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Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024
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What is IPS

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Prerita Agarwal
Data Specialist @
23 Jul, 2024 @ 01:30 PM


An intrusion prevention system (IPS) is a network security instrument (hardware or software) that continually monitors a network for harmful behaviour and takes action to prevent it, such as reporting, blocking, or dropping it.

It is more advanced than an intrusion detection system (IDS), which can only identify harmful activity and warn an administrator if it is detected. A next-generation firewall (NGFW) or unified threat management (UTM) solution may incorporate an intrusion prevention system. Like many other network security systems, they must be capable of scanning a large volume of traffic without degrading network performance.

What is an IPS, and how does it work?

An intrusion prevention system is installed inline between the source and destination of network traffic and commonly resides directly below the firewall. Intrusion prevention systems employ a variety of ways to detect threats, including the following:

  • Signature-based: This approach compares the activity to known threat signatures. This approach has the disadvantage of just blocking previously known assaults and not recognising new ones.
  • Anomaly-based: This approach compares random samples of network activity to a baseline standard to look for aberrant behaviour. Although it is more reliable than signature-based monitoring, it can occasionally result in false positives. Some newer and more complex intrusion prevention systems include artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to assist anomaly-based monitoring.
  • Policy-based: Signature-based and anomaly-based monitoring are more widespread, whereas policy-based monitoring is less prevalent. It follows the enterprise's security policies and prevents any activity against them. Security policies must be set up and configured by an administrator.

When an IPS identifies malicious behaviour, it can take various automatic steps, such as notifying administrators, discarding packets, blocking traffic from the originating address, or resetting the connection. Some intrusion prevention systems utilise a "honeypot" or fake high-value data to attract attackers and prevent them from reaching their objectives.

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Types of IPS

There are various distinct types of IPS, each having its purpose:

  1. NIPS (network intrusion prevention system): This sort of IPS is only implemented strategically to monitor all network traffic and scan for threats proactively.
  2. HIPS(host intrusion prevention system): A HIPS, unlike a NIPS, is placed on a single endpoint (such as a PC) and solely monitors inbound and outgoing traffic from that computer. It is most effective when used with a NIPS since it acts as a final line of defence against threats that have gotten past the NIPS.
  3. NBA (Network Behavior Analysis): This software examines network data to identify odd traffic patterns, such as DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks.
  4. Wireless intrusion prevention system (WIPS): This sort of IPS simply searches a Wi-Fi network for unwanted devices and prevents them.

Advantages of IPS

There are several advantages to using an intrusion prevention system:

  • Additional security: An IPS can discover dangers that other security solutions can't. This is especially true for systems that rely on anomaly detection. Due to a high level of application awareness, it also delivers enhanced application security.
  • Effective: Other security controls run more effectively because an IPS filters out harmful traffic before it reaches other security devices and controls.
  • Time-saving: Since an IPS is primarily automated, IT workers will spend less time on it.
  • Compliance: An IPS satisfies many PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), HIPAA ((Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) and other compliance criteria. It also gives valuable auditing information.
  • Customization: An IPS may be configured with customised security rules to give security controls tailored to the company's needs that employs it.

Importance of IPS

An IPS is a crucial component of any company's security system for various reasons. A contemporary network has many access points and a lot of traffic, so manual monitoring and response isn't an option. (This is especially true in the case of cloud security, where a highly networked environment might result in a larger attack surface and hence a higher exposure to attacks.) Furthermore, business security systems' threats are becoming increasingly complex and numerous. In this case, an IPS's automated capabilities are critical, allowing an organisation to respond to threats swiftly without putting its IT employees under any pressure. As part of an organisation's security architecture, an IPS is critical in preventing some of the most significant and complex attacks.

Role of  IPS in the security setup

It's crucial to remember that an IPS is only one component of a comprehensive security solution; it must be used in conjunction with other technologies for optimal efficacy. Intrusion prevention systems are frequently included as part of unified threat management or next-generation firewall solution, although they may also be purchased separately. 

The IPS resides typically directly behind the firewall and works in combination with it to give an extra layer of protection and capture threats that the firewall can't catch on its own. By screening out unwanted traffic before it reaches other security controls, an IPS helps defend them from attack while increasing their performance. 

Most significantly, an IPS adds another layer of protection by detecting and filtering threats that other components of the security architecture miss.

IPS and IDS comparison

The following are the primary distinctions between Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) and Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS):

  • Intrusion prevention systems are installed in-line and can actively prevent or block invasions.
  • Sending an alarm, discarding discovered malicious packets, resetting a connection, or banning traffic from the offending IP address are all options available to an IPS.
  • IPS may also clear up unnecessary transport and network layer choices, repair CRC (Cyclic redundancy check) problems, defragment packet streams, minimise TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) sequencing difficulties, and rectify CRC faults.


1. What is IPS?

Ans: An intrusion prevention system (IPS) is a network security instrument (hardware or software) that continually monitors a network for harmful behaviour and takes action to prevent it, such as reporting, blocking, or dropping it.

2. What do you mean by NIPS?

Ans: It stands for a Network-based intrusion prevention system. It analyses protocol behaviour to monitor the whole network for suspicious traffic.

3. What do you mean by signature-based detection?

Ans: Signature-based IDS(Intrusion Detection System) monitors packets in the network and compares them to signatures, which are pre-built and pre-determined attack patterns.

4. What are the types of IPS? Name them.

Ans: There are various types of IPS which are given below:

  1. NIPS
  2. WIPS
  3. NBA
  4. HIPS

5. What is IDS?

Ans: An Intrusion Detection System (IDS) is a network traffic monitoring system that detects suspicious behaviour and sends out notifications when it is found. It's a piece of software that searches a network or system for malicious activities or policy violations.

Key takeaways

This article has discussed the Intrusion prevention system(IPS). We have discussed its classification, importance, and its uses. We have also seen its advantages. So basically, an intrusion prevention system (IPS) is a network security instrument (hardware or software) that continually monitors a network for harmful behaviour and takes action to prevent it, such as reporting, blocking, or dropping it.

We hope that this blog has helped you enhance your knowledge regarding the Biometric system. If you would like to learn more, check out our article on What is IDS and Cyber Security Technology and Cyber Security

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Topics covered
What is an IPS, and how does it work?
Types of IPS
Advantages of IPS
Importance of IPS
Role of  IPS in the security setup
IPS and IDS comparison
Key takeaways