What is an Intrusion Prevention System (IPS)?

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Intrusion Prevention System (IPS)?

Modern organizations have to deal with a lot of threats, such as never-ending competition, maintaining a quality operation for their customers, and whatnot.

Add in the added risk of cybersecurity threats and running an organization can almost become one’s nightmare. In the recent few years, we often come across news of business.

In the recent few years, cyberattacks on businesses have increased significantly. This makes business executives wonder ‘how to protect my business against cyberattacks?’

This protection is what Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) are all about. In this article, we will study these systems in detail. You will find out what these are, why are they important, and how to set one up for your business.

Without any delay, let us dive into the heart of the matter right away:

What is an Intrusion Prevention System

An Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) is a technology setup that protects an IT network from threats and malicious activities. It not only identifies incoming threats and network attacks but also reports these activities and blocks them before they can do any harm.

How do Intrusion Prevention Systems Work

Intrusion Prevention Systems follow a three-step approach for protecting networks and systems against threats and malicious activities. The three tasks that IPS handles are:

Detect:

It is very important for the IPS to detect any network threat before the threat can damage or compromise the devices on the network.

Act:

Once the threat has been detected, IPS should be able to rectify the threat and prevent it from penetrating into a system’s security.

Report:

Network administrators need to know about the threats they are facing, so they can optimize their security accordingly. Therefore, IPS should provide reports with logs and details of every threat.

Check Cost of Deployment of IPS

What is IDS?

IDS stands for Intrusion Detection System. It is a simple technology that aims to alert the system administrator if there is a network threat or an attack on the system.

Are IPS and IDS the same?

Many business administrators and even some cybersecurity professionals are confused between the Intrusion Prevention System and Intrusion Detection System (IDS). People use the two terminologies interchangeably, mistakenly believing that they are the same thing.

However, these two are very different technologies, and the main difference lies in the actions they take. While the initial aspect of both IPS and IDS is detecting a threat, they react to the threat very differently.

Detecting the threat is just a part of the job for IPS. IPS aims to automatically block the threat once it is detected. It does not require any human assistance during the instance the threat occurs.

However, the aim of IDS is only threat detection, it does not take any action to block the threat itself. Once the threat is detected, IDS instructs the authority in charge about the threat, and that person does the work of blocking the threat.

As is obvious, IPS is the better choice since it does a better job of protecting you. Additionally, IDS is an inbuilt part of IPS, with simply better features.

How to set up an Intrusion Prevention System (IPS)?

Setting up IPS security isn’t as difficult or complex as you might have imagined. In order to set up an Intrusion Prevention System for your workplace, follow the steps given below:

Step 1: Identification

The first thing to do is to answer the question ‘Does my business need an Intrusion Prevention System?’ Many business executives are unsure about whether or not they need an intrusion prevention system for their business.

If your business uses any computer system in any way or handles customers’ private data, you definitely need an Intrusion Prevention System. If you are still unsure of whether you need it or not, you can directly move to Step 2.

Step 2: Consultation

Unless you are a cybersecurity pro, you will need third-party expertise. Tekkis is one of the biggest cybersecurity service providers in the US. The best part is that you can get a free consultation.

Based on the consultation, you can learn if your current business setup requires IPS. If it does, you can go ahead and ask Tekkis to do it for you. Even if you do not wish to proceed with getting the IPS, the consultation session is still free so we would recommend trying it out.

Step 3: Follow-up

Unlike IDS, IPS does not require you to be on constant alert to fix security threats. If there is a threat, IPS can take care of it automatically.

All that is required of you as a network administrator is to follow the instructions provided by Tekkis or the cybersecurity service you are using. These instructions are simple procedures, such as regular reviews of the threat report compiled by the IPS.

Importance of Intrusion Prevention System (IPS)

There are many reasons that make Intrusion Prevention Systems not only beneficial but, in fact, quite mandatory for almost all businesses.

First of all, modern businesses have such a vast amount of incoming and outgoing data that it becomes impossible to monitor the network traffic manually.

Not just that, but businesses in the US are facing daily network threats that are becoming more and more complex. No ordinary antivirus or firewall application is sufficient to provide security from these threats.

Therefore, an Intrusion Protection System is the only way to combat these risks. Since it is an automated, preprogrammed security software, there is no constant manual monitoring required.

Different Ways of Intrusion Detection

Detecting the threat that attacks a system can be done in various different ways in an IPS. Some of these ways include:

Signature-based Detection:

Signature-based detection relies on identifying the signatures of already identified network attacks. Any attack that occurs through viruses or malware has a particular signature, similar to how human cells have DNA. Signature-based detection works by identifying the intrusions based on their DNA.

Anomaly-based Detection:

While signature-based detection works on identifying familiar threats, anomaly-based detection works on the opposite criteria. In anomaly-based detection, threats are identified based on strange, abnormal, and unexpected behavior.

Policy-based Detection:

Policy-based attacks are detected based on the specific policy of the organization. If any event occurs in the network infrastructure that violates the company’s policy, policy-based detection springs into action and alerts the network admins.

What are the Different Types of Intrusion Prevention Systems

Intrusion Prevention Systems are divided into four types based upon their scope and method of deployment. These types are:

Host-based Intrusion Prevention System:

A host-based IPS works on a single host to prevent it from threats and intrusions. This type of IPS aims to protect the internal network of an organization by analyzing the traffic that flows through a particular host. Since the scope of this IPS is limited to a single host, it keeps that host very secure and protected, more than any other alternative.

A major disadvantage of this type of IPS is that it does not work against threats on any other host in the network. Additionally, it never scans any network traffic that does not include the host on which it is deployed.

Wireless Intrusion Prevention System:

The majority of network traffic nowadays flows through wireless mediums instead of wired LAN cables. Wireless Intrusion Prevention System works to analyze and protect against any threats that can occur on wireless networks.

Wireless signals are omnidirectional and receivable by anyone even without physical access to the router. This is why these signals require even more protection than wired alternatives, which need a physical connection via a cable.

When a Wireless IPS finds a malicious data packet on the wireless network, it blocks that packet rightaway and prevents its further injection into the network.

Network-based Intrusion Prevention System:

Network-based Intrusion Prevention Systems are deployed such that they scan the entire network of an organization. When a threat such as malware is detected across any point in the network, the Network-based IPS will block the threat and protect the system until the exploit is patched.

Network-based Intrusion Prevention Systems can work in tandem with network scanning applications, increasing their vision manifold.

Network Behaviour Analysis:

On the surface, Network Behavior Analysis feels similar to Network-based Intrusion Prevention System. However, the working of the two is quite different.

Network Behaviour Analysis IPS constantly monitors the network traffic of a system. If there is any unusual activity in the traffic, the Network Behaviour Analysis IPS instantly blocks the suspicious network packets.

These types of IPS are usually deployed for blocking Denials of Service (DoS) attacks on a system.

Endnotes

An Intrusion Prevention System is not just a luxury but a necessity in this day and age where a majority of business workflow takes place digitally. These systems are a must if you want to protect your precious customer data and your insider secrets.

The type of IPS you use depends on the current network structure of your organization as well as the scope of protection that you require. For a better understanding of which IPS is best suited for your business, you can schedule a free consultation with Tekkis.

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