IDS and IPS systems are essential tools for organizations that want to identify threats quickly and efficiently. They protect data and help with compliance to meet stringent regulatory directives.
They can also increase efficiency for other security controls by filtering out malicious traffic and eliminating false positives. However, they require a high level of knowledge and expertise to manage effectively.
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As its name implies, an IPS detects threats on the network and prevents those threats from accessing your organization’s information. On the other hand, an IDS monitors networks to recognize suspicious activity and alert users to that behavior.
IDS programs typically sit in line between your network and the outside world, analyzing each network packet that enters or exits for signs of malicious activity. This means that they can help to protect the privacy of your customers and employees.
Whether IDS vs IPS solution is the right fit for your business will depend on several factors. Generally speaking, an IPS is better suited for larger organizations and those looking to act against detected threats proactively.
An IPS can automatically block connections or activities deemed risky, which helps reduce the manual work required by network administrators. This is a significant benefit given the time it can save businesses responding to and remediating security incidents.
Some IDS solutions use signature-based detection to identify attacks and suspicious behavior by looking for known indicators such as file hashes, malicious byte sequences, or even email subject lines associated with phishing attacks. However, these systems may be prone to false positives and are less effective for new threats that don’t fit an existing pattern.
Eliminating False Positives
A cybersecurity team’s capacity can be exhausted by chasing too many false alerts. This wastes valuable time and attention that could be spent addressing real threats. It also distracts from developing and deploying more efficient security measures.
One big issue is that SOC teams need a clearer understanding of what an accurate indicator of compromise looks like in their environment, explains John Bambenek of Netenrich. This is the root cause of most false alarms. For example, the presence of Tor on a network can indicate compromise, but it is not necessarily because someone is trying to attack a company or its users.
Additionally, it is important to avoid feeding too much data into detection engines. This can cause false positives by burying valid indicators and falsely flagging benign information.
FIs that are too overzealous in their approach to fraud prevention can draw the attention of government regulators and be subjected to hefty penalties. They can also damage customer relationships, hinder financial transactions, and expose sensitive information to criminal activity. Similarly, those that are too lax can miss attacks and enable fraudulent behavior.
Businesses can gain visibility into their internal network by leveraging IDS and IPS. Detection of vulnerabilities and threats allows companies to take action to prevent cyberattacks, protect sensitive information, and withhold customers’ trust. This will improve business resilience, maintain compliance with HIPAA and PCI DSS regulations, and help ensure their organization’s profitable and secure future.
Detecting Malicious Activity
IDS and IPS work in real time to inspect every data packet that enters and exits networks, which makes them an ideal tool for detecting cyberattacks as they happen. They’ll alert a network or website admin when they see suspicious activity, reducing the time attackers must exploit systems before they’re detected.
Unlike IDS, an IPS system takes preventative action to combat threats. This means it can block the intruder from accessing specific networks and devices or, in extreme cases, shut down the entire network or application. This is a decisive benefit that can help organizations protect their data, meet compliance standards and thwart future attacks, primarily when no human admins can act quickly.
The specific actions IPS solutions take to fight threats are determined by the software they run. Some use signature-based detection, which scans data packets for fingerprints of known threats and malware (such as checking file hashes or traffic going to malicious domains). Other tools rely on anomaly-based detection, which monitors data packets for abnormal behavior patterns. These can include scanning for byte sequences that are common in phishing attacks or trying to connect to IP addresses on blocklists.
When it comes to choosing an IDS or IPS, it depends on the unique needs of your business. You should carefully consider your security requirements and the threats you face to find an ideal solution.
While IDS effectively detects incoming threats, an IPS solution goes one step further. When it detects a cyberattack, an IPS will take preventative action to block and restrict whoever it considers a threat. This automated response makes it a more effective way to protect the company network against a wide range of cyberattacks.
In addition to recognizing nefarious activity, an IPS can identify insiders attempting to harm the company. The software can read the information in an IP packet and determine whether the attacker uses a fake address. It can then alert the security team to this issue.
The best IDS and IPS solutions are configured to work together. Combined, they can have a lower rate of false positives and provide more detailed reporting on what it has seen. This helps the security department to shape its cybersecurity strategy and ensures compliance with various regulatory bodies. It can even help a business identify bugs in its system and correct them before they become significant problems. Depending on the type of solution, an IDS or IPS can close sessions, shut down servers, or take other similar actions to prevent hackers from embedding themselves in the business network. This can prevent data breaches and further damage to the company’s reputation.