Retail version of Microsoft Defender for Business is now available
Microsoft‘s “standalone” edition of its Defender for Business, a security solution for small and medium-sized businesses, has reached “general availability”.
Microsoft Defender for Business has previously been released as part of the Microsoft Business Premium suite of solutions, as announced in March. The standalone edition, now also released, is sold separately from the premium suite. Both offerings are for organizations with up to 300 “seats” or users.
Microsoft Defender for Business Costs
It costs $3 per user per month for Microsoft Defender for Business standalone product vs. $22 per user per month for the Microsoft Business Premium product. The premium product, however, is a comprehensive software bundle that also includes Office apps, Azure Information Protection, Azure Active Directory Premium P1, Azure Virtual Desktop, and Microsoft Intune.
Microsoft sells its Defender for Business standalone edition product through its product sheet or through partners. It is possible to start a subscription via the Microsoft Admin Center portal.
The standalone edition of Microsoft Defender for Business is designed as an “endpoint detection and response” solution that provides “enterprise-grade” security at an “affordable” price for small and medium-sized businesses, according to the announcement. Vasu Jakkal, vice president of Microsoft. president for security, compliance, identity and management.
Microsoft Defender for Business features include:
- Threat and Vulnerability Management
- Reduced attack surface
- “Next-gen protection” (i.e. anti-malware and anti-virus protections)
- Endpoint detection and response (for behavior-based threat detections)
- Automatic investigation and correction
Guest operating system support
The “endpoints” currently protected by Microsoft Defender for Business are client devices, which are devices running Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows operating systems.
There is a small catch for users of Microsoft Defender for Business standalone edition regarding some non-Windows clients. Namely, “Android and iOS/iPadOS device integration requires a license for Microsoft Intune“, which is Microsoft’s mobile management solution, according to a Microsoft FAQ. The Intune requirement would be an additional cost, or it’s included in Microsoft’s more expensive premium plan.
Additionally, Microsoft currently provides a “simplified” wizard for setting up the standalone edition of Microsoft Defender for Business with Windows and macOS client devices. However, if an organization wants to configure the standalone edition of Microsoft Defender for Business with Android and iOS devices, they will need to use Microsoft Intune.
On the macOS side, Microsoft plans to add “simplified management of antivirus and next-generation firewall settings in the Microsoft 365 Defender Portal“, which will come “later”, according to a Microsoft Tech Community Post.
Microsoft may be considering adding a simplified setup wizard for Android and iOS devices as well as with the Microsoft Defender for Business standalone edition product. The tech community post said that Microsoft is “committed to enabling a broader set of management scenarios for mobile device security on the roadmap.”
Server OS support coming soon
Support for Linux or Windows servers in the standalone edition of Microsoft Defender for Business will arrive “later this year”, according to the tech community announcement. This upcoming server support will be available as an “add-on” to the product. Microsoft has not indicated whether this add-on will incur additional costs for subscribers.
The configuration of the standalone Microsoft Defender for Business server implementation varies depending on the operating system used. Here’s how the Microsoft Tech Community announcement explained it:
The Windows Server experience will be the same as the Windows client. Linux servers will use deployment scripts allowing you to integrate with your existing management platforms such as Chef, Puppet and Ansible.
Upsell Opportunity for Partners
For partners, the standalone edition of Microsoft Defender for Business is being promoted by Microsoft as an “upsell” vehicle to move customers to the Microsoft 365 Business Premium suite, according to a blog post by Dan Truax, General Manager of Global Partner Solutions at Microsoft.