Intrusion detection system – What is it and why your company needs one

Hackers used to be very targeted when launching sophisticated attacks. They would only go after big businesses. All that has changed. Now, cybercriminals are targeting anyone who uses the Internet, including small and medium-sized businesses. No one is safe. Techies introduce viruses into the systems, which act against the internal network of the company. By doing so, they gain access to information about business processes, organisational culture, and so on and so forth.

Hackers can steal, encrypt, and even delete sensitive data. Threats can be internal or external. Unauthorised access to the network is one of the most serious threats, having a significant impact on the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of all sorts of data. Detecting malicious activity doesn’t need to be a challenge. There are many software applications you can use to detect suspicious and malicious activity on your network. As a responsible business with sensitive data, you need to take action right away.

Understanding what an intrusion detection system is

Companies that depend to a large extent on computerised technology should invest in cybersecurity. In the off-chance that the information is compromised, the organisation will be held responsible for the data breach, and risks losing loyal customers. Malware rates are on the rise, unfortunately. Malicious activity is expected to continue to rise in the near future, as businesses rely on computers for all emails, banking, and sharing information. The best thing you can do is invest in a prevention system. A system of this kind monitors the network and systems for malicious activity – in other words, inbound and outbound network activity. Most importantly, the intrusion detection system identifies patterns that indicate someone is trying to jeopardise the system, issuing alerts when such activity is discovered.

Needless to say, it’s not the same thing as a firewall. An intrusion detection system is superior, detecting malicious activity across the entire digital landscape. Attention needs to be paid to the fact that traditional IDSs are somewhat limited, in the sense that they detect vulnerability exploits from one single angle. You should invest in a modern intrusion detection system, one that thinks exactly like a human analyst. The solution will support complex environments, identify all attacks, and reduce the risk in the long-term. The stronger the monitoring is, the less you have to worry about cyber-attacks. An intrusion detection system can be implemented as a software application or as a network security appliance.  

3 reasons why your business needs an intrusion detection system

You store a great deal of information on the company computers. Undoubtedly, you don’t want that data to fall into the wrong hands. An IDS offers you much-needed protection against hackers, notifying the administrator about what is going on. If there are several attempts to pass through the firewall, you’ll know. You need this complimentary layer of IT security technology. However, if you’re not convinced that investing in an intrusion detection system is a good idea, you might want to keep on reading. Here are three reasons why using an intrusion detection system is completely worth it. 

1. Qualifying and quantifying cyber-attacks

An intrusion detection system assesses network traffic for malicious activity. The main purpose of this kind of work is to try to understand the performance of the current security systems and determine if it’s necessary to implement changes. It’s essential to know why cyber-attacks happen in the first place and what can be done to ensure security to the network and systems. You can possibly discover bugs or network configuration issues. Threats grow together with data-driven technologies. More often than not, threats are the result of negligence. The size of the organisation isn’t important. You too could suffer a major data breach. Focus on qualifying and quantifying your cyber risk. Use what you’ve learned to evaluate and improve security programs.

2. Preventing DoS and DDoS attacks

DoS is an acronym and it stands for denial-of-service-attack. This is a type of cyberattack that shuts down the machine or the network, making it impossible for you to carry out your usual activities. The resources are tied up, meaning that you can’t access them. Basically, hackers don’t allow you to use the system. A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), on the other hand, disrupts the normal traffic of the server, with the help of several compromised computer systems. The systems are infected with what is called a Trojan. When you have an intrusion detection system in place, you’re able to detect and mitigate DoS and DDoS risks. What is more, you can protect the network from these threats.

3. Recording alterations in data files  

The incessant amounts of data that you generate on a daily basis have to be stored in an adequate place and explored right away. Manipulation can be more dangerous than theft. How so? In the course of the cyber-attack, the only thing that individuals care about is making a profit. The identity of the victim means nothing to them. Hackers don’t hesitate when it comes to compromising the integrity of the information. You don’t have the correct version of the events, so you end up doubting yourself and questioning the very reality. Newer versions are capable of recording deliberate or inadvertent modifications in data files. To be more precise, you can preserve data integrity. If changes take place, the anomaly is reported.

Examining the main types of intrusion detection systems

Intrusion detection systems are categorised as follows:  

  • Active and passive: An active intrusion detection system automatically blocks malicious activity. Intervention isn’t necessary at all and, therefore, the reaction time is a lot faster. The active IDS carries out real-time corrective action. Of course, it needs to be adequately set up and filtered. A passive intrusion detection system does the exact opposite, that is, it simply monitors and analyses network traffic activity. If anything happens, the administrator will be informed.
  • Knowledge-based and behaviour-based:  A knowledge-based intrusion detection system obtains necessary information from the database, which includes profiles of previous attacks and system vulnerabilities. A behaviour-based intrusion detection system works with learned patterns of regular system activity. Anything that happens to be outside the normal system activity will trigger an alert.

The bottom line is that intrusion detection systems are more important than ever. You can’t do without one. Cyber-attacks will no doubt grow and only IT security tools like IDSs can spot hackers before they do irreversible damage.

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