What is Microsoft Defender?

What is Microsoft Defender?

Ataira Business Intelligence Ataira - Updated Jan 22, 2023

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Overview

Microsoft Defender for Business is a cybersecurity solution designed to protect businesses from various types of online threats, such as malware, viruses, and ransomware. This solution is built into Windows 10 and is available as a standalone product for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.

One of the key features of Microsoft Defender for Business is its ability to detect and block malware before it can infect a system. It uses advanced machine learning algorithms to analyze files and behaviors, and can detect even the most sophisticated malware. Additionally, it can detect and block malicious websites, email attachments, and other types of threats.

Another important feature of Microsoft Defender for Business is its ability to protect against ransomware. This type of malware can encrypt important files and demand payment for the decryption key. Microsoft Defender for Business can detect and block ransomware attacks, and also provides an option to restore encrypted files from a previous version.

Microsoft Defender for Business also includes a feature called "Device Guard," which allows businesses to create a "whitelist" of approved apps and prevent the execution of any unapproved apps. This helps to prevent employees from inadvertently installing malware on their devices.

In addition to these features, Microsoft Defender for Business also includes a centralized management console, which allows IT administrators to monitor and manage the security of all devices on their network. They can view security alerts, configure policies, and perform other tasks.

Microsoft Defender for Business also has the ability to protect against cyber attacks, it uses a combination of signature-based detection, behavioral-based detection, and cloud-based protection to detect and respond to cyber threats in near real-time.

Overall, Microsoft Defender for Business is a comprehensive cybersecurity solution that can help businesses protect against a wide range of online threats. With its advanced malware detection capabilities, ransomware protection, and centralized management console, businesses can be confident that their devices and networks are well protected.

Microsoft Defender for Office 365

Every Office 365 subscription comes with security capabilities. The goals and actions that you can take depend on the focus of these different subscriptions. In Office 365 security, there are three main security services (or products) tied to your subscription type:

  • Exchange Online Protection (EOP)
  • Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Plan 1 (Defender for Office P1)
  • Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Plan 2 (Defender for Office P2)

Office 365 security builds on the core protections offered by EOP. EOP is present in any subscription where Exchange Online mailboxes can be found (remember, all the security products discussed here are Cloud-based).

You may be accustomed to seeing these three components discussed in this way:

Exchange Online ProtectionMicrosoft Defender for Office 365 P1Microsoft Defender for Office 365 P2
Prevents broad, volume-based, known attacksProtects email and collaboration from zero-day malware, phish, and business email compromiseAdds post-breach investigation, hunting, and response, as well as automation, and simulation (for training)

The core of Office 365 security is EOP protection. Microsoft Defender for Office 365 P1 contains EOP in it. Defender for Office 365 P2 contains P1 and EOP. The structure is cumulative. That’s why, when configuring this product, you should start with EOP and work to Defender for Office 365.

Though email authentication configuration takes place in public DNS, it’s important to configure this feature to help defend against spoofing. If you have EOP, you should configure email authentication.

If you have an Office 365 E3, or below, you have EOP, but with the option to buy standalone Defender for Office 365 P1 through upgrade. If you have Office 365 E5, you already have Defender for Office 365 P2.

If your subscription is neither Office 365 E3 or E5, you can still check to see if you have the option to upgrade to Microsoft Defender for Office 365 P1. If you’re interested.

The Office 365 security ladder from EOP to Microsoft Defender for Office 365
EOP and Microsoft Defender for Office 365 and their security emphasis, going from Protect and Detect to Investigate and Respond. Email Authentication configuration (at least DKIM and DMARC) should be set up for EOP and up.

What makes adding Microsoft Defender for Office 365 plans an advantage to pure EOP threat management can be difficult to tell at first glance. To help sort out if an upgrade path is right for your organization, let’s look at the capabilities of each product when it comes to:

  • preventing and detecting threats
  • investigating
  • responding

Exchange Online Protection Features

Prevent/DetectInvestigateRespond
  • Spam
  • Phish
  • Malware
  • Bulk mail
  • Spoof intelligence
  • Impersonation detection
  • Admin Quarantine
  • Admin and user submissions of False Positives and False Negatives
  • Allow/Block for URLs and Files Reports
  • Audit log search
  • Message Trace
  • Zero-hour Auto-Purge (ZAP)
  • Refinement and testing of Allow and Block lists

Defender for Office 365 Plan 1 Features

Because these products are cumulative, if you evaluate Microsoft Defender for Office 365 P1 and decide to subscribe to it, you’ll add these abilities.

Prevent/DetectInvestigateRespond
Technologies include everything in EOP plus:

 

  • Safe attachments
  • Safe links
  • Microsoft Defender for Office 365 protection for workloads (ex. SharePoint Online, Teams, OneDrive for Business)
  • Time-of-click protection in email, Office clients, and Teams
  • Anti-phishing in Defender for Office 365
  • User and domain impersonation protection
  • Alerts, and SIEM integration API for alerts
Technologies include everything in EOP plus:

 

  • SIEM integration API for detections
  • Real-time detections tool
  • URL trace
Same as EOP

Microsoft Defender for Office 365 P1 expands on the prevention side of the house, and adds extra forms of detection.

Microsoft Defender for Office 365 P1 also adds Real-time detections for investigations. This threat hunting tool’s name is in bold because having it is clear means of knowing you have Defender for Office 365 P1. It doesn’t appear in Defender for Office 365 P2.

Defender for Office 365 Plan 2 Features

Prevent/DetectInvestigateRespond
Same as Microsoft Defender for Office 365 P1Technologies include everything in EOP,
and Microsoft Defender for Office 365 P1 plus:

 

  • Threat Explorer
  • Threat Trackers
  • Campaign views
Technologies include everything in EOP,
and Microsoft Defender for Office 365 P1 plus:

 

  • Automated Investigation and Response (AIR)
  • AIR from Threat Explorer
  • AIR for compromised users
  • SIEM Integration API for Automated Investigations

Microsoft Defender for Office 365 P2 expands on the investigation and response side of the house, and adds a new hunting strength. Automation.

In Microsoft Defender for Office 365 P2, the primary hunting tool is called Threat Explorer rather than Real-time detections. If you see Threat Explorer when you navigate to the Security center, you’re in Microsoft Defender for Office 365 P2.

EOP and Microsoft Defender for Office 365 are also different when it comes to end-users. In EOP and Defender for Office 365 P1, the focus is awareness, and so those two services include the Report message Outlook add-in so users can report emails they find suspicious, for further analysis.

In Defender for Office 365 P2 (which contains everything in EOP and P1), the focus shifts to further training for end-users, and so the Security Operations Center has access to a powerful Threat Simulator tool, and the end-user metrics it provides.

Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Plan 1 vs. Plan 2

This quick-reference will help you understand what capabilities come with each Microsoft Defender for Office 365 subscription. When combined with your knowledge of EOP features, it can help business decision makers determine what Microsoft Defender for Office 365 is best for their needs.

Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Plan 1 vs. Plan 2 cheat sheet
Defender for Office 365 Plan 1Defender for Office 365 Plan 2
Configuration, protection, and detection capabilities:

 

  • Safe Attachments
  • Safe Links
  • Safe Attachments for SharePoint, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams
  • Anti-phishing protection in Defender for Office 365
  • Real-time detections
Defender for Office 365 Plan 1 capabilities

 

— plus —

Automation, investigation, remediation, and education capabilities:

  • Threat Trackers
  • Threat Explorer
  • Automated investigation and response
  • Attack Simulator

How to purchase Microsoft Defender for Office 365

As an authorized Microsoft reseller, Ataira is able to offer Microsoft Defender for Office 365 to it’s customers. To purchase simply follow the normal checkout procedures and click the link to authorize Ataira as a Microsoft reseller for your organization. An important caveat to the provisioning process is that you must purchase or have purchased one of the base subscriptions below from Ataira.

Microsoft Defender for Office 365 base subscriptions:

To see a list of all Microsoft Defender for Office 365 available follow the link below:

Buy Microsoft Defender Plan 1 Monthly Subscriptions – Ataira
Buy Microsoft Defender Plan 2 Monthly Subscriptions – Ataira