Many enterprises want to segment their networks, but most don’t know where to start, and it is easy to see why.

It is difficult, after all, simply to understand how everything is connected within their infrastructures, how different business units interact and how different parts of the network are interlinked.

Yet, all this is very important because at the most basic security level, being able to segment the network is vital. By splitting the network into smaller segments and ensuring that these segments do not communicate unless they really must, businesses reduce the likely impact of security breaches.

Segmentation also helps drive operational efficiencies by ensuring that business units and systems are working together in the ways they should be working.

One of the biggest challenges organisations face is keeping pace with the growth of network infrastructure. Many corporate networks frequently have legacy systems running alongside – and often entwined with – dynamic forward-looking systems.

Today, with the ongoing migration to the cloud and the emergence of containerised environments, networks are becoming even more complicated. So, how can organisations get a handle on this complexity? The latest security tools are often key, effectively mapping networks from a visual perspective, thereby giving businesses a clear, up-to-date understanding of their infrastructure and its potential security flaws.

Micro-segmentation is critical to properly control traffic flows within the environment and reduce the potential attack footprint by ensuring only compliant flows are allowed, and to contain threats in case of a breach.

If a network is segmented down to the individual process level and communication is only between permitted systems (e.g. server A can talk to server B but no other), network operators can see that anything outside of that is a violation.

The next step is to apply a visual security delivery layer on top of these micro-segments and across the entire network. This will provide all inline tools with the ability to be fed packet data in real-time, to be stored for replay later or to be used in analytics engines. This, in turn, gives Security Operation Centres (SOCs) a better idea of how their security tools are performing.

Additional layers can then be applied on top to regulate access. This gives network administrators, and security teams far more control over which systems can talk to which systems when data is travelling laterally. It also allows them to detect active breaches within the network and securely confine them for accelerated mitigation and remediation.

It is imperative to have an early warning of the potential dangers across the estate. The latest solutions provide this via a ‘single pane of glass’, showing what is happening in real-time down to the process level. Embedding security into the network reduces operational overhead, increases visibility and helps generate intelligence around network events.

This demonstrates how network segmentation, backed by rigorous security policies and systems, can keep even the most complex network infrastructures safe for businesses today.