How Do They Work, and Why Are They Important to Cybersecurity?

IDS and IPS systems are important factors in any network. They work in tandem to keep bad actors out of your personal or corporate networks.

IDS systems only look for suspicious network traffic and compare it against a database of known threats. If suspicious behaviors are similar to known threats on the database, the Intrusion Detection System flags the traffic. IDS systems do not operate on their own. They require a human or application to monitor scan results and then take action.

IPS systems work proactively to keep threats out of the system. The Intrusion Prevention System accepts and rejects network packets based on a specified rule set. The process is simple. If packets are suspicious and go against a specified ruleset, the IPS rejects them. This ensures the traffic doesn’t reach the network. IPS systems also require a database that is consistently updated with new threat profiles.

While the two systems seem similar in name and operation, they have a few differences.