The language of IT and network security sounds complicated to anyone who doesn’t work with IT solutions on a daily basis. Further complicating the way we discuss IT solutions is the fact that they are so varied from business to business. Some businesses have comprehensive IT teams, some have virtual IT managers, but many others don’t have anything. This makes planning for your network safety difficult.

Many business owners wonder how they can protect their networks from hackers and various types of malware and spyware. Should they use a detection system or a prevention system? And what are the differences? We’re here to explain what each system does, how it works, and how to determine what you need for your business.

What Is a Network Intrusion and How Does It Happen?

A network intrusion is any unauthorized activity that happens on a digital network. Intrusions usually result in data or other network resources being stolen or compromised. An intrusion of your network is a significant concern as it also jeopardizes your entire network’s safety. Digital network security is increasingly important as more and more of the world’s business activities happen online. As cyberattack methods continue to shift and evolve, so do the systems that detect and prevent them.

What Are IDS and IPS?

IDS and IPS are two different systems that protect networks against malicious intrusions. An IDS is an intrusion detection system, and an IPS is an intrusion prevention system. Each system protects the network using different strategies.

How Do Intrusion Detection Systems Work?

An IDS is designed to detect intrusions when they occur and then report them by setting off alarms or sending alerts to an admin. This system does not prevent intrusions from getting through. Once an alert is sent, an IT team is required to respond manually, assess the situation, and block the intrusions if deemed suspicious. This system prevents legitimate sources from being blocked by mistake (preventing “false positives”).

An IDS system requires an IT team that can react quickly to stop the intrusions that are malicious. Because this system only detects intrusions and is not installed inline to the network, the system is not slowed down.  

How Do Intrusion Prevention Systems Work?

An IPS follows a set of parameters that prevent suspicious intrusions from occurring. It is not a stagnant system but can be adapted to detect evolving threats or assess new criteria. When an attack happens, the system will block it, send an alert to the admin, and record the details for future monitoring. The system can also produce reports with the logged information. One side effect of an IPS is that it’s deployed inline with the network, which causes it to slow down to an extent. 

With IPS, occasional false positives can trigger the preventative measures, blocking legitimate sources from accessing your server. In these cases, an IT team or consultant will need to manually override them. However, in general, an IPS often requires less IT support because intrusions are automatically blocked and do not need continuous IT intervention. Most of the costs and effort are expended upfront in setting up the system.

How to Protect Your Network

Both IDS and IPS can be effective protection systems for your network, and they are exponentially more effective when used together. An IDS can be used initially to determine the best rules to catch the most intrusions, while an IPS can be set up after to bolster security in locations where IDS is least effective. Whichever system is used, the most important thing is that you have a full network security plan that is actively monitoring for intrusions.



Keeping Your Business Safe Around the Clock

At Alt-Tech, we offer around the clock monitoring of your servers, networks, or entire infrastructure, depending on your needs and budget. You can relax, knowing that we’re looking after your network safety 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

It’s important to consult with IT experts about cybersecurity options and strategies to ensure you have all of the information about potential threats and vulnerabilities. If you’re not sure what your needs are or how you can meet them, get in touch. We’re happy to offer guidance and answer all of your business IT questions.