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Blog | 6-minute Read

What is Microsoft Defender for Endpoint?

Mat Richard profile headshot

Mathew Richards

Head of Mobility and Security

Published: 29 February 2024

Microsoft are a leader in the 2023 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Endpoint Protection Platforms. Learn why Defender for Endpoint plays a pivotal part in this.

Consider the number of endpoints in your organisation.

It’s a lot, isn’t it?

A smorgasbord of devices and applications being accessed in different ways, at different times, from different locations.

And every endpoint is a potential point of attack for the cyber bad guys. Presenting a relentless threat to your organisation that you simply can’t afford to ignore.

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80-90% of compromises originate from unmanaged devices.

Microsoft Digital Defence Report 2023

Bringing order to endpoint security chaos

We regularly see clients investing in a patchwork quilt of security tools. Not only is this adding to licence costs, but it also creates issues around effective analysis and management.

Tools that work in silos, offering a fragmented view of the estate. IT teams, already maxed out, are overloaded with data and alerts from multiple sources. Putting additional strain on workloads, slowing response times, and further confusing an already complex endpoint environment.

It’s a recipe for undermined security posture, and a pathway to attack compromise and data breach.

And with so many devices in use, endpoint security is particularly vulnerable.

Microsoft Defender for Endpoint offers a solution. A way to bring order out of potential chaos via state-of-the-art technology, AI-driven threat intelligence, and seamless integration with the rest of your Microsoft ecosystem.

The Ultimate Guide to Microsoft Enterprise Security

Microsoft security simplified. Download your 40-page guide.

Why choose Defender for Endpoint?

This what Microsoft have to say:

“Defender for Endpoint is an endpoint security platform that helps organisations secure their digital estate using AI-powered, industry-leading endpoint detection and response across all platforms, devices, and Internet of Things (IoT).

It is core to Microsoft Defender XDR.

Built on the industry’s broadest threat intelligence informed by more than 65 trillion daily signals and over 10,000 security experts, it empowers security teams to fend off sophisticated threats.”

[Microsoft Security Blog]

In breaking this statement down, let’s first look at some of Defender for Endpoint’s core features.

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Advanced threat intelligence

Being part of the wider Microsoft ecosystem means it’s uniquely placed to deliver unrivalled threat intelligence. This is drawn from 65 trillion signals per day across the Microsoft cloud environment (from Azure to Xbox). Signals that are further augmented by insight and intelligence gathered from a global security network of more than 10,000 experts.

This intelligence forms the backbone of Defender for Endpoint’s ability to identify and respond to attacker tools, techniques, and procedures (TTPs).

When combined with the data from endpoint sensors, this rich source of intelligence allows Defender for Endpoint to generate timely alerts and automate responses to advanced threats, effectively neutralising them before they can cause harm​​.

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Endpoint behavioural sensors

Endpoint behavioural sensors bring another layer of vital intelligence by collecting and processing signals from the operating system.

It enables detection of malicious activities and anomalies in activity, picking up anything that deviates from normal patterns.

Granular insight that lets Defender for Endpoint identify potential threats at their inception. Rapid detection and response that significantly reduces the risk of a breach​​.

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Automated investigation and remediation

One of the most significant advantages of Defender for Endpoint is its automated investigation and remediation capabilities.

In the face of thousands of alerts, IT teams can easily become overwhelmed. Defender for Endpoint addresses this challenge by automating the investigation process. It uses AI to analyse threats, executing remediation actions to resolve incidents quickly and efficiently. This not only reduces the workload on security teams but also accelerates the response time to threats.

Which minimises the costs and impact of any attack.

A unified security posture

Perhaps the most significant benefit of Defender for Endpoint is how it contributes to the development of a unified security posture. It’s an integral part of the broader Microsoft Defender suite. And as such, offers up a comprehensive and joined-up protection that spans endpoints, identities, applications, and cloud services.

Microsoft, in fact, see Defender for Endpoint as a core part of its AI-driven unified security platform, Microsoft Defender XDR.

This brings all the tools together into a single cloud-solution. Intelligence and investigation combined with extended detection and response. Providing advanced disruption to cyber threats like ransomware, business email compromise (BEC), or attacker-in-the-middle.

Extending this unified approach across the ecosystem

Of course, the advantage Defender for Endpoint offers Microsoft users is the way in which each tool integrates seamlessly with others. Further fortifying the security of your environment, but also improving the efficiency and experience for its users.

Integrations that include (but are not limited to):

Defender for Endpoint licence requirements

Microsoft offers Defender for Endpoint in two primary plans:

  • Defender for Endpoint Plan 1 (P1): Aimed at providing foundational endpoint protection capabilities, including antimalware, attack surface reduction rules, and device-based conditional access. This plan is designed for organisations needing essential protection with a cost-effective solution.

  • Defender for Endpoint Plan 2 (P2): Offers comprehensive endpoint security features, including all the capabilities of P1 plus advanced threat hunting, detection, and response tools, automated investigation and remediation, and in-depth threat analytics. P2 is tailored for organisations requiring a more robust defence against sophisticated cyber threats.

For Microsoft 365 licence holders, P1 is available within the E3 licence, with P2 available as part of the E5 licence. Plus, Microsoft 365 Business Premium licence holders have access to Defender for Business, built on the Defender for Endpoint capabilities and offering advanced device protection.

Why choose Defender for Endpoint?

Well, it delivers on a range of benefits felt by your IT team and the business as a whole.

Such as:

  • Creating a strong, unified security posture that closes security gaps and enables strong security across all devices, everywhere.

  • Improving IT team work load, efficiency, and accuracy by automating tasks and reducing data overload.

  • Providing unrivalled threat intelligence alongside advanced protection and attack disruption, preventing the costly effects of a breach.

Moreover, as a Microsoft user, Defender for Endpoint really is the logical choice.

It’s available within existing licences and provides comprehensive detection and protection for your devices. Not only allowing you to rationalise your vendor licence costs but helping enable a cyber security strategy that stretches across your entire estate.

Key takeaways

  • Defender for Endpoint is an industry-leading AI-driven endpoint security solution.

  • It provides organisations with unrivalled intelligence and advanced attack disruption.

  • It integrates with all Microsoft tools to enable a unified and strong security posture.

  • It’s a core component of Microsoft’s cloud-based and AI-powered advanced XDR solution.

The Ultimate Guide to Microsoft Enterprise Security

Microsoft security simplified. Download your 40-page guide.

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Mat Richard profile headshot


Mathew Richards

Mat is Kocho’s Head of Mobility and Security. He leads a team of consultants and architects that live and breathe secure transformation – delivering excellence across Microsoft 365 and Azure.

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