The network intrusion prevention system is an indispensable component in an enterprise security architecture. While legacy IPS functionality does protect against the majority of cyber threats, vendors are challenged to adapt to emerging threats. Next generation IPS (NGIPS) has the protection features, flexibility, and scalability to empower enterprise customers to defend their networks and data from the most stealthy and sophisticated cyber attacks. Consequently, NGIPS features will elevate IPS market sales.
In recent years, the hacker profile has changed. Hackers are now more organized, skilled, and motivated than in previous years. Many security professionals postulate that nation-states are responsible for the most pernicious cyber attacks such as Operation Aurora, Stuxnet, or Flame.
Consequently, hackers now engage in cyber terrorism, sabotage, and espionage against specific corporate or government targets.
Hackers seek to penetrate specific corporate or government networks undetected using multi-stage attacks that exploit multiple vulnerabilities that are specific to their victim. This type of attack is known in the industry as an advanced persistent threat (APT).
Hackers also create malicious software, known as malware, with advanced capabilities. Advanced malware employs techniques to defeat traditional network security devices such as polymorphic code and zero-day vulnerabilities (vulnerabilities which are unknown by the security industry).
Once the hacker has penetrated the network defenses, they then disable security systems, obfuscate evidence of the breach, and install control and communications systems for future actions.
Hackers can then move laterally throughout the network to find and exfiltrate valuable data, sabotage systems, or recruit victims’ resources as automated computers called “bots” for use in other attacks.
Many organizations mistakenly think they are safe because they lack valuable data or secrets; however, hackers also aim to collect resources for other criminal purposes.
Traditionally, intrusion prevention systems (IPS) inspected network traffic for threats based on specific patterns. These products are now challenged to identify advanced threats that have been custom tailored to a specific organization’s weaknesses or slightly altered to defeat simple detection methods.
As enterprise customers demand better security solutions to combat these next generation of security threats, IPS vendors have responded by developing next generation IPS (NGIPS) features.
Thus, NGIPS is a set of features that provide greater contextual awareness and advanced malware detection engines, which enhances the IPS’ ability to detect and stop advanced, custom threats.
Customers’ improved security awareness has driven interest in the new threat detection functionality offered in IPS products. This has helped IPS vendors to remain competitive despite the trend towards converged, value-oriented security products in the industry.
The IPS market continues to face many challenges going forward such as customer confusion about product definitions, changing threat vectors, evolving enterprise technologies, and business value.
IPS vendors that are incapable of adequately addressing these challenges will soon be acquired by security companies that seek to provide a comprehensive security portfolio.
This study examines IPS market challenges, as well as the strategies, products, and progress of key market participants with the ultimate goal of identifying strategic recommendations that will foster future market growth.
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