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Apr 22, 2023

Why Micro-Segmentation Works So Well in the Cloud


Micro-segmentation is a security strategy born out of a maturing cloud environment. It relies on a number of distinct strategies that work together to limit the attack surface, making it harder for cybercriminals to find their way in. Micro-segmentation works extremely well when it is implemented in a thoughtful and purposeful way.

If your organization utilizes the cloud or any type of virtualization, micro-segmentation is a tool that should not be ignored. Developing and implementing a micro-segmentation policy will keep your network safer by making its security more robust.

Micro-Segmentation In a Nutshell

Micro-segmentation is a security strategy with one main principle at its core: managing network access. Proper management denies access to people and systems lacking authorization. It integrates with the zero-trust approach and the principle of the least privileged access.

In a nutshell, a micro-segmentation strategy divides a network, cloud, or virtualized space into different segments. Each segment represents a particular workload. Segments can be controlled individually using different privileges, access control methods, and security protocols.

Isolating workloads in this manner allows each segmented space to be controlled in whatever way is best for it. Each segment can be set up with its own access permissions. Each segment is kept separate from all the others, so even on the outside chance that one is compromised, the rest remain secure.

Isolating Distributed Workloads

In a cloud scenario, workloads might be distributed throughout a variety of virtualized environments. Workloads can even be distributed across an entire network, with data hosted in different physical locations. This is pretty common across data centers and hybrid networks.

A workload is essentially the software, processes, and resources necessary to do work. The accounting department has a workload that is probably separate from the sales department’s workload. Production has a separate workload all to itself. All these workloads need to be secure. They also need to be able to interact.

Segmentation controls the interaction through access controls and other features. It also protects each segment against outside attacks. If it helps, think of micro-segmentation as being similar to how hospital wards are divided and contained. There is a minimal amount of interaction between the wards. Yet access to each ward is limited only to those people who actually need to be present.

Micro-segmentation works the same way in cloud computing. Each segment is like an individual ward with its own patients and staff. Each one is protected by limiting access and tightly controlling interaction with others.

The Cloud Demands It

Cloud computing demands the most robust security possible. Data stored in the cloud does not enjoy the same hands-on protection as locally stored data. Likewise for applications. So there is a level of trust that must be maintained between data owner and cloud provider. Micro-segmentation creates that trust.

More and more of the digital world is finding its way into the cloud. So much so that cybercriminals now have a full-time job just figuring out how to penetrate cloud applications and stored data networks. They are by no means giving up, which is why micro-segmentation is so critical to cloud security.

It behooves every organization with a cloud presence to learn as much about micro-segmentation as possible. It works extremely well in the cloud because it takes advantage of what makes the cloud the computing environment it is. Without micro-segmentation, the cloud would definitely be a less secure place. But thanks to excellent segmentation software and robust security policies, any cloud environment and associated network can be kept safe and secure. That is the way it should be.