segmenting the network in this way makes it virtually impossible for attackers to move laterally within the network and cause damage.

However, because a network can consist of thousands or even tens of thousands of elements, it can be extremely difficult to implement this type of segmentation manually. The following guide will help you understand why microsegmentation is important, how it works, how to implement it, its challenges, and its benefits.


Why is Microsegmentation important? 

Microsegmentation is important because it improves network security by creating smaller segments or microsegments within a network. This makes it more difficult for attackers to move laterally within a network and increases the chance that they will be detected.

Additionally, microsegmentation can help reduce the blast radius of an attack, making it less likely that a large portion of the entire network will be compromised.

In fact, according to a recent study, 80% of cybersecurity leaders use microsegmentation to protect their organization’s network and assets. And it’s growing in popularity. Of the roughly 20% of respondents who said they don’t currently use microsegmentation, around 65% would like to use it in the future.

How Does Microsegmentation Work?

In a nutshell, microsegmentation works by creating small, distinct segments within a network (usually a segment per individual machine). By doing so, each segment becomes its own mini network with its own security perimeter. In a microsegmented network, attackers cannot move laterally within the network and reach their target. Even if an attacker breaches one segment, the others remain secure.

Ideally, microsegmentation should create a segment per host or machine. But to achieve that, traditional microsegmentation solutions involve installing an agent on every machine and then manually defining the network allow-list (who or what can connect to and from each machine). Because of this, microsegmentation has not been a scalable approach (at least until now with Zero Networks ????).

Technical diagram of Zero Networks’ solution architecture.

The Use Cases and Benefits of Microsegmentation

  1. Stop ransomware from spreading
  2. Stop attackers from moving laterally within a network
  3. Cyber insurance compliance
The use cases and benefits of microsegmentation.

How to Implement Microsegmentation to Achieve Zero Trust

Implementing a microsegmentation strategy within your network security infrastructure can help your organization achieve Zero Trust. This is because microsegmentation isolates and protects all your assets from being compromised by attackers. What is Zero Trust? At a high level, Zero Trust is a security model that requires organizations to verify the identity of users and devices before granting them network access. You can read more about Zero Trust, and Zero Networks’ approach to it here.

The Challenges of Microsegmentation

A high level of visibility into your network and insights on what is needed and what is not needed is necessary to accomplish microsegmentation. This can be a challenge to implement manually, particularly if your network is always changing. In addition, microsegmentation requires a great deal of coordination and planning to be effective.

The Zero Networks Solution

Zero Networks provides an automated microsegmentation solution that adapts to your environment, keeping only the necessary connections between machines open. By leveraging adaptive MFA (Multi Factor Authentication), normal usage for non-admin users is uninterrupted (attackers do not use that to spread), while the rest (admin users) require MFA for temporary access.

Zero Networks virtually eliminates your network’s attack surface with no manual segmentation or rule manipulation, and no agents.

The benefits of automated microsegmentation:

  1. Isolate everything (down to the individual machine) with a single click and no friction
  2. Prevent 99.9% of attacks. Stop lateral movement without interrupting normal network traffic
  3. Scalable for any size organization, without the need for agents or manual operation
  4. Streamline security operations; reduce the cost of NACs, internal firewalls, IPS and manual ACL-based microsegmentation
  5. Stay compliant with cyber insurance policies

About Zero Networks

Microsegmentation means that every module in the environment should only be able to access the information and resources necessary for legitimate purposes.

Great idea – in theory – that few organizations practice. Sadly, past efforts at microsegmentation required cumbersome agents, hair pinning, or expensive professional services.

Zero Networks, instead, found a new paradigm that proves that microsegmentation can be fast, easy, effective, and deployable by anyone to get military grade security.

Reduce the risk of breaches to almost zero with Zero Networks’ MFA-based microsegmentation solution.

Request a demo.

Additional Resources