What is Microsoft Defender?
Considering the escalated cybersecurity threats stemming from the Russia-Ukraine conflict, your organization should familiarize itself, if it hasn’t already, with MS Defender. So, what exactly is Microsoft Defender?
If you’re running Windows 8,10, or 11, it includes a built-in antivirus program called Microsoft Defender Antivirus. Initially, the program was referred to as Windows Defender and earlier as Microsoft AntiSpyware. However, unlike other antivirus protection programs like McAfee, MS defender doesn’t cost a dime. Moreover, it requires no installation, and it’s frequently updated to avoid patching issues.
Microsoft Defender comes with a host of valuable features. In addition to real-time threat detection, firewall and network protection, and protection against phishing sites, you’ll enjoy these items:
- It offers tracking prevention for web browsing to give you more control over privacy settings.
- The antivirus program backs up files automatically to OneDrive.
- If you have concerns about your children and their computer habits, you’ll enjoy substantial parental control settings.
- The program generates passwords. Equally important, a password monitor informs you of any compromised passwords.
- If set to active mode, Microsoft Defender serves as the primary antivirus app on your device. So, it scans, remediates, and lists detected threats.
- The program includes sandboxing plus cloud-based malware detection.
In addition, you can enable MS Defender anytime.
How to Enable Microsoft Defender
To make sure MS Defender is active, follow these steps:
- Click the Start button on Windows.
- Type Group Policy into the search bar.
- Click Edit Group Policy.
- Click Computer Configuration. Then click Administrative Templates.
- Next, click Windows Components. Then select Microsoft Defender Antivirus.
- Scroll to the bottom of the list for Turn off Microsoft Defender Antivirus. Click Disabled or Not Configured based on what’s visible with your device.
- Finally, click Apply and OK.
How Effective is MS Defender?
Let’s say close, but no cigar. Although it’s much better than its previous versions, Microsoft Defender has some flaws. First, malware detection rates are lower than third-party competitors. Second, the program lacks tools typically found with other antivirus programs – VPN, password manager, dark web monitoring, and identity theft protection.
Most importantly, it falls far short of dedicated antivirus programs like Bitdefender. For example, it focuses on malware protection, blocking the latest security threats, and improving PC performance. So, if you’re looking for the best antivirus protection, you might consider it in addition to MS Defender.
The Best Cybersecurity Incorporates Layered Security
The reality is that any antivirus program only scratches the surface for cybersecurity. Layered security presents the only solid IT solution for maximum protection. As a result, hackers can penetrate a single layer of protection easily. But multiple layers place more significant obstacles for hackers to surmount.
A layered approach includes incorporating these types of IT solutions:
- Patch management
- Intrusion detection
- Intrusion prevention
- Endpoint detection & response
- Multi-factor authentication
- Dark web monitoring
- Basic SIEM
- Vulnerability scanning
There’s even more you can do to ensure maximum security protection. For instance, in light of today’s remote workforces, WFH cybersecurity also requires serious attention.
Talk to a Cybersecurity Company Near You
If you’re a small to medium-sized business, you can’t take cybersecurity lightly. And more likely than not, you lack substantial enough resources to implement multiple security layers. That’s where we can help.
As a local managed IT services provider, we can deliver IT support in all forms, including cybersecurity services. For example, our broad capabilities give you access to best-class security options, including a Security Operations Center that continually examines your IT environment for cybersecurity threats. It detects threats quickly, giving you time to mitigate the danger.
Talk to us about a FREE IT risk assessment. It’s a great way to uncover sensitive data exposed to would-be hackers. Plus, it reveals other potential concerns relating to your IT infrastructure.