Hidden Management and Administration Costs Coupled with Lower than StatedPerformance Can Disguise the True Value of IPS Products

AUSTIN, Texas – October 4, 2012 – NSS Labs today released the final results and analysis from its 2012 Group Test for IPS, which evaluated 10 leading IPS vendors and 15 products. While testing shows that IPS is a competitive market with several vendors obtaining high marks for security effectiveness, it is apparent from this latest report that enterprise customers could end up paying hundreds of thousands of dollars more than they need to in larger deployments.

Once Security Effectiveness and Performance are Factored In, the Actual Value of an IPS Can Change Dramatically

In order to capture the relative value of devices and facilitate comparisons, NSS Labs has developed unique metrics that enable enterprises to perform value-based comparisons and negotiate more favorable pricing.

  • Almost 50% of products proved to be overpriced once security effectiveness & tested (vs. vendor claimed) performance were factored into pricing.
  • 33% of products tested proved to be better value for the money being asked by the vendor, with tested performance far exceeding the vendor-rated specifications.
  • Vendor throughput claims are often exaggerated, with over 50% testing below their claimed performance (from -9% to as much as -71%)

Management Console Licensing & Architectural Structure Lead to Huge Cost Differences

Management considerations should not be overlooked when making an IPS purchase as architecture and licensing structures can vary greatly by vendor, creating significant cost differences even for the same size deployment.

  • For a 10 sensor deployment, first-year management costs ranged from $7k to $40k
  • For a 100 sensor deployment, the range was $26k to $110k
  • For a 250 sensor deployment, the range was even wider, varying from $31k to $300k

Vendors also vary greatly in licensing structures and the number of devices managed per license package. Therefore, understanding the number of devices needed and how a vendor’s management architecture works is critical for customers.

Commentary: NSS Labs Chief Research Officer Bob Walder

“While our 2012 Security Value Map shows that IPS is definitely a mature market, a deeper dive into the Comparative Analysis Reports™ shows that the market is not as commoditized as it might seem,” said Bob Walder, Chief Research Officer at NSS Labs. “There is still significant differentiation – no two products deliver the same security effectiveness or throughput, and with management consoles there are some real pitfalls and traps of which companies need to beware in order to create an effective management infrastructure. Understanding and navigating the hidden costs and trade-offs relative to each IPS has become far more important than comparing speed versus protection in years past and creates more homework for the customer.”

The products covered in the 2012 SVM for IPS are:

  • CheckPoint 12600
  • Fortinet Fortigate 3240C
  • HP TippingPoint 6100N
  • IBM GX7800
  • Juniper IDP 8200
  • Juniper SRX 3600
  • McAfee M8000
  • McAfee XC Cluster
  • Palo Alto PA-5020
  • SonicWALL SuperMassive
  • Sourcefire 3D8120
  • Sourcefire 3D8250
  • Sourcefire 3D8260
  • Sourcefire Virtual IPS
  • Stonesoft 1302

NSS Labs did not receive any compensation in return for vendor participation; All testing and research was conducted free of charge.