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Friday, Aug 26, 2016

Leveraging Network Segmentation & Cross Domain Solution Government Security Best Practices

Network Segmentation, or Network Isolation, is the practice of separating high-value networks – networks that contain data such as national intelligence, personal information (PII), health records, or intellectual property (IP) – from less sensitive networks and from the open Internet. This physical network and data separation has long been a security best practice for US and International government agencies that are charged with protecting some of the most sensitive data.

As noted by Forcepoint’s Principal Security Analyst Carl Leonard in his blog comparing this year's Black Hat to last, the commercial sector – particularly Finance and Healthcare – are also starting to evaluate this best practice to help protect their sensitive information and networks.

With the increase in attacks on government agencies and commercial entities from rogue actors and nation states alike, no longer are strict security practices the realm of intelligence and defense communities. Our global economies and security apparatus are interconnected and deserve – or more accurately, require – the highest degree of protection available. In a presentation at our Black Hat booth, Forcepoint Sales Engineer Randy Hill shared his thoughts on how the private sector can apply this security best practice.

Moving away from flat, interconnected networks first requires identifying where the most sensitive networks/data reside, using it as a guide to physically separate networks from each other. The most critical networks should be far and away from less restrictive access points.

But separating networks is only the first step. User access must also be segmented by roles and responsibilities. However, a recent Forcepoint™ and Ponemon Institute survey revealed a majority of commercial and federal IT operations and security managers believe that user access often extends beyond what’s needed. 70 percent of both groups surveyed thought it “very likely” or “likely” that privileged users believe they are empowered to access all the information they can view. Increasingly, malicious insiders target privileged users to obtain their access rights, so it's no surprise then that those surveyed also expect insider threats to continue to remain an issue. This is especially concerning as damage caused by hijacked privileged user credentials is the most extensive, the hardest to mitigate and the most difficult to detect.

Thankfully, security technologies and best practice techniques like Network Segmentation and user access rights ensure that even if the attacker gets through the front door, they can’t get very far easily.

For more information on Network Segmentation as a best practice, read our whitepaper Safeguarding Organizations through Network Segmentation. To discover how agencies and organizations alike can improve usability and productivity – without compromising security – through the use of cross domain, multi-level/multi-network solutions like Trusted Thin Client, Trusted Gateway System and High Speed Guard, visit us at Forcepoint.


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