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IDS and IPS log monitoring:
Their importance in network security

5 min read

Intrusion detection systems (IDS) and intrusion prevention systems (IPS) are arguably among the most important aspects of cybersecurity for enterprises. This article addresses the individual significance and differences between IDS and IPS systems.


An IDS monitors network traffic for unauthorized activities and generates alerts when such activities are discovered. These systems have a database of threat signatures stored in them. Threat signatures are files that represent a set of features of a threat, such as worms, ransomware, and viruses. When data packets are sent in a network, IDS looks for similar patterns in the data packets to match with the threat signatures in the existing database. If a threat signature is matched, the network administrator is alerted.

Processes used by the IDS:

These systems look for anomalies, like unknown attack signatures or abnormal reports in the network. When these events are detected, IDS systems provide alerts to the administrators. An IDS also blocks intruders permanently from the server to ensure security remains intact.

Benefitsof using IDS in a network:

  • Analyzes network traffic.
  • Matches the traffic with the library of known attacks to identify abnormalities.
  • Improves security responses by inspecting suspicious network traffic and alerting administrators immediately.
  • Collects logs that help identify weaknesses in network security.
  • Monitors the system to thwart future attacks.


An IPS is an automated network security device used to monitor and respond to threats in a network. These systems actively analyze network traffic and control network access to protect it from malicious intrusion. Additionally, an IPS ensures that each and every packet in a network is scanned before they travel in a network. If any malicious packets are detected, they terminate the packets to maintain network security. These systems also automatically reconfigure firewalls to prevent attacks from happening in the future.

Processes used by the IPS:

As there are different types of threat actors that can be introduced into a network, an IPS uses multiple mechanisms to stop malicious packets of data from reaching the desired destination and damaging the network security. Some of the important processes used by IPS are:

  • Address matching
  • HTTP string/substring matching
  • Packet anomaly detection
  • Traffic anomaly detection
  • TCP connection analysis

Benefits of using an IPS in a network:

  • Helps ensure round-the-clock protection against malicious activities in a network.
  • Enables selectively configuring log network activities based on the users' needs.
  • Reduces the workload for the security team by actively filtering threat traffic before it reaches other parts of the network.

Difference between IDS and IPS:

Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS)
IDS are monitoring systems. IPS are control systems.
IDS tools are mostly used for surveillance, they cannot take action on their own. IPS can take steps on their own based on the predisposed threat types.
IDS are often deployed on the edge or endpoints of the network. IPS are deployed inline and directly between the source and destination.
IDS keep records of all the activities at the endpoints, and only alerts the admin when there is an attack. IPS proactively maintains network security by cleaning and blocking malicious traffic from the network.
IDS do not impact the network performance due to their deployment. IPS slow down the network performance due to their inline processing.
IDS use signature-based detection, user anomaly, and reputation-based detection which are useful to identify threat actors. IPS uses statistical-based anomaly detection along with stateful protocol analysis detection that strengthens network vulnerabilities against attacks.

You can learn more about IDS and IPS, and the type of logs collected here.

Significance of monitoring using IDS and IPS:

Networks have multiple access points, therefore it is essential to maintain strong security standard to protect the network from intruders. Lately, attacks have become more sophisticated, requiring real-time security monitoring to maintain the security posture. IDS and IPS systems collaboratively work to defend against threat actors in a network by identifying, logging, and reporting incidents to the security admins.

How EventLog Analyzer works along with IDS and IPS systems

IDS and IPS provide surveillance over network traffic, and protect the network from adversaries. Their logs contain crucial information about the attack vectors. ManageEngine EventLog Analyzer collects, stores, analyzes, and generates reports based on the data collected on a network. The solution also has custom filters which are helpful for generating reports and dashboards to meet an organization's unique requirements. Event Log Analyzer enables:

  • Monitoring logs from network devices, security devices, databases, servers, and applications.
  • Automatically logging data and maintaining it in a database, which helps detect patterns and trends that can indicate intruder actions, and helps organizations enhance the security posture of their network.
  • Tracking the network incidents to easily identify different network incidents using advanced threat intelligence.
  • Gathering specific information about attacks, making log search simpler.

Monitoring IDS and IPS logs helps detect anomalies and cyberattacks at the intrusion stage. Learn more about ManageEngine EventLog Analyzer.

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