The Importance of Identity Segmentation
Identity-based microsegmentation allows organizations to apply granular access controls on specific identities, increasing network security and discouraging unauthorized entry.
Types of Identity-Based Attacks
One of the most significant cyber risks facing businesses today is identity-based attacks. These attacks target unprotected information shared between two individuals or systems, such as passwords and personal data, making securing an organization's identity even more critical than before.
Another identity-based attack is URL interpretation, which allows hackers to guess URLs and manipulate a website's backend to gain administrative privileges or access user accounts. It also allows them to steal passwords and credit card details from unsuspecting victims.
Biometrics is an identity-based security measure that can safeguard an organization's digital assets. Standard biometric identifiers include fingerprints, iris scans, and retinal images - each unique to each person and lasting a lifetime without modification.
These identifiers are essential in safeguarding an organization's assets and can be used for password-less authentication or two-factor verification. Furthermore, they enable organizations to identify those outside their firewall and prevent man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks, allowing hackers to view sensitive information passing between uncompromised parties.
Network Segmentation vs. Identity Segmentation
Network segmentation is a security strategy that divides an organization's network into smaller subnetworks, each with its own policies. This practice helps businesses improve security, performance, and compliance by decreasing the attack surface for each subnetwork.
Network segmentation is a popular security measure many organizations employ, but it's not the only way to protect a network. Identity-based microsegmentation is more efficient at avoiding cybersecurity issues and building an effective security posture.
Network segmentation and identity-based microsegmentation differ because the former limits access to applications and resources based on network connections, zones, and users. The latter restricts a particular application or service based on an individual user's identity and device. This granular approach can be applied at several levels--networks, clouds, or software-defined infrastructure--and has proven much more effective than traditional network segmentation techniques.
Reducing Cybersecurity Challenges
Reducing cybersecurity threats necessitates an integrated strategy that involves the entire organization.
Identity segmentation, or risk-based policies to restrict resource access based on workforce identities, is an effective way for organizations to bolster their security postures. It adheres to the principle of least privilege by granting only what is necessary for users to do their job and nothing more.
This approach is essential for combatting cybersecurity risks and safeguarding organizations against ransomware, credential harvesting, and other sophisticated cybercriminal tactics. Furthermore, it helps companies meet compliance mandates like PCI DSS or HIPAA.
Furthermore, identity-based microsegmentation helps enhance user experience and minimize network performance issues. Although implementing identity-based microsegmentation may seem intimidating initially, its advantages far outweigh any potential costs.
However, this approach has a few key challenges to managing cybersecurity risks. These include maintaining an equilibrium between security and user experience, the necessity of implementing micro-segmentation in noncritical environments before moving to more critical ones, and performing penetration tests to confirm that micro-segmentation is functioning as intended.
Organizations must implement privileged access management (PAM) solutions in addition to microsegmentation to minimize the risks of unauthorized authentications and lateral movement within a segment. This can be accomplished by monitoring traffic against specific policies and enforcing access controls across the network.
Privileged access management can prevent lateral movement within a segment by controlling remote access and stopping unauthorized authentications. This helps guarantee that threats cannot spread an isolated security incident to another part of the network, leading to fewer breaches overall.
Boosting the Identity Security Posture
Organizations must enhance their identity security posture to thwart identity-based attacks. This requires strengthening the underlying authentication and authorization infrastructure through multi-factor authentication (MFA), single sign-on capabilities, reducing password vulnerabilities, and using secure registered devices to access systems and applications.
Identity segmentation is an integral component of any security strategy and should be seen as a continuous effort to keep your organization ahead of the most severe cyber risks. It helps reduce the risk of data breaches and ransomware attacks by ensuring that only authorized personnel access systems and sensitive resources.
It also enhances user experience and offers centralized, standardized access controls that help organizations reduce the attack surface and safeguard data, systems, and applications from malicious activities. Identity breaches can be prevented by identifying and eliminating vulnerable passwords, restricting device types that access systems, and granting access only to registered and secured endpoints.
It also gives security administrators the context necessary to quickly decide where their focus should be and prioritize remediation for the most critical entities. The Azure ATP platform leverages signals provided by on-premises Active Directory to detect, investigate and block advanced threats, compromised identities, and malicious insider actions directed at an organization's assets.
It also helps bolster the overall security posture by detecting and avoiding common misconfigurations in on-premise Active Directory configurations that could lead to identity breaches. It also offers a proactive identity posture assessment to identify potential security risks and suggest actions for mitigating them.
For instance, it can identify service accounts performing interactive logins - a malicious activity that could lead to serious security breaches such as the theft of privileged credentials and data. Furthermore, contextual information like why this activity is essential helps security administrators refocus their efforts and gain better insight into the issue, ultimately improving their capacity for problem resolution.
Constructing a cybersecurity mesh architecture that integrates identity and access management solutions can be advantageous. Doing so allows you to manage all aspects of identity management more effectively, essential for safeguarding all types of assets - even those in the cloud.
Identity segmentation is a security practice that involves dividing a network or system into separate segments based on user identities or roles. It aims to control access to sensitive information by grouping users and assigning permissions.
EDR primarily focuses on endpoints, which encompass a range of computer systems within a network, including both end-user workstations and servers. It offers protection for most operating systems, such as Windows, macOS, Linux, BSD, and more.
Identity segmentation involves categorizing users based on their roles, departments, or other relevant criteria. Each segment is then assigned specific access controls, such as network permissions, file access rights, and application privileges.
Yes, identity segmentation can be applied in both on-premises and cloud environments. Cloud service providers often offer identity and access management tools to implement identity segmentation and enforce access controls within their cloud infrastructure.