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Key Points:

  • IDS and IPS are important because one helps prevent attacks and the other alerts you to any attacks.
  • IPS is better for large systems to help prevent potential risks.
  • The IDS is used more for smaller systems to help detect when an attack has occurred.

Before starting the debate between IDS and IPS, you have to know what IDS and IPS are and what they are used for.

Both IDS and IPS are very important for network security, as these systems are used to identify and prevent security risks on a network. Both these systems act as an alarm to give you precautions against potential security breaches and also give you the best way to solve them. 

Moreover, IDS, which stands for Intrusion Detection System, is a monitoring system that detects security breaches and cyber threats and alerts you of potential risks. In comparison, IPS, or the Intrusion Prevention System, allows you to prevent that potential risk by blocking or remediating that potential risk.

Both IDS and IPS are good for protecting your computers.


IDS vs. IPS: A Side-by-Side Comparison

Stands forIntrusion Detection SystemIntrusion Prevention System
Type of SystemMonitoring, identification, and notificationAutomatic, defending, and remediation
Installation LocationOn the client’s systemBetween firewall and main betwork
WorkingIdentify and send alerts of potential security risks to IPSIdentify and block the potential security threat
Protocol-Based ApplicationWithin servers, looking for suspicious activitySpots attacks of unknown network traffic
False PositiveMinor false positiveCritical false positive
Network PerformanceDoesn’t affect network performanceSlows down the network
InterferenceIDS needs human interaction to update and perform actionsIPS is autopilot and doesn’t need any human interaction to perform actions

Key Differences Between IDS and IPS

The following are the primary distinctions between an IDS and an IPS to help you understand what they are used for.


The IDS identifies potential security risks and then notifies the IPS of those dangers. IDS detects and prevents potential security threats. The Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) is an application based on protocols that find suspicious activity on servers. IPS detects attacks involving unknown network traffic.


IDS is a protocol-based application that detects suspicious activity on servers. IPS detects attacks involving unknown network traffic.

False positives are small problems with IDS, but critical false positives can shut down a network completely. Additionally, IDS does not affect network performance, whereas IPS can cause network slowdowns.

Location of System

The IPS is installed between the firewall and the rest of the network, while the IDS is installed on the client’s computer. Because they are located in different places, they have different functions and, therefore, different kinds of protection.

Controlling System

The IPS needs regular updates and automated tuning to be successful. It must constantly monitor the network for any suspicious activity and take steps to address it.

On the other hand, the IDS does not require regular updates and tuning, as it analyzes the network’s traffic patterns. You can configure the IDS to alert administrators when suspicious activities are detected. 


The IDS is more suitable for smaller networks as it requires fewer resources than the IPS. It can detect malicious activities such as viruses, worms, and Trojans. 

IPS is better for large networks, as it can detect threats before they enter the network and take proactive steps to address them. It also gives more detailed reports about the threats and can be set up to fix problems immediately if that’s what needs to be done.

Configuration Mode

IPS can be configured in either an inline or a passive mode. In the inline mode, IPS directly connects to the network and monitors traffic in real time. In the passive mode, IPS monitors traffic but does not take any action on it. 

Additionally, IDS can be configured in either a passive or an active mode. In the passive mode, IDS monitors traffic and alerts administrators when suspicious activities are detected. In the active mode, IDS can take corrective action and block malicious traffic.

largest cybersecurity companies
IDS and IPS both provide innumerable benefits for your network’s security.


Types of IDS

The IDS has four types: network intrusion detection systems, host-based intrusion detection systems, perimeter intrusion detection systems, and VM-based intrusion detection systems.

Network Intrusion Detection System

A network intrusion detection system (NIDS) is an IDS that monitors the entire network for suspicious activities. It is designed to detect malicious activities like packet sniffing, denial of service attacks, and port scanning. Moreover, NIDS also has the capability to detect unauthorized access to the network by hackers.

Host-Based Intrusion Detection System

A host-based Intrusion Detection System (HIDS) is an IDS installed on individual computers or devices. HIDS keeps track of every action and logs security information for every gadget.

Additionally, It can spot malicious behavior like data leakage and the execution of malicious code. HIDS is designed to detect, prevent, and respond to malicious activities.

Perimeter Intrusion Detection System

Perimeter Intrusion Detection System (PIDS) is a type of IDS that monitors the network perimeter for suspicious activities. It can detect unauthorized access outside the network, such as port scanning and denial of service attacks. PIDS can also detect unauthorized access from inside the network, such as insider threats.

VM-Based Intrusion Detection System 

VM-Based Intrusion Detection System (VIPS) is a type of IDS installed on virtual machines. VIPS monitors all activities within the VM and records security logs. It can detect malicious activities such as malicious code execution, data leakage, and unauthorized access to the VM. Moreover, VIPS is designed to detect, prevent, and respond to malicious activities. 

Types of IPS

The three most common types of IPS are network-based, host-based, and wireless IPS. 

Network-Based IPS

A network-based IPS is a system that is located on the network and monitors all traffic that passes through it. It is not the same as an IDS, a system installed on each computer to find intrusions. 

However, host-based intrusion prevention systems (HIPS) are installed as application software on each device. Because of this, HIPS are far more advanced, as they can record action and security logs for every device across a network. 

It is a clear sign that every company needs a HIPS solution to protect itself from threats from inside and outside the company.

Host-Based IPS

Host-based IPS (HIPS) is an intrusion prevention system that runs on individual computers (hosts) or devices. HIPS monitors all activities on a computer, including system processes and network traffic. It is a dedicated host-based security system.

Wireless IPS

Wireless IPS is designed to monitor and protect wireless networks. It monitors all traffic going through the network, including both authorized and unauthorized users. 

Moreover, it can detect and respond to malicious activities, such as packet sniffing, man-in-the-middle attacks, denial of service attacks, and wireless jamming. Wireless IPS can also find rogue access points and wireless devices that shouldn’t be on the network. 

computer virus
There are many types of malicious cyber attacks that attack computers and their files.

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Threat Detection Method of IDS and IPS

IDS and IPS look for threats using signature-based detection, anomaly detection, and other methods. However, their methodologies differ in terms of the types of traffic they analyze.

IDP solutions focus on detecting malicious activity at the application layer, while IPS systems focus on packets traversing a network’s perimeter. IPS systems also use packet filtering and flow analysis to detect malicious traffic.

Signature-Based Detection

IDS and IPS solutions that use signature-based detection look for attack signatures, activity, and malicious code that match the profile of known attacks. Data is checked for strange patterns that could be signs of an attack, like spoofed IP addresses or traffic going out to malicious IP addresses.

Anomaly Detection

IDS and IPS solutions use machine learning and AI to look for strange activity on a network, which is referred to as anomaly detection. It includes behavior that deviates from typical usage patterns or attempts to attack known vulnerabilities. 

Moreover, anomaly detection is especially important for finding zero-day attacks which don’t match other known attack patterns.

IDS vs. IPS: Which is Better to Use?

IDS and IPS are important tools for protecting your network from malicious threats. However, when deciding which one to use, it’s important to consider the types of threats you are trying to protect against. 

If you’re looking for a more comprehensive solution that can detect both application-level attacks and network-level suspicious activity, then an IPS may be the better option.

On the other hand, an IDS may be more suitable if you are mainly concerned with application-level attacks. Ultimately, it’s best to use a combination of IDS and IPS solutions for maximum protection.

Up Next…

We have plenty more articles about security in the tech world.

IDS vs. IPS: Which is Better? FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Do you need an IDS or IPS, or both?

It depends on the types of threats you are trying to protect against. Generally, it’s best to use an IDS and IPS for maximum protection.

Do I need IDS if I have IPS?

Yes. Even though IPS can detect suspicious activity at the network level, it does not protect from application-level attacks. Therefore, an IDS is still necessary to protect from these types of threats.

Is IDS or IPS better for detecting zero-day attacks?

Anomaly detection with IDS and IPS solutions is the best method for detecting zero-day attacks, as these attacks often don’t match other established attack signatures.

Why would you use an IPS over an IDS?

IPS is preferred over IDS as IPS detects and remediates the potential threats by itself, while IDS always requires the administrative command to complete any action. Moreover, IPS gives critical false positives, while IDS only gives minor false positives.

Which comes before the firewall, IDS or IPS?

IPS comes after the firewall but before the switch, while IDS also comes after the firewall, but is not directly between the firewall and switch, it is attached to the switch.

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