A person touching an image of a padlock.

Intrusion Detection System vs. Intrusion Prevention System: Key Differences and Similarities

In today’s world, where data breaches are becoming more frequent and severe, organizations must take measures to protect their networks and sensitive information. According to the 2021 Cost of a Data Breach Report by IBM, the average total cost of a data breach is 4.24 million USD, and the average time to identify and contain a breach is 287 days.

Two such measures are Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) and Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS). In this blog, we explore the key differences and similarities between IDS and IPS.

But first:

What is an Intrusion Detection System (IDS)?

Enterprise networks are monitored by intrusion detection systems (IDS), which also analyze events to find security problems and impending dangers. These security tools shield companies from cybersecurity threats by actively preventing them.

The IDS is a network monitoring tool that detects unusual network activity and alerts the security operations center (SOC) analysts or incident responders. These notifications allow security staff to look into any problems they have found and take the necessary action to fix them before they do serious harm.

What is an Intrusion Prevention System (IPS)?

Similar to an intrusion detection system, an intrusion prevention system is a component of network security hardware or software that continuously scans network activity for threats. IDS detects risks, but IPS goes a step further and automatically takes the necessary action to neutralize them, including reporting, restricting traffic from a specific source, discarding packets, or reconnecting the connection.

Some IPS programs are set up to deflect attackers from their intended destinations that contain correct data by using a “honeypot” (a ruse that contains fake data).

Key Differences between IDS and IPS

Detection vs. Prevention

The primary difference between IDS and IPS is their focus. IDS is designed to detect and alert when an unauthorized user attempts to access the network or system. On the other hand, IPS is designed to detect and prevent an unauthorized user from accessing the network or system.


Another significant difference between IDS and IPS is their response to detected threats. IDS only alerts network administrators or security teams of a potential threat. In contrast, IPS takes immediate action to block the threat or quarantine the affected system.


IDS and IPS also differ in their placement within the network. IDS is typically placed in the perimeter of the network, where it monitors traffic entering and leaving the network. In contrast, IPS is placed within the network to monitor internal traffic and prevent threats from spreading.


Another significant difference between IDS and IPS is their cost. IDS is typically less expensive than IPS as it only alerts and does not take any action to prevent threats. In contrast, IPS is more expensive as it takes immediate action to prevent threats.

Key Similarities between IDS and IPS

Network Monitoring

IDS and IPS share the common function of monitoring network traffic to detect and prevent unauthorized access or malicious activity. They both use a combination of signature-based and behavioral-based detection methods to identify threats.

Real-time Alerts

Both IDS and IPS provide real-time alerts to network administrators or security teams when a threat is detected. This allows them to take appropriate action to mitigate the threat.

Protection against Known Threats

IDS and IPS are designed to protect against known threats, including viruses, malware, and other cyber-attacks. They use signature-based detection methods to identify known threats.


IDS and IPS can be scaled to meet the organization’s needs. They are deployed in a single location or multiple locations, depending on the size and complexity of the network.

In conclusion, both IDS and IPS are crucial components of a comprehensive network security strategy. While they share some similarities, they differ significantly in their focus, response, placement, and cost. IDS is ideal for organizations requiring network monitoring and detection but with limited resources. In contrast, IPS is ideal for organizations that require more robust security measures and are willing to invest in prevention capabilities. Ultimately, the choice between IDS and IPS will depend on the organization’s needs, budget, and risk tolerance.

Do you require IDS and IPS specialists? Get in touch with us! You can find the talent you need with us.

About Centurion Consulting Group

Centurion Consulting Group, LLC, a Woman-Owned Small Business headquartered in Herndon, VA conveniently located near Washington D.C., is a national IT Services consulting firm servicing the public and private sector by delivering relevant solutions for our client’s complex business and technology challenges. Our leadership team has over 40 years of combined experience, including almost 10 years of a direct business partnership, in the IT staffing, federal contracting, and professional services industries. Centurion’s leaders have the demonstrated experience over the past three decades in partnering with over 10,000 consultants and hundreds of clients from Fortune 100 to Inc. 5000 firms –in multiple industries including banking, education, federal, financial, healthcare, hospitality, insurance, non-profit, state and local, technology, and telecommunications. www.centurioncg.com.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.