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What is Microsoft Defender

If you've purchased a Windows OS laptop or desktop computer in the past, you have seen that is comes with something called Microsoft Defender. It started as a free anti-spyware program for Windows and has since evolved into a full anti-virus program that automatically comes with the purchase of a Windows 10 or 11 machine. If you've looked into this a little bit, you also may have seen that there are other Microsoft Defender products that require certain Microsoft 365 licensing to be in place, but what's the difference between them all? Luckily, you have RyanTech to make sure you are well versed in the differences and advantages of all Microsoft Defender products!

Microsoft Defender Plans

In the table below, you can see the different licensed Microsoft Defender plans that are part of Microsoft 365, along with the features each license comes with. Since Microsoft Defender for your Windows device is simply an anti-virus software, Microsoft has built these licensing features to work in conjunction with that. Standard Microsoft Defender can replace software such as McAfee, and others, because it can show if there are any harmful items on the device as well as help you locate it. When you add things like Defender for Endpoint or Business, they work in conjuntion with MS Defender to add enhanced protection by bringing together machine learning, big-date analysis, in-depth threat resistence research and the MS cloud infrastructure to protect your business' devices. Feel free to click the links in the table below to learn more about each license and feature.

What's included
Defender for Endpoint Plan 1
Defender for Endpoint Plan 2All of the Defender for Endpoint Plan 1 capabilities, plus:
Defender Vulnerability Management add-onMore Defender Vulnerability Management capabilities for Defender for Endpoint Plan 2:
Defender for Business [1]Services optimized for small and medium-sized businesses include:
  • Email protection
  • Antispam protection
  • Antimalware protection
  • Next-generation protection
  • Attack surface reduction
  • Endpoint detection and response
  • Automated investigation and response
  • Vulnerability management
  • Centralized reporting
  • APIs (for integration with custom apps or reporting solutions)
  • Integration with Microsoft 365 Lighthouse

source: https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/security/defender-endpoint/defender-endpoint-plan-1-2?view=o365-worldwide

Defender Licensing

There are different avenues of getting licensed for Defender for Endpoint or Business. It can come bundled with other M365 licensing, or it can be added a la carte to your current licensing model. Here are the a la carte and bundles that each can be added with as well as the pricing for each:

1. Defender for Endpoint Plan 1 - $3/user/month

     - This also comes bundled in the EMS E3 ($10.60/user/month) and M365 E3 ($36/user/month) licenses 

2. Defender for Endpoint Plan 2 - $5.20/user/month

     - This also comes bundled in EMS E5 ($16.40/user/month) or M365 E5 licenses ($57/user/month)

3. Defender for Business - $3/user/month

     - This also comes bundled in M365 Business Premium ($22/user/month)

So, if you would like to simply add these licenses on to take advantage of the added security, that can always be done, but you also may have it in your current licensing or can upgrade to bundle it in with other extensive features included in the higher licensing.

Why Microsoft Defender?

Lastly, it's important to know why choosing Microsoft Defender for Endpoint or Business is better than simply than using any old anti-virus software. Sure, anti-virus software has been around a long time and has proven to give you what you need to identify threats within the device it is applied to, but it doesn't give that extra sense of security that MS Defender will give you. Defender is more than just an anti-virus and can be extremely comprehensive when combined with security features and products in M365 to give you the best possible protection from threats that are becoming more and more common. Some of the features that come with Defender that you will not get in a standard anti-virus are endpoint protection and response (EDR), automated investigation and remediation (AIR), attack surface reduction and threat and vulerability management, among other things. In today's world, it doesn't hurt to have more protection as it continues to adapt to the higher security items being applied to businesses. Hackers have proven that nothing will stop them from figuring out how to gain access to businesses regardless of the security features in place. Thankfully, Microsoft knows exactly that and continues to improve and adopt security products and features to combat those threats.

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