Top 8 Intrusion Detection and Prevention Software (IDPS) Tools

DarktraceKerio ControlVectra AICisco NGIPSCisco IOS SecurityCisco Sourcefire SNORTCheck Point IPSSplunk User Behavior Analytics
  1. leader badge
    I have found the most valuable features to be artificial intelligence for cybersecurity, advanced machine learning capabilities, enterprise Immune System, Antigena Network, and Antigena Email. The way the solution detects the threat over the network before it spreads is very good. It notifies you of what the threat is exactly doing and gives you all the details about the execution of that application that had created the threat over your network.
  2. leader badge
    The reporting needs to be improved. It is hard to get a domain. The firewall appliance itself is the most valuable feature.
  3. Find out what your peers are saying about Darktrace, GFI, Vectra AI and others in Intrusion Detection and Prevention Software (IDPS). Updated: June 2021.
    522,693 professionals have used our research since 2012.
  4. leader badge
    It does a reliable job of parsing out the logs of all the network traffic so that we can ingest them into our SIEM and utilize them for threat hunting and case investigations. It is pretty robust and reliable. The administration time that we spend maintaining it or troubleshooting it is very low. So, the labor hour overhead is probably our largest benefit from it. We spend 99% of our time in Vectra investigating cases, responding to incidents, or hunting, and only around 1% of our time is spent patching, troubleshooting, or doing anything else. That's our largest benefit from Vectra.
  5. I've found the performance and stability to be the most valuable features of Cisco NGIPS. It is scalable as well.The tracking intelligence feature is very good. This solution provides us with the opportunity to detect threats in real-time.
  6. One of the main features is that the hardware is extremely reliable.One of the valuable features of the solution is its flexibility and it performs great.
  7. It is quite an intelligent product.Cisco Sourcefire SNORT is easy to configure and the reporting is great. It's also very user-friendly.
  8. report
    Use our free recommendation engine to learn which Intrusion Detection and Prevention Software (IDPS) solutions are best for your needs.
    522,693 professionals have used our research since 2012.
  9. The Check Point IPS module allows me granularity in creating rules.It protects against specific known exploits but also, with SandBlast integration, it is able to protect against unknown or zero-day attacks at the perimeter level.
  10. This is a good security product.The product is at the forefront of auto-remediation networking. It's great.

How does an IDS work?

The goal of an intrusion detection system is to detect an attack as it occurs. The system starts by analyzing inbound and outbound network traffic for signs of known attackers.

Some activities an IDS performs include:

  • Comparing system files against malware signatures.
  • Monitoring system configurations to detect changes or misconfigurations that attackers can exploit.
  • Scanning the network to detect known attack patterns.
  • Checking user activity to detect anomalies and malicious intent.

When the system detects an anomaly, such as a virus, a configuration error, or a security policy violation, it sends an alert to IT security. The IDS can stop an ongoing attack by kicking the intruder off the network.

The downside of intrusion detection systems is that they only work with known attack signatures. Thus, they cannot detect zero-day threats and incoming attacks.

Classification of Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS)

There are various types of intrusion detection system types that differ according to what part of the network they monitor or whether they are software or hardware devices.

The most common types include:

  • Network-based Intrusion Detection System (NIDS)

A NIDS is a software solution that operates at the network level, monitoring inbound and outbound traffic from all devices on the network. The system analyzes the traffic, looking for signs and patterns of malicious activity. If it finds an anomaly, it sends an alert.

  • Host-based Intrusion Detection System (HIDS)

A HIDS monitors the system data of an individual host instead of the entire network. The system looks for anomalies and malicious activity in the operating system files and software. When it finds an anomaly, it sends an alert and can take a snapshot to check if there is a suspicious change in activity.

  • Application-Protocol Intrusion Detection System (APIDS)

An APIDS is a type of HIDS that monitors and analyzes a specific application protocol. The system monitors the application protocol’s dynamic behavior and state, typically monitoring the interactions between two connected devices. When it detects suspicious behavior, the system raises an alert.

Other types of intrusion detection systems include:

  • Perimeter Intrusion Detection System (PIDS), which detects intruders attempting to breach a physical perimeter, be it of a building, a property, or another secured area. A PIDS is generally part of an overall physical security system.
  • A Virtual Machine-based Intrusion Detection System (VMIDS) is similar to the IDSes mentioned above but it is deployed remotely via a virtual machine.

What Is an Intrusion Prevention System (IPS)?

Intrusion prevention systems (IPSes) are software solutions that monitor incoming traffic for malicious requests. An IPS can prevent attackers from delivering suspicious packets and block suspicious IPs. It uses signature recognition and recognizes attack patterns and anomalies.

How does an IPS work?

An IPS actively scans network traffic for known attack signatures and anomalies with the goal of preventing malicious traffic from entering the network. If the system determines that a packet is a threat, it drops the packet and blocks the IP address or port from future traffic.

Some activities an IPS performs include:

  • Matching IP addresses
  • Analyzing TCP connections
  • Checking packets for anomalies

When a threat is confirmed, the IPS can use response techniques like resetting a connection, blocking traffic, and sending automated alarms. Some systems may configure firewalls and replace the attack contents with warnings.

What’s the difference between an IPS and a Firewall?

Many users would ask: Why do I need an IPS if I have a firewall? The two solutions work differently and an IPS can catch packets that slip through a firewall.

While an IPS monitors inbound traffic and packets and decides whether or not to let the packets into the network, a firewall blocks traffic based on port, protocol, or IP address information.

Classification of Intrusion Prevention Systems:

There are four types of IPS:

  • Network-based intrusion prevention system (NIPS): The system works at a network level, analyzing incoming traffic across the entire network.
  • Wireless intrusion prevention system (WIPS): The software monitors and analyzes network protocols across a wireless network.
  • Network Behavior Analysis (NBA): The system monitors and analyzes network traffic to detect malicious activity like DDoS (distributed denial of service) , malware, and policy violations.
  • Host-based intrusion prevention system (HIPS): Monitors a single host for malicious activity.




Monitors the network and detects ongoing attacks

Controls the network and rejects incoming attacks

Compares packets according to known threat signatures

Compares packets according to known threat signatures

Proactively looks for signs that an attack is in progress.

Prevents incoming attacks by denying network traffic to suspicious packets.

Mitigates threats within the network

Blocks the threat before it gains access to the network

The main difference between an IDS and an IPS is that an IDS offers a reactive approach, mitigating threats within the network, whereas an IPS focuses on preventing attackers from entering the network to begin with.

Can you use IDS and IPS together?

An IPS can complement the work of an IDS by detecting and blocking incoming attacks. Thus, IDS and IPS can work together to provide a more complete network security solution.

Importance of Intrusion Detection and Prevention

Cyber attacks are on the rise, and the financial impact of a security attack is increasingly costly. With the average cost of a data breach over $3.8 million in 2020, companies look for effective protection.

Almost every organization has a firewall, anti-malware, or endpoint protection tool. Yet, no protection method is perfect and some packets can sneak in past firewalls. Therefore, there is a need to complement the firewall’s limitations.

Also, these methods cannot do much once an attacker is inside the network.

Even with perfect firewall rules, you are going to let some packet in that you didn’t expect. Thus, once traffic comes to your network past a firewall, you need to track it to make sure it isn’t malicious.

Intrusion detection and intrusion prevention tools can solve these challenges.

Find out what your peers are saying about Darktrace, GFI, Vectra AI and others in Intrusion Detection and Prevention Software (IDPS). Updated: June 2021.
522,693 professionals have used our research since 2012.