If you're just getting started or have been tasked with standing up an IDS/IPS where none was previously, there are a number of things to take into consideration, even before you make your first contact with a vendor.
Some things to start working into you project plan would include:
- Are you going to deploy NIDS (network intrusion detection systems), HIDS (host-based intrusion detection systems) or both, or are you going to deploy NIPS/HIPS (network or host-based intrusion prevention systems)
- Where are you going to deploy your sensors? Depending on the budget being allocated, will you settle for a few "umbrella" sensors, boxes deployed along the perimeter of your network to try and see as many packets as possible? Or will you do targeted deployments, putting sensors in front of web farms, DNS servers, core switches, and critical internal assets such as database servers, payroll and HR?
- How will your sensors monitor packets (this will be determined a lot by whether you go IDS or IPS). Will you use network taps or span ports for IDS? If you use inline IPS, how will you address redundancy? Does fail-open circuitry on your IPS box make you feel confident your phone won't ring at 3 AM when the sensor dies or reboots?
- How will IDS/IPS integrated into your network teams architectural plans? If the network topology changes, will you be able to adapt to things such as a change in media or major increases in bandwidth?
- Who will monitor alerts? What will be your coverage window? If you will be the primary analyst, how is alerting covered during off-hours? Holidays and days off? If a team will handle the duties, is there coverage if a member is out for an extended period of time? Are you considering an MSSP (managed security services provider) to handle the level one monitoring and alerting?
- If this is a new addition to your corporate security infrastructure, will there be training provided for the analysts? (like the SANS Sec 503 Track). What about incident response? Will the intrusion analysts also be the incident handlers? If so, will there be training for that as well?