IDS vs IPS vs Firewall: Definitions and Comparisons

As cybersecurity continues to rapidly evolve, organizations face an increasing threat of cyberattacks. In such a case, it can be challenging to make a choice among IDS, IPS, or Firewall. In this article, we will give you the definitions and differences between these three prominent security tools.

IDS vs IPS vs Firewall: Definitions & Comparisons

IDS vs IPS vs Firewall: Definitions and Comparisons

In this guide, we will discuss the differences between IDS, IPS, and Firewalls along with a few examples to get a perfect security solution for your systems. So, please keep reading to learn more about it.

What Do You Mean by IDS?

IDS stands for Intrusion Detection System. It monitors internet traffic and network traffic for any unusual activity and sends out alerts when it does. It is software that inspects a system or network for malicious activities or policy violations.

Moreover, it is classified into five types:

  • Network Intrusion Detection System
  • Host Intrusion Detection System
  • Protocol-based Intrusion Detection System
  • Application Protocol-based Intrusion Detection System
  • Hybrid Intrusion Detection System

Keep reading further to learn the differences between IDS vs IPS vs Firewall in detail.

Also Read: Blink vs Ring: Which is Best Security System?

What is IPS?

IPS stands for Intrusion Prevention System. It can be either hardware or software. It keeps an eye on a network for nefarious or malicious activity. When it finds any such activities, it takes action to stop them. Some of its actions are denying the traffic from the source address, alerting network administrators, dropping the malicious traffic, and resetting the connection.

Apart from this, it does not slow down the network performance when it scans a high traffic volume. It uses various techniques to identify the threat; some are signature-based, anomaly-based, and policy-based. Its types are:

  • Network intrusion prevention system (NIPS)
  • Host intrusion prevention system (HIPS)
  • Network behavior analysis (NBA)
  • Wireless intrusion prevention system (WIPS)

What is a Firewall?

Firewall monitors outgoing and incoming network traffic and decides whether to block or allow a particular traffic. It creates a barrier separating trustworthy internal secured and controlled networks from shady external networks like the Internet. It is a network security device that can be software, hardware, or both. Some of its types are:

  • Proxy firewall
  • Stateful inspection firewall
  • Unified threat management firewall
  • Next-generation firewall
  • Threat-focused NGFW

Also Read: 18 Best Free Firewall for Windows

What is the Difference Between IDS and IPS and Firewall?

Keep reading to learn about the difference between IDS vs IPS vs firewall example:

Differences IDS IPS Firewall
Principle of Working It monitors the network traffic and alerts when it identifies a nefarious or malicious activity. It keeps an eye on the network traffic. When it finds a threat or suspicious signatures, it takes action to prevent such an attack. Based on IP address and port numbers, it filters the traffic.
Analysis of Traffic Pattern It analyzes the traffic pattern. Like Intrusion Detection System, it also analyzes internet traffic. It does not analyze the traffic.
Course of Action Whenever it finds any nefarious activity, it generates an alert. But it does not take any action. So, the person who reads the notification has to take action. Based on a set of rules, IPS systems make decisions regarding malicious activity or traffic and then take appropriate action. These rules often originate from a trustworthy outside source, enabling the system to function autonomously in accordance with the guidelines. Since it filters the traffic based on IP address, it blocks the activities by suspicious entities or IP addresses.
Configuration and Placement It is not in line with the data path. Its placement and configuration in inline mode. It is generally in Layer 2. Either Layer 3 or translucent mode can be selected. It is the first line of defense installed in the line at the network parameter.
Examples SolarWinds Security Event Manager ThreatLocker Windows Firewall



The differences between IDS vs IPS vs firewall must have helped you understand the importance of the security of your network system to enhance the cybersecurity level. Feel free to reach out to us with your queries and suggestions via the comments section below. Also, let us know what topic you want to learn about in our next article.

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