Do you even need an IPS?

Defense against network attacks is always a concern. However, the decision to deploy an intrusion prevention system depends on various factors. An IPS can be an expensive investment, so consider the following to help determine if you need one.

Visibility: It's said that the best security is obscurity. If your network is not very visible'that is, it's accessed by relatively few users and has a domain not widely published'then it's less of a target than more visible networks and may not require an IPS.

Value of information: If the information in your network is not proprietary, an attack might not have a big impact. Measuring risk is important to the IPS decision.

Security update frequency: A network that's updated automatically and frequently will be less vulnerable to attack than a system that's updated manually and sporadically. Which is to say, if you practice good network maintenance, you may have less need for an IPS.

Homogenous operating systems: Similarly, if your networked computers run a single OS, they're easier to keep secure. When you have a network with disparate operating systems, it is harder to keep them updated, and attacks have a better chance of getting through.

Size of network: A small network presents a smaller target. The larger your network is, the harder it is to protect and the more an IPS makes sense. 'Greg Crowe

About the Author

Greg Crowe is a former GCN staff writer who covered mobile technology.

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