Vendor Landscape Plus: Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems

Bad guys will get in; make sure they don't get far with an enterprise network alarm.

Last Revised: April 12, 2011


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Your Challenge

  • Enterprises cannot simply rely on a strong front door to keep the bad guys out of the enterprise network; firewalls are necessary, but an Intrusion Detection and Prevention System (IDPS) is important to detect them once they get in.
  • Implementing an IDPS requires enterprises to choose between dedicated or consolidated solutions, in-house versus outsourced management, and perimeter or internal deployment, not to mention which tool is right. These decisions can radically impact overall security.
  • Getting the strategy, architecture, and product selection right means enhanced enterprise security at a manageable cost; picking wrong could mean higher cost, lower security, or both.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Intrusion Detection was declared dead in 2004, the proclamation was early then, but technology doesn’t stand still and Intrusion Prevention has now fully replaced that older technology, though in most cases, solutions can still be deployed in detection only modes.
  • Today’s IDPS are more capable than ever before, offering multiple scanning paradigms including signature, behavior, reputation and even application and protocol specific scanning methods.
  • Strategy determination and product selection can be trivial concerns when compared with the complexity of the implementation and operation an IDPS; a methodical and careful deployment ensures that enterprises improve security without undermining business opportunities.

Impact and Result

  • Measuring Return on Security Investment (ROSI) can be tricky since it is difficult to determine if not being compromised can be attributed to good tools, or poor intrusion attempts. Nonetheless, 86% of enterprises are adopting IDPS to improve their security stance.
  • Prices and feature sets for IDP Systems vary wildly; on a price per Gigabit of throughput, the least expensive solutions cost half that of the most expensive, yet offered no less feature-functionality. Wise purchasing decisions can save the enterprise tens of thousands of dollars.
  • If improperly implemented and optimized, the operational costs of an IDPS can far outstrip the capital expenditure. Getting the monitoring, responding, and alerting parameters right is essential to efficient operations.

Get to Action

Best Practices Toolkit

  1. Get a crash course on IDP Systems

    Understand IDPS strategy, solutions, and operational best practices.

  2. Determine if IDP is a fit for the enterprise

    Build an enterprise IDP strategy.

  3. Calculate the TCO of an IDPS

    Determine capital and operating costs, and understand the various licensing and management options.

  4. Review IDP System solutions

    Build a shortlist of best-fit IDPS tools for the enterprise.

  5. Issue an RFP

    Solicit responses from shortlisted vendors to find optimal enterprise fit.

  6. Evaluate RFP responses

    Keep vendors honest, and select the best IDPS for enterprise needs.

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