A managed network intrusion/detection system offers the right kind of expertise, analysis and fast action at the right time, protecting your network from intruders.
Have you ever watched the movie, The Matrix? In one scene, Neo (Keanu Reeves) walks up behind a tech who’s sitting at a work station. He's looking at a flow of code on his computer, all that green code flying down the screen. When an expert IT service provider is monitoring your network using intrusion detection and prevention technology (IPS/IDS) to protect your network from intruders, that’s what they are seeing: green code. They see packets fly across the screen, capturing the traffic that's running on your network. To anyone else, it likely doesn’t mean anything. To an expert, it’s speaking their language.
IPS/IDS network security can be somewhat complex. With it, we can detect probes and attacks on your network and perform real-time traffic analysis and packet logging on Internet Protocol (IP) networks. What it comes down to is understanding how these technologies and protocols work. Similar to antivirus software, IPS/IDS uses scanning technology in real time to look for certain patterns related to files that would show them to be a threat to the network.
Enhanced Advantages of IPS/IDS
Antivirus software is pretty simple. You install it. You run it. You set it to scan automatically. It typically does a good job capturing most issues on the computer where it’s installed. When it comes to IPS/IDS, you're not looking at just one computer anymore. You're looking at an enterprise network. The IPS/IDS system is delivering data to a centralized place so reviewed and consumed. Perhaps you catch something strange at the network perimeter. Maybe it’s a brute force attack. Someone is running dictionary list against an outside network interface. An expert is able to scrutinize the data and detect this, plus they would have the ability to act once a real-time threat is recognized - and act right now. This kind of expertise doesn't happen overnight. It takes a high degree of training and experience to detect dangerous payload or suspicious anomalies and act in real-time with aggressive counter measures to stop or reduce any resulting damage from this kind of cyber-attack.
This same technology works inside your network as well. Let’s say we discover an internal threat to your network - someone is running BitTorrent, for example - and you want identify and shut that client down. We are able to initiate the shutdown at once and remotely. Antivirus software won't do that. An IPS/IDS system does.
IPS/IDS Protects Mobile Too
For mobile users who need data delivered via wireless, once they connect to their corporate network, the IPS/IDS system could detect any anomalies or potential attacks on the network side, because that’s where you actually see the data coming in. You would also see that traffic is suddenly spiking. For instance, you notice a big bump in traffic at eight o’clock every morning, when only five people are in the office working. That's your first indicator that something else may be happening on your network, and fast action is required to curtail it.
Much like choosing between standard security devices such as firewalls and routers, it is important to remember that no single security solution will prevent all attacks every time. IPS/IDS works best when integrated with existing security solutions and must be considered in an overall enterprise security strategy. It is crucial to maintaining comprehensive protection against today’s sophisticated and evolving threats with in-line real-time protection, constant monitoring and proactive alerting.