IDS vs IPS vs Firewall:How to choose?

Posted on Nov 18, 2023 by

To keep their network secure and guard against threats, most corporate networks employ a variety of networking tools and techniques. Among the most crucial networking defenses to accomplish this are firewalls and IDS/IPS. The three will be contrasted in detail in the sections that follow.

What is a Firewall?

A firewall is a type of cyber security device used to monitor and screen incoming and outgoing network traffic. To ensure that every data packet entering the network passes through the firewall first, firewalls are typically installed around the edge of corporate networks. The firewall's primary job is to stop all data packets from entering, exiting, or passing through the network to stop illegal access from occurring between two or more machines. After scanning every data packet, the firewall determines whether to admit, reject, or delete it based on the rules it has set up.

Introducing the Difference: IDS vs IPS vs Firewall

What is an IDS?

A tool or software program called an intrusion detection system (IDS) is used to keep an eye out for hostile activities or policy violations on a network or system. It finds possible security flaws by examining system activity and looking for oddities or patterns. It can also keep an eye on audit trails of questionable activity and system records. It alerts administrators when it detects a potential threat so they can take the necessary precautions to stop assaults. To guarantee the availability, confidentiality, and integrity of network system resources.

What is an IPS?

An intrusion prevention system (IPS) is a security tool that uses traffic analysis to identify and stop any network threats. It can be software- or hardware-based, and it functions at the network layer. Its primary goal is to detect and stop harmful traffic before it compromises the security of the system or network. IPS may analyze traffic in real-time, identify potential threats, and take action by blocking traffic, notifying system administrators, or severing connections. It does this by using a variety of approaches, including signature-based detection, behavioral analysis, and anomaly detection. IPS makes an effort to block data packets, in contrast to IDS, which just detects and reports data packets. As a result, IPS is somewhat more sophisticated and efficient than IDS.


Introducing the Difference: IDS vs IPS vs Firewall

Firewall vs. IDS vs. IPS:Differences

The primary distinction is that an IPS/IDS detects and notifies a system administrator of an attack or, depending on configuration, stops it, while firewalls perform actions such as blocking and filtering traffic.

  • Working principle: firewall filters traffic based on IP Address and Port Number, IPS checks real-time traffic and looks for traffic patterns or attack characteristics, and then blocks detected attacks, IDS detects real-time traffic and looks for traffic patterns or attack characteristics, and then generates alerts.

  • Function: A firewall's primary function is to watch over and manage traffic according to pre-established security rules. In contrast, an IPS not only recognizes risks but also takes action to stop them, whereas an IDS is intended to identify and notify you of such hazards instantly.

  • Location: IDS is situated on the internal network, IPS can be deployed anywhere, while firewalls are situated on the network perimeter.

  • Traffic Filtering: An IDS or IPS can examine the behavior of the traffic and take appropriate action, whereas a firewall filters the traffic according to pre-established rules.

  • Performance Impact: Depending on their complexity, IDS and IPS systems can have a major influence on network performance, whereas firewalls have little to no effect.

Which Approach Do You Need?

When and how to select intrusion protection solutions among the three defense options? Two viewpoints are examined in the analysis that follows:

  • Product value: The monitoring of cyber security status is the main objective of intrusion detection systems. The management of incursion behavior is the main goal of an intrusion prevention system. Intrusion prevention systems can implement deep defense security strategies, which allows them to detect and prevent attacks at the application layer. This is something that firewalls and intrusion detection products are unable to do. In contrast, intrusion prevention systems can implement security strategies.

  • Product application: The intrusion detection system must be installed at the network center and have the ability to monitor all network traffic to fulfill the goal of fully detecting cyber security status. To control the security status of the entire information system, distributed deployment—deploying an intrusion detection analysis engine for each subnet and unifying the engine's policy management and event analysis must be implemented if the information system is made up of several logically isolated subnets.

Considering the above two points, enterprises can choose different intrusion prevention products according to their defense needs to bring better security protection to enterprise cyber security.


It is essential to comprehend the distinctions between firewalls and IDS/IPS to put a robust cyber security plan into action. Firewalls serve as barriers to stop unauthorized users from accessing networks, whereas IDS/IPS monitors network activity to give a deeper examination and identification of possible security concerns. To improve company cyber security, this article should be able to assist you in selecting various intrusion prevention solutions based on your specific needs.

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