IDS vs SIEM - What is the difference?

16.08.2019 Read
IDS vs SIEM - What is the difference?

In the cyber security circles, IDS and SIEM are two tools that are mentioned together. Are they the same? In this article we compared and discussed these two tools in detail. The advancements in the information technologies have led us to be more dependent on technology both in our daily lives and businesses.

On a regular day, your business sends and receives at least hundreds gigabytes of information –or more, depending on the size of your operations and the field you are in. This fast paced way of communication accelerates our business processes and allows us to get more things done in a short period of time. But also, being able to share this much information all day every day makes our systems and businesses more vulnerable to cyber attacks, hackers and data thieves. You might consider your business safe in regard to such threats but in fact, a vast majority of cyber attacks target random victims who were attacked because their security precautions were simply not enough. Moreover, such attacks can remain undetected for prolonged periods of time if your systems don’t have adequate cyber thread detection mechanisms that can notify you in the event of an intrusion, thus these malicious attacks have a greater and sometimes irreversible impact on your business.

As a result, it is essential that you invest in proper software and cyber security solutions in order to keep your data and business safe. IDS and SIEM are two most popular and widely compatible security solutions that can do wonders for your business’ security posture. In this blog post we will discuss and compare these tools that are fundamental parts of an enterprise network.

What is IDS?
Intrusion Detection System (IDS) is a technology that oversees the activity in your network in order to detect any suspicious activity and notify you about it. There are two types of IDS tools: Host-Based Intrusion Detection Systems (HIDS) and Network-Based Intrusion Detection Systems (NIDS). These types of IDS are capable of detecting attacks that target signatures, anomalies or both. Any type of IDS serves to detect intrusion through monitoring the traffic closely. HIDS focuses on the incoming and outgoing traffic of a server or a network interface card (NIC). In addition, most of the current HIDS also oversee application activity as well in order to provide a more well-rounded protection. On the other hand, NIDS focuses on the network traffic through sensors on firewalls, routers and other network devices. Yet NIDS cannot make sense of encrypted traffic.

What is SIEM?

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) tools bring Security Information Management (SIM) and Security Event Management (SEM) together to provide a strong façade for your systems. SIEM gathers security related data from various sources and analyses it. Also SIEM solutions can help your business with the compliance related issues. IDS vs SIEM Firstly, it is vital to state that whatever the kind is, an IDS is only able to identify an attack. On its own, it is unable to prevent a possible attack or stop an ongoing attack from reaching and/or compromising the target. In a sense, IDS is a rather passive tool. It brings together the traffic data and identify any anomalies or suspicious activities in that data. IDS can keep logs and alert the administrators in the event of a breach or attack. On the other hand, SIEM has the ability to act on a security event as the M of management in the name suggests. Additionally, SIEM tools allow the user to take preventive action against cyber attacks.

In order to provide a 360 defence, IDS and SIEM solutions work together. IDS tools detect all kinds of suspicious activity, violation or security event that happens within the scope of your systems and network. Then SIEM is informed about such activities to notify administrators and take necessary actions.

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