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Understanding IPS: Meaning And Significance

Understanding IPS: Meaning And Significance


Understanding IPS (meaning) is simple. It stands for Intrusion prevention system. If, however, you want to understand the role of IPS in cybersecurity, you need to go further. Instead of just understanding the meaning of IPS, you need to understand its significance. Here is a guide to help.

IPS meaning and significance

An alternative explanation of IPS (meaning) is that an IPS is a sophisticated cybersecurity tool. What makes it sophisticated is that it can act with a certain level of autonomy. This means that it can take some defensive measures without the need for human instructions.

This autonomy is the main differentiator between an IPS and an IDS (Intrusion Detection System). An IDS simply raises an alert when it identifies concerning behavior. It does not actively take steps to combat the potential attack.

With that said, this does not necessarily mean that an IDS always has to act under direct human instruction. It could, for example, alert another security tool such as a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) system. This other tool would then respond to the activity and/or alert human agents.

Types of IPS

If you want a more in-depth understanding of IPS (meaning) then you need to be aware of the fact that there are different types of IPS.

Hardware-based IPS vs software-based IPS

Hardware-based IPS involves dedicated physical appliances designed for robust intrusion prevention. These devices operate as standalone units, equipped with specialized hardware components optimized for analyzing and filtering network traffic in real time. By examining data packets at a hardware level, these IPS appliances can efficiently identify and block malicious activities, providing a high level of performance and reliability.

Hardware-based IPS is well-suited for enterprise-level security, where the demands for consistent and effective intrusion prevention are paramount. The dedicated nature of these appliances ensures a focused and dedicated approach to protecting network infrastructure against various cyber threats and attacks.

Software-based IPS offers a flexible approach to intrusion prevention through the implementation of software applications. In this model, IPS functionality is embedded within software applications, allowing organizations to integrate intrusion prevention capabilities into their existing hardware infrastructure.

Unlike dedicated hardware solutions, software-based IPS can run on general-purpose servers or virtualized environments, providing scalability and adaptability to diverse IT environments. This flexibility is particularly advantageous for smaller organizations with budget constraints, as it offers a cost-effective solution for enhancing security measures.

Additionally, software-based IPS allows for easier updates and customization, empowering organizations to adapt their intrusion prevention strategies according to evolving cybersecurity threats and business requirements.

IPS deployment

There are four main ways that an IPS can be deployed. Here is a quick overview of them.

Host-based IPS

Host-based IPS is designed to provide tailored protection for individual devices within a network. This form of intrusion prevention is installed directly on specific devices such as servers, workstations, or endpoints, focusing on the security of each host system.

By monitoring activities at the host level, the IPS can identify and prevent unauthorized access, anomalous behaviors, and potential security threats specific to that device. This tailored approach is crucial for endpoint security, ensuring that each individual device is equipped with the necessary defenses to thwart intrusions and safeguard sensitive data.

Network-based IPS

Network-based IPS operates at key network points, such as routers or switches, to provide comprehensive defense against potential intrusions. Deployed strategically within the network infrastructure, this IPS monitors and filters network traffic in real-time.

By analyzing data packets at critical points, it can promptly identify and block malicious activities before they reach internal systems. Network-based IPS offers a holistic approach to security, safeguarding the entire network by actively preventing threats at crucial junctures.

Cloud-based IPS

Cloud-based IPS provides a scalable and flexible approach to intrusion prevention. Managed remotely, this IPS analyzes network traffic in the cloud, offering centralized security for organizations with distributed or cloud-centric operations.

Leveraging the advantages of cloud infrastructure, it ensures real-time updates and protection against evolving threats. Cloud-based IPS is particularly suitable for businesses embracing cloud technologies, offering a seamless and scalable solution that adapts to the dynamic nature of modern IT environments.

This deployment model enhances the organization’s security posture by extending intrusion prevention capabilities to cloud-based assets and applications.

Wireless IPS

Wireless IPS provides the same functionality as regular IPS. It is, however, specifically designed to operate in wireless environments. These have additional challenges such as rogue access points or unauthorized connections.

Given the growing importance of wireless networks across the entire business landscape, it’s understandable that many businesses need specific protection for these networks. Wireless IPS is, therefore, often an indispensable tool in modern cybersecurity.

 

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