Microsoft Launches Defender for Business to Help Protect Small and Medium Businesses
Small and medium businesses (SMBs) are the bedrock of our economy, representing 90 percent of businesses and more than 50 percent of employment worldwide. It’s important to acknowledge the increased cyber risks they face as they embrace hybrid work and new digital business models, along with the emergence of cyberattacks as a service.
Microsoft surveyed more than 150 small and medium businesses in the United States in April 2022 to better understand the changing SMB security needs.
More than 70 percent of SMBs said cyberthreats are becoming more of a business risk. With nearly one in four SMBs stating that they had a security breach in the last year, they have reason to be concerned. In fact, there has been a more than 300 percent increase in ransomware attacks, of which more than half were directed at small businesses.
Despite facing similar risks as enterprises, SMBs often lack access to the right resources and tools. Many SMBs still rely on traditional antivirus solutions for their security. Although 80 percent of SMBs state they have some form of antivirus solution, 93 percent continue to have concerns about the increasing and evolving cyberattacks—with phishing, ransomware, and data protection being top of mind.
What makes SMBs particularly vulnerable is that they often have fewer resources and lack specialized security staff. In fact, less than half of the SMBs surveyed have a dedicated IT security person in-house, and SMBs cite a lack of specialized security staff as their top security risk factor. Sophisticated enterprise security solutions are often prohibitively complex or too expensive—or both.
Microsoft has shared its believe that small and medium businesses should have affordable access to the same level of protection as enterprises. Today, the vision a step further with the general availability of the standalone version of Microsoft Defender for Business. Defender for Business brings enterprise-grade endpoint security to SMBs, including endpoint detection and response (EDR) capabilities, with the ease of use and the pricing that small business customers and their partners expect.
Microsoft Defender for Business is already included as part of Microsoft 365 Business Premium, our comprehensive security and productivity solution for businesses with up to 300 employees. Customers can now purchase Defender for Business as a standalone solution. Server support will be coming later this year with an add-on solution.
To protect against the increasing volume and sophistication of cyberattacks such as ransomware, SMBs need elevated security. Many SMBs still rely on traditional antivirus, which provides only a single layer of protection by matching against signatures to protect against known threats. With Defender for Business, you get multi-layered protection, detection, and response, spanning the five phases of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cybersecurity framework—identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover—to protect and remediate against known and unknown threats. Let’s look at the capabilities in detail:
Threat and vulnerability management helps you to prioritize and focus on the weaknesses that pose the most urgent and highest risk to your business. By discovering, prioritizing, and remediating software vulnerabilities and misconfigurations, you can proactively build a secure foundation for your environment.
Attack surface reduction options help to minimize your attack surface (like the places that your company is vulnerable to cyberattacks across your devices and applications), leaving bad actors with fewer ways to perform attacks.
Next-generation protection helps to prevent and protect against threats at your front door with antimalware and antivirus protection—on your devices and in the cloud.
Endpoint detection and response provides behavioral-based detection and response alerts so you can identify persistent threats and remove them from your environment.
Auto-investigation and remediation help to scale your security operations by examining alerts and taking immediate action to resolve attacks for you. By reducing alert volume and remediating threats, Defender for Business allows you to prioritize tasks and focus on more sophisticated threats.
We designed Defender for Business keeping the needs of SMBs in mind.
Because IT admins for SMB customers and partners are often juggling many roles at once, we wanted to provide a solution that was easy to set up and could detect and remediate threats automatically, so you get time back to focus on running your business. Defender for Business comes with built-in policies to get you up and running quickly. Microsoft has also included a simplified wizard-based onboarding for Windows devices. Additional simplification for macOS, Android, and iOS is on the roadmap.
With automated investigation and remediation, we do the type of work handled by a dedicated Security Operations (SecOps) team by continuously detecting and automatically remediating most threats.
For Martin & Zerfoss, an independent insurance agency, security was top of mind. Partner Kite Technology Group recommended Defender for Business: “With Microsoft Defender for Business, we’re able to bring enterprise-grade security protection to our small and midsize business customers. We can now meet their current security requirements and prepare them for whatever comes tomorrow,” said Adam Atwell, Cloud Solutions Architect, Kite Technology Group.
He adds, “Automated investigation and remediation is a huge part of the product [because] it’s just happening in the background. Microsoft Defender for Business makes our security so simple.”
Microsoft Defender for Business is specially built to bring enterprise-grade endpoint security to businesses with up to 300 employees, in a solution that’s easy-to-use and cost-effective. Customers who may not be ready to purchase Microsoft 365 Business Premium or don’t have a Microsoft 365 subscription can still purchase and use Microsoft Defender for Business. We’re keeping the licensing model as flexible as possible to serve customers—whether on-premises, using Microsoft 365, or using a competitive solution.
Microsoft launches Defender for Business
Defender for Business included in M365 Business Premium