Why Microsoft Is Now the Leader in Endpoint Detection


The cybersecurity industry is no stranger to assumptions. It’s the reason why the same established technology providers have been the focus for over a decade. It’s also the reason why Microsoft was historically overlooked as a reliable solution provider in this space.

But that’s all changing now.

Microsoft is serious about security, having invested over $1 billion USD in security development. This has pushed Microsoft to the leading edge of security across many technology areas.

Today, endpoint protection is one of the most obvious areas of improvement. The decades of Windows vulnerabilities and generic antivirus solutions that earned Microsoft its mediocre reputation are over.

And with Gartner naming Microsoft as the industry leader in their 2021 Endpoint Protection Platforms Magic Quadrant, it’s clear that for security-focused companies and industries, Microsoft shouldn’t be an afterthought—it should be the first choice.

 

Digital Transformation & Cybersecurity: What Happened?


The pandemic has transformed everything digital, increasing adoption rates across the board for cloud services. Some experts go as far as saying this rapid shift has accelerated adoption by seven years.

And the numbers don’t lie. In Q3 2020, a Microsoft survey revealed that 58% of respondents increased their security budgets, 82% planned to add security staff, and 81% needed to lower security costs.

It became very clear that companies understood just how important cybersecurity was becoming, especially as businesses went all in on their digital transformations.

One look at the most recent Gartner Magic Quadrant for Endpoint Protection Platforms makes it clear that Microsoft is now the leader in endpoint protection, outpacing the entire industry and competing head-to-head with only industry darling CrowdStrike.

Being one of the leading cloud infrastructure providers, the owners of arguably the most popular operating system in the world, and an entire ecosystem of products that aim to empower the user experience—It was always a matter of time for Microsoft. 

And this is something that Microsoft has embraced. Their significant investments in cybersecurity, in Azure Sentinel, Microsoft Defender, and other supportive technologies has created the winning formula for a truly integrated and protected experience.

The days of point (standalone) solutions are coming to an end. Companies are looking for modular services that provide complete protection at all touch points. And very few solutions provide the same level of security and visibility that Microsoft offers through its robust cybersecurity ecosystem. 


Endpoint Detection & Response: More Than Meets the Eye


An Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR) solution is far more than just antivirus. Microsoft Defender for Endpoint is actually multiple technologies and services combined for powerful and easy-to-manage endpoint security.

So, how did they do it?

Providing full protection out-of-the-box required a lot of innovation, automation, and orchestration with other security products and services. In recent MITRE ATT&CK® evaluations, Microsoft Defender for Endpoint came out a clear winner with broad detection capabilities which required the least configuration.

Rather than addressing specific vulnerabilities, the MITRE ATT&CK® framework describes the tactics and techniques used by threat actors to gain an initial foothold, move laterally, and ultimately carry out their desired outcome—violating the availability, integrity, or confidentiality of systems. 

By measuring EDR solutions’ detection coverage of tactics and techniques, we get a better understanding of how they will perform in uncertain future situations in production environments.

Not surprisingly, Microsoft achieved 95% coverage for the techniques used in the test, beating out notable providers like CrowdStrike, FireEye, Blackberry Cylance, and more. This performance, when combined with the enhanced compatibility Microsoft’s solutions offer, makes them an ideal choice for any company looking to get serious about cybersecurity.

What Can You Do With Microsoft Defender for Endpoint?

Microsoft Defender for Endpoint continues to be a notable focus for ongoing feature development by Microsoft, boasting a full roadmap and executive commitment to long term investment and support. 

Security is perhaps one of the fastest growing areas within Microsoft as a whole. Of the many features provided by the Microsoft Defender suite, we’ve highlighted a few that we feel set it apart from the crowd:

  • Multi-Layered Protection: Microsoft Defender for Endpoint provides multi-layered protection (built into the endpoint and cloud-powered) from file-based malware, malicious scripts, memory-based attacks, and other advanced threats.
  • Threat Analytics: Contextual threat reports provide SecOps with near real-time visibility on how threats impact their organizations.
  • Threat & Vulnerability Management: Real-time discovery, prioritization based-on business context and dynamic threat landscape, and built-in remediation process speed up mitigation of vulnerabilities and misconfiguration.
  • Built-In, Cloud-Powered Protections: Real-time threat detection and protection with built-in advanced capabilities protect against broad-scale and targeted attacks like phishing and malware campaigns.
  • Behavioral Detections: Endpoint detection and response (EDR) sensor built into Windows 10 for deeper insights of kernel and memory, and leveraging broad reputation data for files, IPs, URLs, etc., derived from the rich portfolio of Microsoft security services.
  • Easy Deployment and Maintenance: Built directly into the Windows operating system, there are no delays or compatibility issues, and no additional performance overhead or conflicts with other products. Automated deployment and no on-premises infrastructure directly leads to lower TCO.
  • Threat Containment: Dramatically reduces the risk by strengthening your defenses when potential threats are detected. Microsoft Defender can automatically apply conditional access to restrict the endpoint from accessing corporate data until the threat was remediated.
  • Response Automation: From alerts to remediation in minutes – at scale. Microsoft Defender leverages AI to automatically investigate alerts, determine if a threat is active, what course of action to take, and then remediate complex threats in minutes.
  • Secure Score: Microsoft Defender not only tells you that you have a problem, but Microsoft Defender also recommends how to solve it (and track the execution) with Secure Score. Vulnerability and configuration information provide weighted recommendations and actions to improve endpoint hardening and compare the current posture with the industry and global peers for benchmarking.

It’s Time to Get Serious About Microsoft

There’s no denying how far Microsoft has come in the cybersecurity space. They have long outgrown the initial growing pains they experienced when they launched their first antivirus solution in 2005. 

They spent over a decade collecting and analyzing billions of data points for key usage insights, building outcomes-based solutions, innovating on functionality, and creating an integrated experience built around the foundations of security and visibility. 

No one collects more data than Microsoft, and this data is what matters when it comes to building best-in-class systems that leverage the latest innovations in machine learning and artificial intelligence. The billions of Windows users have created arguably the most powerful set of cybersecurity training data in existence.

What does all of this mean for enterprises today? The answer is simple.

When it comes to implementing a successful cybersecurity program today, the Microsoft question shouldn’t be a consideration, it should be the starting point.


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Megan Miller

Megan Miller’s energy and passion for learning flow into all aspects of her work. As the Growth Manager, North America, she brings a background in sciences which she has transitioned to the tech sector in her role at Difenda.

With a Bachelors of Science in Geology, Megan is a lifelong learner who is voracious about learning anything she can get her hands on about cybersecurity. Her positive energy has built a sales strategy with a focus on expanding in the United States while nurturing the Canadian presence. She is responsible for recruiting and training the sales team. Together with the company’s leadership, she creates the sales process and the company’s product strategy in order to better serve the customer base. This ensures that our customers have a highly trained and highly motivated team to help them every step of the way, Megan has completed Microsoft SC-900 training and working towards mastering Microsoft.

Whether at work or play, Megan is fully committed. She took her love of hockey all the way to the semi-professional level as a competitive hockey player. Megan loves all things sports including water skiing, scuba diving, cycling, and snowboarding. She also enjoys time with family and reading about alternative energy, innovation, and cybersecurity.

Natasha Phanor

As the Customer Success Manager at Difenda, Natasha Phanor is the voice of the customer, responsible for driving satisfaction, retention, and growth among our valued clients. With six years in the industry, she offers a fresh, energetic approach, and the ability to focus on a customer’s needs throughout the entire process. Natasha has the innate ability to foresee customer needs and solve problems before they arise, which creates a smooth road for each customer she encounters.

As the recipient of the Outstanding Services Partner of the Year Award in 2018, it is clear that Natasha responds quickly to customer needs, creates a platform for understanding a customer’s business requirements, and walks them through the process to ensure their complete satisfaction.

In her spare time, Natasha is as energetic and passionate as she is on the job. A self-proclaimed foodie-extraordinaire, she enjoys dinner parties, traveling, downhill skiing, hiking, biking, and reading. Natasha has a Bachelor of Fine Arts, specializing in Dance, from Ryerson University.

Ian Miersch

Ian Miersch has energy to spare, and uses his eclectic background to make a positive mark on the cybersecurity industry. As Vice President of Finance & Human Resources, Ian Miersch is responsible for overseeing scalable business growth as Difenda expands throughout North America. But it is the way he does it that sets him apart. By leveraging his engineering background and critical thinking skills, he has been able to develop unique strategies that balance the company’s current business needs with its long-term growth plans. And the results of his unique background and drive mean that the company is growing in a fiscally responsible manner, all with the customer’s needs at the forefront.

With a Bachelor’s of Mechanical Engineering, coupled with an MBA in Finance, both from McMaster University, Ian’s ability to analyze data and make informed decisions is augmented by his ability to understand all facets of the business. He has a holistic understanding of the craft, from operations to project delivery and management, to his niche in financial planning. Ian’s ten years of experience in the industry mean that he has seen it all, and knows how to create a dynamic team and manage the resources needed for success.

Outside of work, he uses his energy to help others through the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Program, earning the Group Recreation Volunteer of the Year Status.

Ian also enjoys exploring and hiking with his three young children, exercising (so he can keep up with them), and reading professional development books. He is an avid but generally heartbroken fan of the Toronto sports teams, including the Blue Jays, Maple Leafs, and Raptors.

Derek Nugent

Derek Nugent, Vice President, Revenue lives by the motto “Be early, be better.” Derek leads our Sales and Marketing team and is responsible for customer success, as well as pre-sales and sales enablement. His high energy level and creativity have built high performing teams, whether at the Herjavec Group, CDW, or in his current leadership role at Difenda.

After earning a Bachelor Administration and Management degree from the Academy of Learning, Derek started in the information technology industry in 2004 and transitioned to the cybersecurity industry in 2014. With so much experience in a wide-variety of roles, he is poised to take the team at Difenda to the next level.

He excels at leading revenue strategies, new market entry, partnership engagement, and customer acquisition and retention. His work ethic and interest in rising to the top motivate his sales teams, who respond well to his passion and zeal. Under his tutelage, they are able to achieve attractive lead generation, YOY growth, and sizable deals. Derek works tirelessly to build a better team, and his constituents follow his road to success, which ultimately leads to a rewarding experience for the customer.

Even when volunteering, Derek is all in. He was a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters from 2005-2015, earning Group Recreation Volunteer of the Year Status.

And when he isn’t busy leading the team to the acme of sales, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two kids, running, working out, watching thrillers, action and dramatic television shows

Manoj Arora

Manoj Arora, Difenda’s Founder and CEO has always been ahead of the curve in Technology and Cyber Security. After securing his engineering degree in Computer Science, he wrote his first mobile banking application when he was just 23 years old. This accomplishment certainly set him apart from the crowd and prepared him for a lifetime of innovation and success in his field. At just 25 years old, he was selected as the youngest Cyber Security Officer for one of the largest banks in Asia.

As a globetrotting young cyber security professional, Manoj was instrumental in designing cyber security infrastructure and controls for some of the largest institutions around the world. Depth of his expertise and passion to serve customers at the highest level of competence and integrity lead to Difenda. Founded in 2008, Difenda is a rapidly growing cybersecurity firm operating in North America and Asia.

As the CEO at Difenda, Manoj drives the strategic vision to protect our customers and enable our team members to deliver our services in line with core values- competence, integrity, and innovation. Currently one of Microsoft’s leading North American partners, Difenda reflects Manoj’ single-minded focus on our customers. Difenda is fully vested in success of its customers and takes pride in considering our success as a byproduct of our customers. Manoj has always been committed to building a great team and forging strong partnerships to serve our customers with standards that top our industry.

When he is not busy bringing cybersecurity to the world, Manoj enjoys playing golf and squash, and continues to travel the world.

Lisa Templeton

Lisa Templeton is the perfect combination of human empathy and technological prowess. In her role as People Services Manager, she takes care of our team members to support them in their daily work, as well as on their personal life paths. Happy employees make for happy customers, and Lisa excels in giving our employees the tools they need for success in order to become the best possible versions of themselves. Along with employee formation, she shines in the service delivery support domain to continuously improve the process. Her 24 years of experience in IT Operations and Service Management help her create quality and efficiency at Difenda.

Having attended the Information Systems Management certificate program at Ryerson University, and with various other certifications to her credit, Lisa is perceptive and innovative when it comes to information technology, but also sensitive to the needs of her human constituents. Responsible for achieving the first privately owned company HDI Support Center certification in Canada, she has also designed and implemented Service Management excellence programs and 24×7 IT Operations departments for multiple IT organizations, and has created corporate rewards and recognition programs to keep her employees engaged and motivated.

On the personal side, Lisa passionately supports the cause of breast cancer research, having lost her mother to the disease. She reads voraciously in her spare time, and enjoys the art of home renovation. The summer months also bring time on her boat and exploring new hiking trails.

Miranda McCurdy

Miranda McCurdy uses her myriad super powers in all aspects of her job and personal life. As the Marketing Director at Difenda, Miranda McCurdy brings over a decade of experience to the table, which includes expertise in all facets of operations, brand management, and content marketing, as well as a multitude of successful strategies for the ever-expanding digital world. She is an expert at simplifying the message the company is trying to send, filling in gaps in the information, and strengthening the content in order to create compelling narratives that strengthen the brand and developing programs that bring teams together.

With several Addy Awards issued by the American Advertising Federation Cleveland to her credit, and her never say die attitude, Miranda understands both the broader picture and the minute details that are needed to successfully market a product. With her abilities to harness both the talent needed to spread the message, as well as to create the message itself, she is an integral cog in the company’s ability to communicate with customers and other stakeholders.

When she is not building a brand, she shares her ability to fill the gaps in her community by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, the Special Olympics, and the Charleston Food Bank. In her spare time, Miranda spends time with her family, enjoys fitness and health, paddle boarding, reading, and arts and crafts.

Juliana Zaremba

Connections are the name of the game for Juliana Zaremba. As Strategic Partnerships Director, she is responsible for Difenda’s channel partnerships and the development and ownership of the channel partner program. She is also responsible for the global Microsoft Partnership, including the creation of strategic plans with MSFT contacts that will facilitate the continued growth of the business and establish certification and training protocols in all security technologies. Her role is multifaceted, as she acquires partners, manages relationships with them, and develops strategies that will provide cutting edge security solutions to our customer base. Another integral aspect of her job is to facilitate growth.

With a Bachelor’s in Math from the University of Waterloo and 14 years of experience from her previous roles at Herjavec Group and CDW, her cutting edge focus and ability to develop long-lasting relationships and strategies provides world class security solutions to our customer base.

Juliana thrives on connections outside of work as well. She is a philanthropist and contributor with Women4Change based in Hamilton. This group of local women is passionate about supporting local causes, and she focuses her efforts around Women in STEM. She is also a member of Club Italia in Niagara Falls and supports their youth events throughout the year.

When not managing the Microsoft Global partnership, Juliana enjoys reading, often reading several books at once. Juliana enjoys exploring the Niagara Escarpment with her family, as well as sharing meals and experiences with her extended family. Juliana’s competitive nature has her always trying new things, like Whoop band challenges and Peloton.

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