Introducing Microsoft Defender for Business: you heard that right… it’s *included* with Business PremiumAlex Fields
Remember a couple of months ago when Microsoft announced Microsoft Defender for Endpoint P1? Many critical eyes in the community quickly pointed out that Business Premium customers were apparently left out to dry, even though the SMB is where we need the most help when it comes to endpoint security. The new P1 SKU was only included in Microsoft 365 E3, sadly.
Well, there was a reason for this apparent “oversight” after all! As the Beatles say, “you were only waiting for this moment to arrive.”
Microsoft Defender for Business is probably the biggest announcement at Ignite this year for the SMB, and certainly the most important update to the Business Premium plan since the addition of Azure AD Premium P1 back in April of 2020. Indeed: this is a true mic drop moment for Microsoft, and I imagine that many endpoint security vendors are feeling more than a little nervous at this point.
Of course, adding yet another Defender product on to the cart is going to confuse some people, but the simplest way to describe MDB is that this is the SMB’s version of Microsoft Defender for Endpoint P2 (doesn’t include every single feature but it’s pretty close). The P2 SKU as you may recall is included in the Microsoft 365 E5 and E5 Security bundles, and is available standalone via CSP. In the US, this is still a fairly expensive product, weighing in over USD $5/user/month. By contrast, Defender for Business finally brings us the advanced security features of a full-bodied endpoint security solution at an affordable SMB price.
In fact, it is included with Microsoft 365 Business Premium, and is also available standalone for USD $3/user/month. Pretty cool, huh? To see what is included (as well as what is being left out) of this SKU, see the below (this is my current understanding, will update if I learn differently):
This is a pretty fantastic feature set, especially given that it is just going to be thrown into Microsoft 365 Business Premium, which is already considered the Gold Standard in the SMB space anyway, and is likely the most widely deployed subscription world wide. My understanding is that this product will also include some new SMB-specific interfaces and integrations with Lighthouse eventually, which further enhance this product and distinguish it from its Enterprise counterparts.
Speaking of which, Microsoft Defender for Endpoint (in case you hadn’t heard) is award-winning, Gartner Magic Quadrant, Enterprise-capable security software, so it is a VERY BIG DEAL that it is now available to the SMB at virtually no extra cost. What reason could you possibly have for continuing to pay for an additional endpoint solution on top of this? I think it is going to be difficult to justify that extra spend in the long term.
Yes, there is a temporary “switching cost” to converting existing customers and learning this new tool, but as a service provider, it is also a question and calculation you will eventually need to face. The truth of the matter is that this development certainly does threaten some endpoint security solution providers out there who focus on SMBs via the MSP channel, however it also presents a massive opportunity to MSPs who are willing to make the switch quickly. You will almost certainly be ahead of the pack for doing so, and of course as an added benefit, you will be able to offer a more competitive (and often more full-featured) solution to your customers and prospective customers, which is already integrated with the Microsoft platform.
We will certainly have more to say about this as more information becomes available. Today is only the first announcement, and the public preview has not even launched yet. Stay tuned for more!