IDS vs IPS: Similarities and differences

An IDS and an IPS are quite similar, particularly because of their similar detection process. However, their differences will dictate whether an organization opts for one over the other.

IDS vs IPS: Similarities and differences

IDS vs IPS: Similarities and differences

An IDS and an IPS are quite similar, particularly because of their similar detection process. However, their differences will dictate whether an organization opts for one over the other.

IDS and IPS similarities

Across the two solutions, you can expect a similar level of:

  • Monitoring: Both systems monitor networks, traffic, and activity across devices and servers, varying only in how targeted or broad their capabilities are.
  • Alerting: Upon discovering a potential threat, only an IPS will take the next required step but both solutions first alert you to the discovery and associated action.
  • Learning: Depending on the detection system used by either an IPS or IDS system, both will likely learn to spot suspicious behaviors and minimize false positives.
  • Logging: Both systems will keep an account of what’s monitored and what action has been taken, so you can review performance accordingly.

IDS and IPS differences

Depending on how resourced your security team is, the differences between the systems can be very important:

  • Response: This is the most important difference between the two systems. An IDS will stop at the detection phase, leaving you and your department free to decide what action to take. An IPS, depending on the settings and policy, will take action to try and contain the threat or prevent unauthorized users from embedding themselves further into your network.
  • Protection: Because of the differences listed above, an IPS does offer more protection because it acts automatically, leaving little time for an attacker to continue compromising an organization.
  • Impact: As a side effect of that automation, false positives may negatively impact your organization. An IPS may shut down your network or stop traffic to and from a certain device in the name of precaution and security — even if the threat didn’t require such drastic action (or the alert was a false positive).