Microsoft Defender for Business Adds Server Protections Preview

Microsoft Defender for Business now has the ability to protect servers, which is at the preview stage, according to a Wednesday Microsoft announcement.

Support is available for Windows servers, as well as Linux servers (listed here). Organizations can try out the server protection preview capability in Microsoft Defender for Business by turning it on in the Microsoft 365 Defender portal.

Microsoft Defender for Business is licensed to small-to-medium organizations with up to 300 "seats" or users. It's a service that offers threat management, attack surface reduction and antimalware protections, plus automatic investigation and remediation capabilities.

Add-On Costs for Servers
Microsoft isn't charging organizations to use the server protections during the preview phase. However, it will charge "$3 per server instance per month" for it when the product gets commercially released ("general availability").

Protection for servers is considered to be an add-on capability for both the Microsoft 365 Business Premium suite (which includes Microsoft Defender for Business) and the "standalone" version of the Microsoft Defender for Business product.

Here's Microsoft's description about the server protection add-on costs:

At general availability, Microsoft Defender for Business servers will be made available as an add-on priced at $3 per server instance per month. Subscriptions can be added to Microsoft 365 Business Premium or Microsoft Defender for Business standalone, as server licensing is not included in those base plans.

Microsoft had noted that server protections would be a Microsoft Defender for Business add-on capability back in May, but hadn't described the pricing at that time.

Microsoft Defender for Business was initially described as providing protections for various client operating systems, namely the Android, iOS, macOS and Windows operating systems. Servers are "endpoints," too, that need protection, but Microsoft decided to charge extra to protect them in its products.

Also, there are some additional costs when protecting Linux devices using the service. If organizations want to use the standalone version of Microsoft Defender for Business and protect Android and iOS client devices, then they'll need to have the licensing as well for Microsoft Intune, Microsoft's mobile management solution. Microsoft Intune is included with the higher priced Microsoft 365 Business Premium suite, which suggests a ready-made case for an upsell situation.

Organizations wanting to use Microsoft Defender for Business to protect servers, both Windows and Linux, have to onboard those servers using scripts. Microsoft outlines that scripting process in this document.

Microsoft 365 Lighthouse
For those small-to-medium organizations working with partners for their endpoint security, Microsoft is promising that Microsoft 365 Lighthouse will let partners see "security alerts, incidents, and the device list across multiple customers with client and servers onboarded to Defender for Business, from a single admin experience." The Device Security page in Microsoft 365 Lighthouse will show details about both Windows and Linux servers.

If an organization has more than 300 users, Microsoft recommends using its other, more costly security products to protect endpoints, such as Microsoft Defender for Endpoint, Microsoft 365 Defender and Microsoft 365 for Enterprise, according to an FAQ document. The FAQ includes vague details should organizations grow and exceed the 300 number. Such organizations will be steered toward Microsoft's "enterprise" security products in such cases.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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