Microsoft Cybersecurity Solutions

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Microsoft Corporation produces a wide range of products and services, from computer software to consumer electronics. The company was founded in 1975 and has its headquarters in Washington DC but also operates worldwide as well through offices located at more than ten countries across six continents. Microsoft is best known for its Windows operating system and the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software, each of which has achieved near-ubiquity as a de facto standard in their respective areas. Microsoft was founded on April 4, 1975, by Bill Gates and Paul Allen. The company's current public (MSFT) stock is valued at around US$40 billion, and as of June 2010 it was the world's largest software maker by revenue, and one of the world's most valuable companies. Microsoft is consistently ranked in the Fortune 500 list of largest U.S. corporations (Top 30 in 2009) and the Forbes Global 2000 list (Top 50). Microsoft’s product offering has be named a Leader in eight Forrester Wave Reports and in five Gartner Magic Quadrant Reports. This includes the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrants for Access Management and for Unified Endpoint Management Tools. Microsoft’s Defender product also scored highly in 2021 MITRE ATT&CK Evaluation with a Visibility of 151/174.

Summary

Microsoft Cybersecurity Solutions: Comparisons, Review, Benefits, Use Cases, Pros & Cons

Author: Netify Research Team

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Review

Netify Review

The Microsoft multi-platform and multi-cloud XDR solution provides comprehensive and integrated security tools for all aspects of the enterprise network. Microsoft's products and services protect against cyber attacks, both online or offline. The company is constantly innovating in order to provide safety for their customers from the ever-growing threats that exist within today’s digital world through multiple channels including anti-virus software designed specifically with home users at heart; Windows Defender ATP which provides defense against malware infections on personal devices like smartphones (androids) tablets etc.; Microsoft Email Security, a newer version of Office 365 that comes complete with anti-phishing features such as Smartlink Technology providing protection when clicking links inside emails. Microsoft’s shift in focus to cybersecurity with Microsoft Defender replacing the legacy Microsoft Security Essentials shows a commitment to countering present and future threats with the issue being taken more seriously. Previously many consumers would simply disable Microsoft’s legacy offering and replace it with a third-party service. However, unlike third party providers, Microsoft has placed an emphasis on the customisability of their Defender product. This in turn has laid down the gauntlet to third party security providers by setting the standard, challenging providers to improve their own product offering as Microsoft positions its own solution as a viable standalone offering, supported by a broad product range to further increase their value proposition.

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Pros & Cons

What are the pros and cons of Microsoft Cybersecurity?

List of the pros and cons associated with Microsoft cybersecurity.

Pros

  • Offers unifies XDR and SIEM tools to create a single point of contact.
  • Supports multi-cloud (Google Cloud and AWS) and multi-platform (Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS) connectivity.
  • Extensive experience within the IT industry going back decades.

Cons

  • Users note that configuration management for Microsoft 365 defender requires an additional service.
  • Microsoft is not widely recognized as a security vendor in comparison to leaders in the cybersecurity market.
  • Solutions are only available as a DIY service and may not be suitable for businesses with limited Security Operations Center (SOC) capabilities.
Cybersecurity and SD WAN

Microsoft Products and Services:

  • Microsoft 365 Defender: Microsoft 365 Defender is a suite of products that natively integrates threat protection across endpoints, identities and applications to provide enterprise defense against sophisticated attacks. With the integrated solution Security Professionals can stitch together all signals received by each individual component in order determine what type or severity an attack may be before it impacts business continuity goals. See, What XDR (Extended Detection and Response) Solution is Supported by Microsoft?
  • Azure Active Directory (Azure AD): The cloud-based Azure Active Directory provides organizations with the most secure, reliable way to sign into their enterprise applications. It also authenticates users automatically when they attempt access an organization's resources from any device or browser.
  • Microsoft Defender for Cloud:Defender for Cloud is an enterprise-level security solution that strengthens the protection of your data and workloads running in Azure, hybrid or other clouds. With integrated Microsoft Defender plans you can be assured of having quality malware intelligence at all times even against zero-day threats.
  • Azure Defender for Servers: Microsoft Defender for Servers is a powerful security feature of the Microsoft cloud service. It can be used to protect your Windows and Linux machines whether they're running in Azure, on-premises or even if you have hybrid environments set up with other clouds like Amazon Web Services (AWS). To provide enhanced defenses against threats across multi-cloud and hybrid environments Azure Arc is used as part of Defender for Cloud.
  • Azure Defender for IoT: With the help of Microsoft Defender for IoT, you can protect your company's IOT/ OT infrastructure with minimal effort. The solution offers agent-less NDR that can be rapidly deployed via cloud or on-premises and works well across across a wide range of devices. The solution can also be coordinated with SOC tools, Microsoft Sentinel and Microsoft 365 Defender for a more powerful, unified platform.
  • Azure Defender for SQL: Microsoft Defender for SQL is a complete solution that extends the capabilities of Microsoft's popular cloud service, offering robust protection to databases regardless where they are located. The product includes functions designed specifically toward discovering and mitigating potential vulnerabilities in your database as well as detect unusual activities which could indicate an attack on these systems.
  • Microsoft Sentinel: Microsoft’s SIEM solution. See, What Reporting and Management is Available Via the Microsoft Portal?
  • Microsoft Secure Score: Microsoft’s security posture assessment. The more security improvement actions a company takes, the higher their Microsoft Secure Score will be.
  • Microsoft Authenticator: Provides a second verification method such as a PIN or biometric login when using Multi-factor Authentication (MFA).
  • Microsoft Intune: Microsoft Intune is a service that provides cloud-based mobile device management (MDM) and application management for enterprise employees.
  • Exchange Online Protection: A native cloud-based SMTP relay and filtering service that offers protection against spam and malware attacks.
  • Microsoft Defender for Endpoint: Microsoft Defender for Endpoint is the enterprise security solution designed to help protect your networks from advanced threats. This powerful tool helps keeps employees safe by preventing malware and other cyber-attacks before they can get inside of a network, detecting infections when it happens in real time so that you know what action needs taken next - whether its reporting an incident or taking remediation steps on site.
  • Microsoft Defender for 365: Automatically investigate and remediate impending threats to Office 365 with this automatic protection tool. Defender for 365 stops attacks before they have a chance of compromising your sensitive data, eliminating potential threats to the enterprise network.
  • Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps: Microsoft’s cloud access security broker (CASB) provides ample visibility and control over data travel. It offers sophisticated analytics to identify cyber threats, even those that are hidden in rented servers or behind a VPN tunnel.
  • Azure AD Conditional Access: With Conditional Access, organizations can take a more fine-grained approach to identity and access management by implementing policies that are tailored for each individual user or group. The new Microsoft Azure AD control plane offers strong security features like secure Single Sign On (SSO) with Kerberos authenticating at rest via claims based on email attributes such as presence of specific keywords in your account settings page - all without sacrificing any flexibility when it comes down deciding who is allowed what type privileges on company resources.
  • Azure AD Application Proxy: Proxy client to provide remote access to web applications that must be hosted on-premises.
XDR

What XDR (Extended Detection and Response) Solution is Supported by Microsoft?

Microsoft 365 Defender: 

  • Microsoft Defender for Endpoint: With Microsoft Defender for Endpoint, enterprises can keep their networks safe from advanced threats. This enterprise security platform helps investigate and respond to cyberattacks in order protect data on employees' computers as well as company assets like customer profiles or financial records.
  • Microsoft Defender for Office 365: Office 365 provides a number of security features to protect your data. The options you have for this depend on which subscription type that has been activated, and what actions are possible in each product.
  • Microsoft Defender for Identity: Secures the network using correlated Active Directory signals. These help defend against advanced threats by recognizing when an attacker has gained access, as well as identifying compromised identities or malicious insiders in order to protect the network using identity verification best practices.
  • Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps: Identify and combat cyberattacks, regardless of where they come from.
  • Microsoft Defender Antivirus (Formerly Windows Defender): Microsoft Defender Antivirus is a major component of the next-generation protection in Microsoft’s newest Endpoint offering. It brings together machine learning, big data analysis and threat resistance research all combined with the company's cloud infrastructure to provide device alongside malware detection capabilities on an individual level as well as protecting servers from external attacks within their data centers or perimeter settings so the exposed attack surface is kept to a minimum.
EDR

What EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) Solution is Supported by Microsoft?

Microsoft Defender for Endpoint: Utilizes Cloud Security Analytics, Threat intelligence and Endpoint Behavioral Sensors embedded in Windows 10 OSs. Microsoft Defender for Endpoint provides the Next Generation of Protection, Attack Surface Reduction and Microsoft Threat Experts to protect you from sophisticated threats. The Automated Investigation & Remediation helps locate security vulnerabilities with technology that is capable of machine level response capabilities in case any arise on your device or network. With Secure Score Microsoft provide insights into how devices are used so they can be improved accordingly ensuring the security of user and device data.

Cloud Vendors

How does Microsoft deliver cloud security?

Microsoft Defender for Cloud: Defender for Cloud is a powerful tool that helps you strengthen the security posture of your cloud resources. It is integrated with Microsoft Defender plans, so it can protect workloads running in Azure or any other platform - no matter where they're hosted. With its easy deployment and simple auto provisioning features; this product has everything needed in a turn-key solution. The solution provides security recommendations, security alerts and a secure score to assess security posture, recommend improvements and detect threats to resources and workloads which can also be streamed to a SOAR, SIEM or IT Service Management solution.

Cloud Access

Cloud Access

CrowdStrike offer similar security solutions for AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. 

Amazon Web Services30
Microsoft Azure40
Google Cloud30
Managed, co-managed & DIY services

What is the Microsoft managed, co-managed and DIY services solution?

Microsoft’s Defender products are available as a DIY solution only. There is support available to enterprise Security Operations Centers in the form of Microsoft Threat Experts that offer a managed threat hunting service. This service is opt-in and will most likely incur an additional charge.

Remote Users

How does Microsoft support remote users?

Microsoft has a robust offering to keep remote users secure, including: Microsoft Defender for Endpoint, Microsoft Defender for 365 and Intune; Microsoft's software that helps organizations remotely manage security settings on devices. There are also services such as Microsoft Authenticator (to be used as part of an Multi-Factor Authentication process), Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps or Secure Score which assesses risk levels associated with employees' usage habits like productivity data from work portals - all part of an employee protection strategy in todays hybrid-working/work from home environment. There are also services like the Azure Active Directory Conditional Access service which enables IT administrators to manage access rights remotely across on-premises resources as well as cloud apps hosted through companies' clouds (e.g., Office 365). Azure Active Directory Application Proxy can also be used to provide remote access to business critical web  applications that must be hosted on-premises. Remote users are also protected by Exchange Online Protection (EOP). EOP users can control who has access rights as well as recovering messages if they get hacked; this service also helps prevent malware from attacking accounts via email attachments or links within them because it scans all content before reaching clients' inboxes.

Security Threats

Common Attacks

*statistics from 2020

Compromised/Stolen Devices28
Web-Based36
SQL Injection19
Denial of Services42
Ransomware15
Cross-Site Scripting16
Phishing/Social Engineering48
General Malware42
Advanced Malware/Zero Days24
Account Takeover43
Credential Theft56
Malicious Insider34
Other5
Portal

What Reporting and Management is available via the Microsoft Portal?

Microsoft 365 Defender Portal: The Microsoft 365 Defender Portal is a single, unified portal available on computer or mobile device that brings together all your defenses against the latest threats. With it you can manage both current and future products from this trusted provider like Office or Endpoint protection tools for enterprises on-premise with direct malware detection abilities into their own infrastructure via cloud telemetry monitoring services providing real time alerts.

Azure Sentinel:  Microsoft’s cloud-based SIEM solution. Azure Sentinel is designed to provide a single platform for alert detection and response. The platform integrates natively with the Defender range of product to provide insights and analysis tools to aggregated data. The system can be customized to business needs by adding in various components such as SOAR or threat visibility features.

Years Active

Number of Years Active

Microsoft47
CrowdStrike11
Kaspersky25
Norton32
McAfee35
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