What is Identity Segmentation?

What is Identity Segmentation

Reducing the Attack Surface

Identity Segmentation – Healthcare IT and security teams can substantially lower their attack surface by employing identity-based microsegmentation, an integral element of zero trust protection which allows organizations to implement frictionless authentication across all identities.

Identity-based microsegmentation supports the zero trust model by evaluating devices and users based on dynamic attributes rather than fixed network locations. This granularity helps mitigate data breaches and other cyber risks by restricting how hackers gain access to systems.

What is Identity Segmentation?

Identity segmentation, also known as identity-based microsegmentation, is an advanced cybersecurity technique that goes beyond network-centric approaches. Using risk-based policies to restrict resources based on workforce identities rather than device and application IP addresses helps decrease attack surfaces while improving security posture while providing IT with greater agility.

Healthcare organizations typically utilize multiple devices – from desktop computers and mobile phones to tablets, virtual apps and cloud services – in their daily operations. Identity-based microsegmentation was designed specifically to accommodate these diverse environments by adhering to the zero trust model – validating each device, app or user prior to being granted access.

IT teams using IT Asset Protection solutions are equipped to address some of the biggest cybersecurity threats, including ransomware, credential harvesting, lateral movement and unauthorised data access. Furthermore, they ensure compliance with regulations such as GDPR and HIPAA by lowering breach risks; furthermore providing workers only the data and functions they require in order to complete their jobs successfully.

Understanding Identity Segmentation

To protect your organization’s network from identity-based attacks, identity-based microsegmentation offers the most efficient solution. This approach better meets modern business security requirements than network-centric techniques like IP address blocking or firewall rules.

Identity segmentation ensures that, should an attacker gain access to either a user account or service account, they cannot increase privileges or gain access to other applications not intended for them, thus significantly reducing the attack surface and helping ward off threats like ransomware and other forms of cybercrime that leverage stolen credentials.

Identity-based microsegmentation provides organizations with granular audit and compliance capabilities necessary for meeting stringent industry regulations such as GDPR and HIPAA. By tracking who accesses which resources on an IT network, this technique enables organizations to enforce zero trust policies that limit potential threats from compromised workloads spreading laterally across their network. Elisity provides identity-based microsegmentation using existing access layer switching infrastructure with non-disruptive deployment and quick time-to-value.

Importance of Identity Segmentation

Identity-based microsegmentation differs from network segmentation in that it utilizes users and devices’ identities to grant or deny them access to applications. This approach helps cybersecurity teams enforce risk-based policies that reduce attack surface, making security simpler for employees.

A healthcare organization with multiple workflows and use cases could benefit from identity-based microsegmentation to ensure doctors and nurses have appropriate levels of access to sensitive data. They could implement role-based access controls (RBAC) or attribute-based access control (ABAC), which ensure NERC CIP compliance while protecting against cyberattacks that target identities as well as providing seamless multi-factor authentication solutions for employees.

Identity-based microsegmentation can help address the dynamic threat environment by providing more granular protections for users, apps, and devices, which is especially crucial in an ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape. Furthermore, its flexibility makes it suitable for modern work environments embracing BYOD and cloud applications; using its Identity Graph technology it enables organizations to understand all facets of an individual’s online identity, including devices and email accounts, for truly omnichannel support.

Identity Segmentation & Identity Segmentation

As applications become more complex and process more sensitive data, granular identity segmentation becomes a crucial element of security and functionality. Segmenting software identities ensures that every piece of an application only communicates with those pieces it was meant to interact with – this allows auditing, helps meet compliance requirements such as GDPR or HIPAA compliance, improves user experience and provides audit trails.

Traditional network segmentation solutions rely on IP-based rules, VLANs and hardware firewall appliances, but these don’t offer enough visibility and agility to deal with today’s threats; furthermore they lack the capability to protect against advanced attacks such as lateral movement, worming and ransomware.

Healthcare organizations need a zero trust strategy that incorporates identity-based microsegmentation to defend against increasing threats. Download this white paper to learn about this method for improving security posture; identity-based microsegmentation will allow healthcare organizations to address rising threat landscape and protect themselves against malware attacks that exploit identity vulnerabilities.

Types of Identity-Based Attacks

Attackers aim to exploit security gaps in identity systems to gain unauthorized access and manipulate data. They employ various means for infiltrating networks and stealing credentials, including brute force password-spraying. Once inside, attackers can alter or delete information, encrypt files, disrupt operations or pose as users to gain access to sensitive data that requires ransom payments.

Identity-based attacks often go undetected for long, allowing attackers to infiltrate the network undetected and gain access to sensitive data without being detected, potentially leading to financial loss, reputational harm and business disruption.

Organizations need to implement identity-based microsegmentation to safeguard themselves against these threats, which differs from traditional network segmentation in that it uses granular identity attributes for access control rather than one perimeter. This approach can improve visibility, limit lateral movement and help ward off advanced cyberattacks while improving user experience – but remember it must balance between security and user experience when starting out; organizations should begin small by testing microsegmentation in noncritical and test environments first to make sure security policies do not negatively affect performance.

The Importance of Identity Segmentation

Identity-based microsegmentation is an essential element of a zero trust security framework. It uses risk-based policies to restrict application and resource access based on workforce identities, with the ultimate aim of moving perimeter security closer to users as the last line of defense; thus reducing attack surfaces and protecting against advanced attacks like ransomware, credential harvesting, etc.

Improve visibility into applications and their network dependencies and enable teams to write security policies without needing to understand complex networking engineering. With granular identity verification, auditing who accessed what when is made easier – an essential requirement of compliance regulations such as GDPR, HIPAA and PCI DSS.

Last but not least, credential management is key in eliminating blind spots by ensuring no one can bypass security posture using exploitable or malicious credentials, thus cutting off attackers from spreading and furthering their attack across lateral movements. This helps reduce time to detection and containment – especially since on average it takes an average of 280 days for companies to detect and respond to breaches.

Reducing Cybersecurity Challenges

Organizations need to implement security best practices that focus on protecting each device or user on an individual basis, with identity-based microsegmentation becoming an effective alternative to physical or virtual perimeters with access restricted based on IP addresses, zones or users.

Identity-based microsegmentation gives IT and security teams visibility into their entire network environment, and allows them to reduce attack surfaces by restricting access to assets based on individual device or user characteristics, including risk-based multi-factor authentication (MFA).

Identity-based microsegmentation also protects against man-in-the-middle attacks by verifying every connection is with its intended target, through real-time device and software identities such as SHA256 hashes or UUIDs. This enables IT and security personnel to prevent applications from communicating between each other to stop any lateral movement within an organization and only certain configurations of applications can access sensitive data – this provides a more secure alternative than firewall rules that allow attacks through without detection.

Final Thoughts

Network segmentation is not only an essential cybersecurity best practice but a requirement as well. It impedes ransomware attacks from spreading laterally across networks after breaching an individual endpoint device, and should be deployed alongside Zero Trust technology and other measures for an all-encompassing Zero Trust architecture.

Identity resolution is at the core of Zero Trust and microsegmentation strategies. Most off-the-shelf customer communication tools rely on one identifier (typically an email address hash) to create profiles across websites, mobile apps, cloud services and third party touch points; however this approach can be vulnerable since email addresses change with time.

IT teams that use an identity-based microsegmentation strategy can close more than 90% of pathways currently open without impacting desired traffic, significantly decreasing an attack surface. Now is not too late to add identity-based microsegmentation to their list of security projects for 2018, as this project can significantly enhance current tools while simultaneously increasing cybersecurity teams’ responsiveness against digital attacks.

Sam is an experienced information security specialist who works with enterprises to mature and improve their enterprise security programs. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.