There is a wide array of technologies that can detect cyberthreats and vulnerabilities and take steps to block cyberattacks. For instance, firewalls prevent unauthorized traffic from entering a network, while spam filters redirect unwanted and potentially malicious emails away from a user's inbox. Anti-malware programs, on the other hand, scan, detect, and remove malicious programs from networks and endpoints.
Another security tool that is highly indispensable in protecting against online threats is an intrusion detection system (IDS). In this article, we’ll get to know IDSes better and the role they play in securing your business network and data.
What is an intrusion detection system?
An IDS is a device or app that monitors network traffic and watches out for suspicious activity and known threats, and sends alerts once these are discovered. Unlike a firewall — which sits at the perimeter and monitors incoming and outgoing traffic like a gatekeeper — an IDS focuses on the traffic and identifies any potentially malicious activity on the internal network. This means an IDS can detect the advanced threats that slip past the firewall, as well as those that originate from within the organization.
Most IDS solutions employ a combination of signature-based and anomaly-based detection. The former involves comparing traffic against a database of known attacks or attack techniques, while the latter simply entails keeping an eye out for strange activity or behavior that varies significantly from the established norm.
What does an IDS do?
An IDS protects your network from cyberattacks by doing the following:
- Monitoring routers, firewalls, servers, and files that other security controls need to detect, prevent, or recover from cyberattacks
- Furnishing an extensive database of known attacks or attack techniques against which monitored information can be matched
- Providing administrators a simple way to organize and analyze logs that are otherwise difficult to track or parse
- Recognizing and reporting when data files have been altered
- Generating an alarm and notifying administrators when a breach has been identified
- Blocking unauthorized users from accessing the network
- Offering a user-friendly interface so non-IT staff can assist with managing system security
Generally, an IDS requires a human or another system to assess the events and determine the next actions to take, which could be a full-time job if your network generates a lot of traffic on the daily.
What are the advantages of having an IDS?
Implementing an IDS offers a wide range of benefits. First and foremost, it provides your business with the ability to identify potential security incidents. This enables your IT team to analyze the types and number of attacks that plague your network, allowing them to adjust security systems or implement more effective controls. An IDS also helps your IT team identify bugs or problems with current network device configurations, which they can use to assess future risks.
Having an IDS also helps with regulatory compliance because it gives your team greater visibility over your network and systems, making it easier to ensure that they are being used in accordance with particular legal or regulatory requirements. In addition, IDS logs can be used as part of the documentation to verify compliance.
Enlist expert help
Cyberattacks can occur at any time. Having a security operations center (SOC) with security specialists who constantly monitor alerts and analyze log data to detect potential threats can help you safeguard your business effectively. After identifying and prioritizing suspicious or malicious activities, the SOC can then take the appropriate action to block the traffic or thwart the attack.
outsourceIT’s managed IDS and 24x7 SOC are a smart choice for any business. With advanced threat detection tools and our experts monitoring your operations around the clock, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your infrastructure is protected. To learn more about how our comprehensive IT solutions can help secure your business, contact us today.