What’s it? Advantages & Challenges


Determine: Fortinet’s survey of the share of workloads companies run within the cloud in 2023.1

With a rising variety of purposes migrating to the cloud and workloads accumulating on these networks, the standard castle-and-moat approach for establishing a safety perimeter has change into outdated in opposition to trendy threats that may breach software-defined perimeters.

Microsegmentation instruments may also help safety consultants allow finer-grained zoning all through personal, public, and hybrid IT environments to detect, govern, and forestall cyber threats. 

Safety executives want to know the operate, advantages, key options, and use circumstances of microsegmentation to extend the safety of their networks and information.

What’s microsegmentation?

Microsegmentation is a community safety answer that enables information facilities or cloud environments to be separated into discrete safety segments based mostly on sure workloads, which permits organizations to determine safety guidelines (automated danger assessments or vulnerability scanning automation) and restrict entry to every subsection. Microsegmentation methods could be deployed by means of every internet server or immediately onto every hypervisor* in a knowledge heart. 

With microsegmentation, every of the next objects could be remoted as a definite “section” throughout the community:

  • Workloads and purposes: Segmenting explicit cases of software program packages (a database) or all cases (all SQL databases).
  • Digital machines: Segmenting a number of digital machines (VM in an utility).
  • Working methods: The classification of explicit working methods (all Home windows OSs utilized by programmers).

* A software program sort that enables a number of VMs to function on one bodily machine.Illumio2

Determine: Microsegmentation framework

Microsegmentation framework

Supply: TechTarget3

Forms of microsegmentation

Based mostly on segmentation sort

1. Container segmentation: Separates containers from each other to extend safety and restrict the assault floor. This enables a number of packages or providers to function on a single host system in distinct containers. 

2. Purposes segmentation: Secures explicit purposes by establishing security measures that limit entry to explicit utility sources corresponding to databases or servers. 

3. Tier segmentation: Protects separate tiers or ranges of an utility stack, (internet tier, utility tier, or database tier) in opposition to attackers shifting laterally inside the appliance stack.

4. Setting segmentation: Ensures community virtualization know-how (e.g. improvement, information utility safety testing, or manufacturing) is safe by implementing entry guidelines for personal information and sources.

5. Person segmentation: Classifies consumer entry based mostly on totally different standards to make sure that solely licensed customers have entry to firm sources. 

Listed below are key components to think about for cloud safety consumer segmentation:

  • Position-based entry management (RBAC): RBAC entails producing and defining credentials for roles earlier than allocating folks to the suitable roles based mostly on job duties. This technique ensures workers solely have entry to the sources they require to satisfy their job duties.
  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA): MFA permits customers to provide a number of kinds of authentication to make use of a useful resource. This is likely to be a username and password.
  • Steady monitoring: Monitoring consumer conduct for recognizing and responding to safety issues in real-time. This entails analyzing log information and consumer exercise to find threats.
  • Separation of duties: Distributing duties amongst a number of customers to stop any single consumer from acquiring an excessive amount of affect over a system or course of. This decreases the opportunity of fraud whereas additionally making certain that important procedures are carried out by a number of folks.
  • Common entry audits: Common entry critiques entail analyzing consumer authorizations to confirm they’re nonetheless mandatory.

Based mostly on atmosphere sort

1. Hypervisor-based: Hypervisor-based microsegmentation routes all community communication by means of the hypervisor with out shifting the firewalls.  Thus, firewalls could also be maintained in location, and safety insurance policies could be moved throughout hypervisors. 

2. Host-based: With the host-based mannequin, brokers are positioned at every endpoint to help in detecting doable vulnerabilities. This mannequin employs a central supervisor who provides full visibility throughout all sources, procedures, providers, and community connections. 

3. Community-based: Community-based microsegmentation defines who can enter sure community microsegments. 

Community segmentation vs microsegmentation

Community segmentation

Community segmentation is a extra conventional and bodily strategy than microsegmentation, which goals to divide a community into a number of sections known as subnetworks or subnets utilizing each {hardware} and software-driven approaches. Community segmentation could be achieved by establishing safety guidelines, entry management lists, firewalls, and digital LANs (VLANs).

  • Community segmentation is hardware-based and designed for north-south site visitors (client-server information flows between information facilities).


Microsegmentation, a successor of community segmentation, takes a extra up-to-date and granular strategy to formulate safety limitations. In distinction to community segmentation, which depends on a single constraint to handle entry, microsegmentation limits entry to all machines, endpoints, and purposes, impartial of VLAN.

  • Microsegmentation is software-based and designed for east-west site visitors (server-to-server information flows between purposes).

Scope and variations of community segmentation vs. microsegmentation

Throughout community segmentation, gadgets that should join with these apps are assigned to a definite VLAN – or subnetwork. 

Whereas community segmentation can restrict communication throughout VLANs, it can’t limit server-to-server connectivity inside a VLAN. It is because all the appliance servers reside on a single subnetwork. With miccrosegmentation customers can block each north-south and east-west site visitors, which is extra precious to corporations when it comes to enhanced safety.

Determine: Comparability between community segmentation and microsegmentation – utilizing VLANs –

Comparison between network segmentation and microsegmentation – using VLANs –

Supply: Huawei4

Why use microsegmentation?


With the event of information storage instruments, the first site visitors on information heart networks has shifted from north-south to east-west. Thus, inside site visitors safety has change into much more important. 

Main safety issues in virtualized information infrastructures:

  • Vulnerabilities in hypervisors: Hypervisors are primarily supposed to function a number of visitor VMs and purposes in parallel on one host. If attackers get management of the hypervisor, they’ll have entry to all VMs and personal information. 
  • Hypervisor failure: Hypervisors totally handle VM entry to {hardware}, when hypervisor crashes as a result of software program bugs in infrastructure leading to system failure.
  • VM escape: Vulnerabilities in OSs working inside VMs may cause attackers to launch dangerous purposes. When these malicious purposes are executed, the VM breaches the remoted boundaries and begins speaking with the OS by avoiding the VM layer. This enables attackers to carry out assaults on the host atmosphere.
  • VM sprawl: This occurs when the amount of digital machines (VMs) on a community grows to the extent that admins can not correctly management them.
  • Outdoors-VM: This originates by means of the host OS and VMs. If a malicious VM is aware of the exact tackle of one other VM’s reminiscence, it could execute learn or write procedures to that place and alter different actions.


Microsegmentation has smaller granularities than subnets. It may section a DC’s inside community throughout smaller teams, and leverage a extra detailed service coverage management to restrict the lateral transfers of community threats. Microsegmentation can isolate workloads, apps, and procedures within the cloud, information heart, and containers utilizing workload-identity and context-based firewalling or encrypted information connections.

Microsegmentation blocks attackers or threats from spreading or migrating laterally in information facilities or the cloud. With microsegmentation a menace can be restricted in a location, stopping attackers from shifting to different sections of a system (see under).

Determine: Safety safety with out and with microsegmentation

Security protection without and with microsegmentation

Supply Wallarm5

Advantages of microsegmentation

To get an understanding of the worth of microsegmentation for virtualization safety, we reviewed main safety issues (above). This part examines how corporations could make the most of the advantages of microsegmentation.

1. Minimized the assault floor

As extra companies switch workloads from on-premises information facilities to cloud and hybrid cloud environments, all the assault floor has grown. Microsegmentation decreases the doable assault floor by separating the community into smaller segments that can not be handed with out verification, limiting malicious customers from flowing laterally inside the appliance structure.

2. Stronger regulatory compliance

A number of regulatory frameworks require corporations to make use of rigorous entry controls and safety measures (PCI-DSS, HIPAA, and regional mandates corresponding to GDPR) to safe delicate information. Microsegmentation can help companies in demonstrating regulatory information compliance by making certain that solely accepted customers and apps have entry to delicate sources.

3. Enhanced breach management

When an attacker conducts a breach, microsegmentation can help in limiting the attacker’s lateral motion capacity across the community, decreasing the impact of the assault. Microsegmentation can restrict the unfold of malware or different malicious actions by separating community sections, lowering the potential impression of breach.

4. Hole-free safety

Safety insurance policies can cowl environments (containers, on-premises information heart, and working methods) on each personal and public clouds with no safety hole as a result of the coverage is tailor-made to the workload relatively than the community section.

Challenges of microsegmentation

If microsegmentation will not be accurately constructed and carried out, it’d present community efficiency and safety challenges:

Complexity: When microsegmentation is completed inside operational environments, this can be a time-consuming process that tends to disrupt company operations. The community design could solely typically match the segmentation necessities. It’s complicated and time-consuming to re-architect networks or reconfigure VLANs and subnets based mostly on segmentation wants (see determine).

Efficiency decline: Segmenting the community too exactly or implementing too quite a few security measures would possibly injury community site visitors patterns and limit the community’s effectivity. Administering safety rules to every section provides further overhead to the community, which may contribute to delays.

Safety deficiencies: Unreliable coverage enforcement and configuration errors can lead to safety breaches, banned legitimate site visitors, and cyber threats.

State of microsegmentation: 6 key takeaways from Gartner & Forrester reviews

1. Conventional perimeter-based community segmentation will change into inadequate: Utilizing yesterday’s know-how to guard tomorrow’s complicated settings in opposition to breaches doesn’t make sense. Based on Gartner, cybersecurity executives are turning to ZTS and looking for options to implement safety controls on the workload degree to uphold Zero Belief requirements. By 2026, 60% of organizations aiming towards zero belief networks will make use of multiple microsegmentation deployment sort, up from lower than 5% in 2023.6

2. Zero Belief and microsegmentatin implementation will proceed to evolve: Gartner sees demand spanning all industries and international locations. Microsegmentation options can be evaluated by midsize corporations, which is a brand new idea.7

3. Corporations will depend on microsegmentation strategies to implement Zero Belief safety to mitigate the damaged perimeter dangers: The sooner years have seen an ideal storm of digital change as corporations rushed instantly, to switch distant work and migrate to the cloud. This has resulted in a extra difficult atmosphere, in addition to an increase in damaged perimeters. 

Gartner predicts that cybersecurity executives will flip to Zero Belief safety strategies to deal with these threats. Corporations will set up fine-grained zoning and microsegmentation options as a sensible approach of executing Zero Belief ideas.

Thus, safety groups can lower potential dangers related to at the moment’s damaged perimeters by creating granular safety insurance policies on the workload degree, relatively than counting on inaccurate IP addresses.8

4. Microsegmentation instruments can be in excessive demand: ~80% of companies aiming to develop Zero Belief and microsegmentatin safety procedures.9

5. Most companies are nonetheless within the early phases of Zero Belief and microsegmentation implementation: Solely ~35% of corporations have begun to undertake safety options, and solely 6% have utterly deployed their microsegmentation initiatives.10

6. Micro-segmentation is anticipated to learn safety professionals in a spread of areas important to organizational efficiency: Cloud and information heart migrations and assist for brand spanking new operational frameworks are anticipated to reinforce by ~70%, and ~65%, respectively.*11

For steerage on choosing the proper instrument or service on your undertaking, try our data-driven lists of software-defined perimeter (SDP) software program and zero belief networking software program.

Additional Studying

  1. Cloud Safety Report.” (PDF). Fortinet. 2023. Retrieved December 20, 2023.
  2. The Fact About Micro-Segmentation”. Illumio. Retrieved December 20, 2023.

  3. Evaluating community segmentation vs. microsegmentation”. TechTarget. 2023. Retrieved December 20, 2023.
  4. What Is Microsegmentation?”. Huawei. October 22, 2021. Retrieved December 20, 2023.
  5. What Is Micro-Segmentation?”. Wallarm. 2023. Retrieved December 20, 2023.
  6. Market Information for Microsegmentation” (PDF). Gartner. June 12, 2023. Retrieved December 21, 2023.
  7. Market Information for Microsegmentation” (PDF). Gartner. June 12, 2023. Retrieved December 21, 2023.
  8. Market Information for Microsegmentation” (PDF). Gartner. June 12, 2023. Retrieved December 21, 2023.
  9. Impartial Examine Reveals Organizations Turning to Zero Belief Methods in 2022 Amid Cloud and Community Safety Publicity”. Illumio. February 2, 2022. Retrieved December 21, 2023.
  10. Impartial Examine Reveals Organizations Turning to Zero Belief Methods in 2022 Amid Cloud and Community Safety Publicity”. Illumio. February 2, 2022. Retrieved December 21, 2023.
  11. Impartial Examine Reveals Organizations Turning to Zero Belief Methods in 2022 Amid Cloud and Community Safety Publicity”. Illumio. February 2, 2022. Retrieved December 21, 2023.