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Network World - High-end intrusion-prevention systems (IPS) move traffic at multigigabit rates and keep exploits out of the enterprise. The problem is they might not do both at the same time.
In lab tests of top-of-the-line IPS systems from six vendors - Ambiron TrustWave (formerly Lucid Security), Demarc Threat Protection Solutions, Fortinet, NFR Security; TippingPoint, a 3Com company; and Top Layer Networks - we encountered numerous trade-offs between performance and security.
Several devices we tested offered line-rate throughput and impressively low latency, but also leaked exploit traffic at these high rates. With other devices, we saw rates drop to zero as IPS systems struggled to fend off attacks.
In our initial round of testing, all IPS systems missed at least one variant of an exploit we expected they'd easily catch - one that causes vulnerable Cisco routers and switches to reboot. While most vendors plugged the hole by our second or third rounds of testing (and 3Com's TippingPoint 5000E spotted all but the most obscure version the first time out), we were surprised that so many vendors missed this simple, well-publicized and potentially devastating attack (see Can anyone stop this exploit?).
These issues make it difficult to pick a winner this time around (see link to NetResults graphic, below). If high performance is the most important criterion in choosing an IPS, the TippingPoint 5000E and Top Layer Networks' IPS 5500 are the clear leaders. They were the fastest boxes on the test bed, posting throughput and latency results more commonly seen in Ethernet switches than in IPS systems.