IDS vs IPS: 2 Important Services and Their Key Differences



IDS vs IPS Systems enhance application security practices that help mitigate attacks and block emerging threats.

Intrusion detection systems provide a reactive measure that identifies ongoing attacks using an intrusion detection system. IDS can weed out existing malware, including Trojans and backdoors, and detect social engineering activities, like phishing, which trick users into revealing sensitive information.

Intrusion prevention systems (IPS) use an intrusion prevention system to block application attacks on a network or development environment. Including remote file inclusions that help facilitate malware and SQL injections that access enterprise databases.

What is an Intrusion Detection System

An Intrusion Detection System uses known intrusion signatures to detect and analyze both inbound and outbound network traffic for abnormal activities. Once a security policy violation, virus, or configuration error gets detected, the system can exclude an offending user from the network and alert administrative security.

An IDS only flags ongoing attacks, not incoming assaults on the network. Thus, to block these, businesses need an intrusion prevention system.

What is an Intrusion Prevention System (IPS)?

An Intrusion Prevention System complements Intrusion Detection System configurations by inspecting incoming traffic and weeding out suspicious requests. IPS uses web application firewalls and traffic filtering tools to enhance the security of applications.

IPS is effective at blocking known attack modes

IPS prevents network attacks by eliminating suspicious data packets, blocking malicious IP Addresses, and alerting administrative security to potential attacks. The system uses an existing database for signature recognition. Users can also program Intrusion Prevention Systems to identify network attacks by scanning traffic and anomalies in behavior.

IDS vs IPS: How Do They Work?

Intrusion Detection and Intrusion Prevention Systems are both critical parts of network infrastructure. The two solutions compare network packets to a cyber threat database with registered signatures of cyberattacks, flagging all matching packets.

The fundamental difference with IDS vs. IPS is that the Intrusion Detection system focuses on monitoring the network and not changing network packets. Intrusion Prevention provides a control system that prevents data packets from being delivered depending on the contents.

IPS works similar to how a firewall prevents traffic by blocking IP addresses

  • Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS): Focus on network analysis and monitoring traffic for attacks that try to use a known cyberthreat to infiltrate a business network. The system compares ongoing network activity to registered threats in a database to detect behaviors like security policy violations, port scanners, and malware.
  • Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS): Operate in the same network capacity as a firewall, managing interactions between the outside incoming traffic and the internal network. Intrusion prevention proactively denies network traffic using security profiles.

IDS vs. IPS service providers integrate modern IPS systems with firewalls to create Unified Threat Management technology, which combines the functionality of both systems into a unit.

Differences Between Intrusion Detection and Prevention System

Both Intrusion Detection and Intrusion Prevention Systems scan network packets and compare contents with a database of registered attacks. The primary difference between them is that IDS are detection and monitoring tools, but they don’t take action. IPS provides a control system that accepts or rejects packets based on set rules.

Intrusion Detection Systems require third-party intervention to look at the results and determine the following action to take. IDS makes a tremendous forensic tool for use as part of security incident investigations.

The primary purpose of IPS is to catch suspicious data packets and eliminate them before they reach their target.

Key Emphasis: IDS vs. IPS are only as efficient and effective as the cyberattack databases they run on. It is crucial that they remain updated and prepared for manual adjustments when a new attack breaks out or an attack signature is not in the database.

IDS, IPS, and Cybersecurity

Security teams continue to face a growing threat of database breaches and compliance fines. They also struggle with budget limitations and corporate politics. Intrusion Detection and Intrusion Prevention Systems technology covers specific and essential jobs of a cybersecurity strategy:

  • Automation: IDS and IPS are primarily hands-off systems, making them ideal for current security stack management practices. Intrusion prevention ensures that the network remains protected from known threats using limited resources.
  • Compliance: Proper compliance requires investment in technologies and systems that protect data. Implementing a secure IDS and IPS solution checks off a box on the compliance sheet and addresses several CIS Security controls.

Data auditing presents a valuable component of compliance checks.

  • Policy Enforcement: Intrusion Detection Systems and Intrusion Prevention Systems can get configured to help enforce internal security policies on a network. For example, you can use Intrusion Prevention to block other VPN traffic if your network only supports one VPN.

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