A security zone is the part of a network that defines specific policies and protocols to keep the entire network threat-free. The components of a security zone may have limited access to other parts of the internal network to prevent unauthorized access.

You can think of a security zone as parts of your home that only specific family members can enter. You can disallow helpers and your kids to enter your home office, for instance. Security zones can refer to executives’ offices and the HR department’s document storage room in an office. They should be closed off to all other employees because they may contain confidential files that no one else should see.

Security zones come in various types and have different uses, which will be discussed in greater detail in the succeeding sections. We’ll also tackle some policies applied to security zones.

Other interesting terms…

Read More about a Security Zone

As mentioned above, there are several types of security zones, and each one has a specific purpose.

What Are the Types of Security Zones?

Different strokes for different folks. That adage is true for security zones, too.

Uncontrolled Zone

An uncontrolled zone is publicly accessible, such as the Internet. No single entity has control over it, so it is often deemed untrustworthy. It can pose significant security risks due to the limited hold that any organization can exert on it.

Controlled Zone

An example of a controlled zone is a company’s intranet or demilitarized zone (DMZ).

An intranet is an organization’s internal network that is typically hidden behind one or more firewalls. It has medium-level restrictions and specific controls in place to monitor network traffic. Intranet users could, for instance, be limited to accessing certain websites from their workstations.

Like an intranet, a DMZ is a subnetwork of an organization’s network. A DMZ allows users to access an uncontrolled zone like the Internet, but those outside the company can’t access the internal network.

Comparatively, intranets have more protections in place than DMZs.

Restricted Zone

A restricted zone is highly controlled. That means users can’t access any untrusted zones when in it. Such a zone can house strictly confidential data and systems. It has the highest level of security. Traffic coming from and going to it is monitored and controlled heavily.

You can think of the security zone types as levels in a sense. An uncontrolled zone would have the lowest restrictions, while a restricted zone would have the highest. In our home example earlier, the uncontrolled zone would be everything outside it. The restricted zone would be rooms that outsiders aren’t allowed to enter. Finally, the restricted zone could be a safe where vital documents, jewels, and money are stored.

What Are Security Zones For?

One primary reason for creating security zones is to simplify policies. That is especially useful for organizations that don’t have a dedicated cybersecurity team. Dividing the network into zones simplifies policy implementation. The network administrator can apply the same rule to many zones if needed.

Another reason for using security zones is to simplify adding systems to specific parts of the network without changing existing rules. The same rules that apply to the devices in a particular zone should work in all additions.

How Can You Protect a Security Zone?

Protecting security zones requires the use of zone filtering policies. These policies differ in terms of the zones they’re meant to secure. Security zones can limit traffic coming from the Internet into any part of the network using an outside-to-inside security policy. Companies typically employ this zone filtering policy to prevent company outsiders from accessing any system or application inside its network. Applying this zone filtering policy is quite normal for organizations that rely on traffic filtering for cybersecurity.

Security zones, as this post showed, are a means to make enforcing security policies a breeze. They also tighten the security within corporate networks.

Key Takeaways