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Microsoft Defender for Business, MISA: A One-Two Security Punch for MSPs, MSSPs

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 2: The Microsoft logo is illuminated on a wall during a Microsoft launch event to introduce the new Microsoft Surface laptop and Windows 10 S operating system, May 2, 2017 in New York City. The Windows 10 S operating system is geared toward the education market and is Microsoft’s answer to Google’s Chrome OS. (P...

Microsoft Defender for Business is now generally available as a standalone solution for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), the cloud software giant said.

Take a closer look, and that's part of a one-two security punch for MSPs and MSSPs. Indeed, small business MSPs can go to market with Microsoft Defender for Business. Meanwhile, mid-market and enterprise MSSPs can align with the Microsoft Intelligent Security Association (MISA) -- an ecosystem of MSSPs and independent software vendors (ISVs) that integrate their solutions with Microsoft’s security products.

Defender for Business: MSP and SMB Use Cases

SMBs can use Defender for Business to protect against ransomware and other cyber threats, Microsoft noted. Key features of Defender for Business include:

  • Attack Surface Reduction Options: Help SMBs find ways to minimize their attack surface.
  • Automated Threat Investigation and Remediation: Ensures SMBs can reduce security alert volume and accelerate threat mitigation.
  • Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR): Provides behavioral-based detection and response alerts so SMBs can identify persistent threats and remove them from their environments.

Microsoft Lighthouse: A Cloud RMM Alternative for MSPs?

In addition, Defender for Business and Microsoft 365 Business Premium give MSSPs and other partners opportunities to deliver managed security services to their customers, the company said. Both solutions integrate with the Microsoft 365 Lighthouse admin portal and enable partners to view security incidents in a single location.

Side note: In some ways, Microsoft 365 Lighthouse is beginning to compete against RMM (remote monitoring and management) software platforms that companies such as ConnectWise, Datto, Kaseya, N-able and NinjaOne design for MSPs.

Defender for Business also is included in Microsoft 365 Business Premium Customers. Furthermore, additional  Defender for Business support for servers is planned later in 2022.

The general release of Defender for Business comes after Microsoft in February 2022 extended its Defender for Cloud capabilities to Google Cloud Platform. At this time, Microsoft also unveiled a public preview of CloudKnox Permissions Management and new security data analysis capabilities on Microsoft Sentinel.

Additional insights from Joe Panettieri.

Dan Kobialka

Dan Kobialka is senior contributing editor, MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E. He covers IT security, IT service provider business strategies and partner programs. Dan holds a M.A. in Print and Multimedia Journalism from Emerson College and a B.A. in English from Bridgewater State University. In his free time, Dan enjoys jogging, traveling, playing sports, touring breweries and watching football.