What is an intrusion prevention system (IPS)?

An intrusion prevention system (IPS) is a network security technology that goes beyond the capabilities of an intrusion detection system (IDS) by not only detecting but also actively preventing and blocking malicious activity on a computer network. An IPS is typically deployed in-line with network traffic and can automatically take action to prevent attacks.

Like an IDS, an IPS monitors network traffic and system activity for signs of malicious activity, using techniques such as signature-based detection, anomaly detection, and behavior-based detection. However, an IPS can take action to block or prevent the malicious activity it detects, while an IDS can only generate alerts.

An IPS can be configured to work in conjunction with other network security technologies, such as firewalls and antivirus software, to provide comprehensive protection against cyber threats. It can also be configured to protect against specific types of attacks, such as denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, by limiting the rate of incoming traffic or blocking traffic from known malicious sources.

There are two main types of IPSs: network-based IPSs (NIPSs) and host-based IPSs (HIPSs). NIPSs are deployed at network boundaries and monitor network traffic in real time, while HIPSs are deployed on individual systems or hosts and monitor system activity for signs of malicious behavior.

An IPS is an important component of network security because it can actively prevent and block attacks, reducing the risk of data breaches and other cyber threats. They are commonly used in enterprise environments to enhance network security and protect against a wide range of cyber threats.