Gartner Report: Technology Insight for Microsegmentation

 Author(s): , Posted on October 25th, 2017

Today’s security teams struggle to come up with new strategies to fend off advanced attacks levelled against their increasingly interconnected networks. The most recent attacks such as the crippling WannaCry and NotPetya ransomware have highlighted the level of sophistication of new cyberattacks. Here at Unisys, we have often discussed how the current approach to network security, built upon strong perimeter defenses, are failing to keep pace with today’s constantly evolving information sharing and threat landscape.

Gartner recently released a report titled Technology Insight for Microsegmentation, which highlights the importance of microsegmentation, software defined networking (SDN), to help improve an organization’s resilience to advanced attacks.

Gartner describes microsegmentation as “the process of implementing isolation and segmentation for security purposes within the virtual data center. Microsegementation has been used to describe mostly the east-west or lateral communication between servers in the same tier or zone, but it was evolved to be used for most of communication in virtual data centers now. Enterprises have had security architecture principles based on defense in depth (i.e., having several hurdles an attack must traverse) and least privileges (i.e., only access to what is required and no more) that gave us three-tier web applications and protected data servers. Microsegmentation is the same security architecture, but with implementation changes that acknowledge the risk impacts that dynamic virtualization, infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and changes in server communications bring with them.”

Interestingly, a key finding of the report highlights microsegementation as one of the top three inquiry topics for Gartner clients regarding cloud security. “Gartner client inquiry clearly indicates that no two enterprises have identical needs for segmentation. The possible combinations of technology, compliance, regulations, operational practices, workflow, data sensitivity, geography, and tolerance for risk are manifold….This does not mean that microsegmentation is unsolvable; instead it means that the best approach is to identify the right microsegmentation model for your data center before moving to any architectural or product selection steps.”

However, security and risk management leaders are faced with what appears to be an infinitely complex array of technology and architectural choices. The risk of course is in adopting the wrong microsegmentation model for your enterprise. Ultimately your microsegmentaiton model must align with the strategic IT goals of the enterprise.

In this report, Gartner outlines four distinct models of microsegmentation to choose from such as native cloud controls and third-party firewalls, and the evaluation factors to assist in making that decision.

As part of conducting a successful segmentation initiative, you can now identify your enterprise’s microsegmentation requirements using the evaluation factors provided in this report. By selecting the model that best secures the architectural and delivery realities of how your data center operates, you can avoid the pitfalls of a mismatch of security and operations.

The report highlights three key findings:

  • Microsegmentation is one of the top three inquiry topics for Gartner clients regarding cloud security
  • There are four general architectural models for microsegmentation for security.
  • There are clearly defined evaluation factors for selecting which model is right for your enterprise

You can download the full report here.

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About the Author

Mark Alba is Vice President of Product Marketing at Unisys, joining the company in May 2017. Mark has 20 years of experience building, managing and marketing disruptive products and services. Read all Posts

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