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Businesses that offer WiFi to their customers or have sensitive data needs should consider network segmentation as a necessary component of their IT solution.
With network segmentation, your wireless services are separated into different parts, allowing you to better control access and data flow.
Network segmentation splits your wireless services into different segments or subnetworks. By establishing separate networks, you significantly reduce your company’s security risks.
Instead of putting all your corporate and guest traffic on the same WiFi network, segment the activity to keep sensitive data apart from visitors, reduce risk.
When devices are connected to the same network, by default they can “talk” to other devices on the same network. That increases the potential for devices to listen to network traffic without any rules or monitoring in place.
The risk is lower if all the devices on your network are trusted and managed by your company. However, you could have a problem when less trustworthy devices are connected, such as guest and visitor smartphones, legacy computers and servers, or employee personal devices.
Network segments are designed with their own hardware and only allow credentialed users to access the services. Rules are built into network configurations to determine how devices on subnetworks can connect with each other.
Network segmentation limits the impact if there is a system intrusion by containing the threat within a subnetwork.
For many small- and medium-sized businesses, there is only a need for a simple, two-subnetwork structure. A corporate subnetwork would be used for company-owned and -managed devices, providing access to the internal company subnetwork and, through a firewall, to the internet.
A guest subnetwork would be built to provide access to the internet only, also through a firewall. It keeps those guest devices disconnected from the corporate subnetwork from the start. Employee-owned devices can also be connected to a guest subnetwork.
Your business, whether it’s a medical practice, retail operation, auto dealership or professional services firm, may want visitors and guests to have WiFi access. It’s an appreciated service for those who need connectivity and do not want to use up their allotted data. If that service is the expectation or norm, you want to make sure it’s done carefully.
Security is the primary reason to choose network segmentation. The benefits are considerable
If your internal IT staff does not have experience with network configuration, it’s a smart move to work with a local managed services provider to complete the project. Your business should do the following in preparation for a segmentation project:
Network segmentation is a strategic move to keep data protected and accessible only by those who need it.
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