If you have a computer network then you need to ensure an intrusion detection system (IDS) is a part of your cybersecurity strategy. The value of monitoring the traffic on your network far outweighs the cost of a breach. Although most IDS systems are commercial, there are a few open-source IDS solutions.

Snort and Suricata are popular open-source firewall/IDS solutions, but come with a few drawbacks. For a small operation they may work well, but for medium or larger networks they can bring more work and less value. Their key drawback at this time is that Snort/Suricata-capable devices do not communicate with other capable devices on the network, nor are they centrally managed. With cyberattacks becoming more sophisticated, a security-conscious organization needs a better solution.

There is a third major player in the open-source IDS game. The Bro Network Security Monitor, developed originally by higher education, provides both a network protocol analyzer and a security tool. It’s strength is the ability to correlate traffic across multiple Bro devices on a network, and add additional and customizable plugins. In other words, instead of having multiple independent IDS boxes on your network, you could have a single clustered system that correlates information across the network.

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