What is Microsoft Defender for Business? Everything you need to know

Microsoft Defender for Business on a laptop

Microsoft Defender for Business is a powerful new endpoint security product from Microsoft that was announced at Microsoft Ignite in November 2021.

What is Microsoft Defender for Business?

Microsoft Defender for Business is an enterprise-grade endpoint security product, specifically designed for small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) with under 300 employees.

In recent years, there has been a paradigm shift amongst SMB business leaders; C-suite executives now understand that their organisations are targets for cyber attacks and it isn’t only large enterprises that require protection against rapidly evolving cyber threats. Microsoft Defender for Business is designed to address this, giving SMBs the advanced protection they need to identify and manage vulnerabilities and threats, delivering cutting-edge tools to combat ransomware, extortion, persistent threats and more.

Defender for Business includes much of the same powerful functionality as Microsoft Defender for Endpoint Plan 2, which is Microsoft’s award-winning enterprise endpoint security product.

Defender for Business includes more functionality than the recently announced Defender for Endpoint Plan 1 (a lightweight version of Defender for Endpoint), but we should stress that we will not be recommending the Plan 1 SKU to our customers—due to the absence of the key security features which make the Defender for Endpoint Plan 2 product such a compelling and powerful offering.

Is Microsoft Defender for Business included in my existing Microsoft subscription?

Microsoft 365 Business Premium customers will get Microsoft Defender for Business added to their existing subscriptions upon General Availability (date TBC). This product announcement is a major statement from Microsoft—Defender for Business will add significant value to SMBs with Business Premium subscriptions globally. With Microsoft having already announced pricing increases for their Microsoft 365 commercial subscriptions, Defender for Business will help to justify the uplift in costs for customers.

Defender for Business will also be available as a standalone offering at $3 (£2.20) per user per month via Microsoft direct, or the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program, providing an affordable price point for SMBs without Microsoft 365 Business Premium.

What’s included in Microsoft Defender for Business?

The table below compares the functionality of Microsoft’s three endpoint security products (i.e. Defender for Business and Defender for Endpoint Plans 1 and 2) as we understand it. This should only be read as a rough guide, as this is solely based on our initial understanding of the new Defender for Business product from the limited materials available at this time:

Introducing Microsoft Defender for Business (Microsoft Blog Article)

Microsoft Defender for Business (Microsoft Product Page)

An official comparison of Defender for Endpoint’s Plan 1 vs Plan 2 functionality is also available from Microsoft.

We believe that anything included in Microsoft Defender for Endpoint Plan 1, will likely be in Microsoft Defender for Business. In terms of how Defender for Business compares to Defender for Endpoint Plan 2, there are a few ‘grey areas’ remaining until an official chart is released.

Features Defender for Endpoint Plan 1 Defender for Business Defender for Endpoint Plan 2
Centralized management
Controlled folder access
Device-based conditional access
Security reports
APIs + SIEM integration
Application control
Attack surface reduction
Manual response actions
Network protection
Next-generation protection (antimalware and antivirus)
Web control / category-based URL blocking
Device control
Endpoint firewall
Advanced hunting ?
Device discovery ?
Threat intelligence (Threat Analytics) ?
Automated investigation and remediation
Endpoint detection and response
Threat and vulnerability management
Microsoft Threat Experts
Sandbox (Deep analysis)

When will Microsoft Defender for Business be available?

We only know that Microsoft Defender for Business will be coming to ‘public preview’ soon.

At this early stage, we don’t know when Defender for Business will become generally available and when it will be added to your Business Premium subscriptions.

To keep up to date with these ongoing developments, bookmark this page and follow Chorus on LinkedIn for the latest news and developments around Microsoft’s security offerings.

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