Microsoft Rolling Out New Defender for Business to Office 365 Subscribers
- By Kurt Mackie
- March 01, 2022
Microsoft Defender for Business, a new security solution for small-to-medium organizations, is now at the "general availability" commercial-release stage for Microsoft 365 Business Premium subscribers, per a Tuesday Microsoft announcement.
Microsoft 365 Business Premium subscribers can take advantage of the company's new small-to-medium organization security solution, Microsoft Defender for Business.
Aimed at orgs with up to 300 employees, Microsoft's latest security solution was unveiled at last year's Ignite conference and reached the preview stage in December. Microsoft Defender for Business is an addition to Microsoft 365 Business Premium subscriptions, which today coincidentally are getting a $2 per user per month price hike. Other Microsoft 365 and Office 356 security products also are getting price increases today, which Microsoft had announced back in August.
For existing Microsoft 365 Business Premium customers, Microsoft Defender for Business now will start appearing in the "Endpoint section" of the Microsoft 365 Defender Security Portal "over the next few weeks." No IT actions are needed to get it.
For new Microsoft 365 Business Premium subscribers, Microsoft Defender for Business is available now.
Microsoft also has plans to release a so-called "standalone" Microsoft Defender for Business product, which "will be coming later this year," the announcement indicated, without further elaboration.
Security Support for Small Fry
Microsoft Defender for Business isn't just the Microsoft Defender antimalware solution for client devices. It does add such protection across client devices, including devices running the Android, iOS, macOS and Windows operating systems. Microsoft is also currently evaluating adding support for Linux or Windows servers as well, but Microsoft Defender for Business lacks those capabilities today.
On top of antimalware protection, Microsoft Defender for Business brings the following capabilities to small-to-medium organizations:
- Threat and vulnerability management
- Attack surface reduction
- Next-generation protection
- Endpoint detection and response, and
- Automated investigation and remediation capabilities.
Small-to-medium organizations subscribing to Microsoft Defender for Business get Microsoft's security operation team's support. It's a perk for smaller organizations, which may have just one IT person doing everything, according to Rob Lefferts, corporate vice president of security at Microsoft, in a Tuesday Microsoft Mechanics video and post:
One person in a small organization might be on point to run everything from IT to security. All the way from setting up new PCs, to being able to protect against the latest and greatest security attacks. So we're fixing that with Microsoft Defender for Business. We do the work of a dedicated sec ops team for you by continuously detecting, and automatically remediating the majority of threats without you having to do it yourself.
Lefferts added that Microsoft Defender for Business automatically investigates possible security incidents on a "24x7" basis, and users get a dashboard view. IT pros get the ability to isolate and lock potentially compromised devices using the service.
Microsoft 365 Lighthouse for Partners
Some organizations may have their Microsoft 365 services overseen by Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) partners. These CSP partners can use Microsoft 365 Lighthouse to manage those customer subscriptions. Moreover, Lefferts explained that Microsoft has "integrated Microsoft Defender for Business into our Microsoft 365 Lighthouse experience."
The security oversights and alerts provided by Microsoft Defender for Business are "being rolled out gradually" to Microsoft 365 Lighthouse users, Microsoft indicated.
Microsoft 365 Lighthouse is free, but it's just available to Microsoft's partners in the CSP program. It can be used to manage Microsoft Defender for Business standalone subscriptions (when commercially released), as well as Microsoft 365 Business Premium or Microsoft 365 E3 subscriptions.
The product apparently is emerging from the preview stage since its introduction last year, although some of its features (such as the new "Granular Delegated Access Permissions" roles for carrying out least-privilege access) are still at the preview stage. Microsoft 365 Lighthouse now supports up to 1,000 Microsoft 365 E3 licenses (up from 500 licenses during the initial preview release).
Microsoft has since improved Microsoft 365 Lighthouse's compliance capabilities for multiple tenancies in the product's latest release. It's also added "Windows 365 monitoring and management," referring to Microsoft's Windows 365 desktop-as-a-service offering. The product additionally lets CSP partners view Microsoft 365 use data, plus they can check audit logs to review actions. Microsoft 365 Lighthouse also now includes support for Microsoft 365 E3 subscribers.
Microsoft 365 Lighthouse shouldn't be confused with Azure Lighthouse, which is a free multitenant management solution for Microsoft's customers and managed services partners overseeing Azure services.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.