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Security Watch: Don't Get Bitten by NIPS Hype

Putting aside the vendor's obvious confusion about what the term risk means to most veteran security professionals, the casual reader might wonder what these products actually do. Will they patch my systems? Fix my vulnerable e-commerce applications? Maybe train my developers? How about eliminate my internal threats? Audit my logs? Alleviate my authentication woes?

Or will these products simply sit inline, run my network traffic through a set of inspection algorithms--the same technology base that has my NIDS (network-based intrusion-detection system) devices burying me in false alerts, by the way--and attempt to block bad network streams?

Truth be told, the message is both sexy and horribly misleading. These products don't eliminate your vulnerabilities, they just help stop certain types of attacks. Although there's nothing wrong with a tactical solution that adds a layer to your defenses, let's call a spade a spade: This isn't revolutionary technology; it's evolutionary, and its mutation is far from over.

Clearing the Air

Let's examine some of the predominant factors swirling around the great NIPS debate.

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