Network Segmentation as a Ransomware Mitigation Strategy

  Greg LaBrie     May 24, 2016

network-segmentation-ransomware.jpgAt WEI we are always looking for new and comprehensive solutions to meet our customers’ changing security needs. According to Symantec’s 2015 Internet Threat Report, the number of ransomware attacks by cyber criminals more than doubled between 2013 and 2014. What can businesses do to avoid this? One piece of your comprehensive security puzzle should be to focus on network segmentation.

Using Network Segmentation to Manage Threats

Peter Gasca from Entrepreneur recently highlighted this approach in his article, How Network Segmentation Can Help Entrepreneurs Manage Ransomware Risks.

Following a ransomware hack at his child’s elementary school, Gasca sought strategies and tactics companies can take to protect themselves from this increasingly common security threat. Here is our advice from his article:

"As an additional prevention, every enterprise [should] consider how to contain, rather than just prevent, a ransomware breach with network segmentation in addition to other strategies.

In part, network segmentation limits the volume of resources that an attacker can access by logically grouping network assets, resources and applications together into compartmentalized areas called segments and allowing only approved types of communication in and out of the segment. Segments that are physically separated from other segments and have no established link to allow interaction are known as segregated.

For example, devices involved with financial transactions should be fully segregated both logically and physically from devices that can surf the web. The objective with security-minded network segmentation is to ensure that attackers have access to as few digital resources as possible. This technique will also help contain the potential damage from other types of cyberattacks.

Since departments and teams have different access needs, an enterprise should divide a network into segments and then control each segment’s communication to the outside world. In addition, the enterprise should control communication between segments of the same network. With limited access between segments, an attacker’s movement to another segment is either stopped or slowed enough to allow monitoring tools to alert enterprise staff to the intrusion before massive harm is done.”

To read Peter Gasca’s full article on Entrepreneur, click here.

There are some gray areas around network segmentation. We have seen that IT managers think parts of the network are isolated from each other, until a breach occurs and it becomes evident that true network segmentation was not in place. Ensuring those who are in charge of managing the networking strategy have a strong knowledgebase in network security strategies, tactics, and best practices. As you can see, containing and controlling the spread of a ransomware attack is just as important as preventing it in the first place. For advice on securing your network, assessing your current security landscape or protecting your company’s sensitive data, sign up for our free Security and Threat Prevention Assessment today.

Tags  ransomware cyber security Networking IT Security

Greg LaBrie

Written by Greg LaBrie

Greg LaBrie has more than twenty years of network architecture and engineering experience designing networks that exceed technical requirements, improve operational proficiency and reduce total costs of ownership. As the Director of Technology Solutions for WEI, Greg is responsible for building WEI practices in the areas of Data Center Infrastructure, Storage, Backup & Recovery, Networking & Security and Cloud & Virtualization. Greg holds a number of technical certifications for HPE, Cisco, Fortinet, and much more.

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